Anthony C. Deane (1870-1946), A Certain Cure
When I look at my diligent neighbours,
Each wholly convinced in his mind
That the fruit of his personal labours
Will be the reform of mankind,
When I notice the bland satisfaction
That brightens the features of each
Commendably prudent in action,
Though mighty in speech
Observing by dint of persistence
What wide reputation they gain,
The clew to a happy existence
Is rendered increasingly plain,
Because the self-satisfied feeling
I covet may quickly be had
By any one owning (or stealing)
A suitable fad.
Shall I hotly oppose Vivisection?
Grow warm on the Drainage of Flats?
Or strive for the Better Protection
Of Commons, Cathedrals, or Cats?
Perhaps in orations that thrill, I
For freedom (and fever) will fight
A portion of small-pox bacilli
Is simply our right!
However, the choice is a detail;
Whatever the fad be about,
To trade in it, wholesale and retail,
To preach it, in season and out,
And so to be reckoned a leader
(Although there be little to lead),
Yes, that's, O incredulous reader,
The way to succeed!
You find that existence is hollow,
The fight for position is hard.
A remedy? Yes, if you'll follow
This way, to the fad-monger's yard:
Come, here is a hobbyastride it
You settle; I tighten the girth
So-off, and good-luck to you! Ride it
For all it is worth!