Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.William Makepeace Thackeray 181163
The Pen and the AlbumThackera
“I ’ve lain among your tomes these many weeks;
I ’m tir’d of your old coats and yellow cheeks.
Come! draw me off a funny little face;
And, prithee, send me back to Chesham Place.”
I am my master’s faithful old Gold Pen;
I ’ve serv’d him three long years, and drawn since then
Thousands of funny women and droll men.
And thoughts, since I am his, these thousand days,
Lord, how your pretty pages I ’d amaze!
His ways? his thoughts? Just whisper me a few;
Tell me a curious anecdote or two,
And write ’em quickly off, good Mordan, do!
Since he my faithful service did engage
To follow him through his queer pilgrimage,
I ’ve drawn and written many a line and page.
And dinner cards, and picture pantomimes,
And merry little children’s books at times.
The aimless jest that, striking, hath caus’d pain;
The idle word that he’d wish back again.
To joke, with sorrow aching in his head;
And make your laughter when his own heart bled.
Peers of the land, and ladies of the Court;
O, but I ’ve chonicled a deal of sport.
Biddings to wine that long hath ceas’d to flow,
Gay meetings with good fellows long laid low;
Tradesman’s polite reminders of his small
Account due Christmas last—I ’ve answer’d all.
Guinea; Miss Bunyan’s for an autograph;
So I refuse, accept, lament, or laugh,
Day after day still dipping in my trough,
And scribbling pages after pages off.
And sure as comes the postman and the sun,
The indefatigable ink must run.
To a fair mistress and a pleasant home,
Where soft hearts greet us whensoe’er we come.
However rude my verse, or poor my wit,
Or sad or gay my mood, you welcome it.
My master’s love, grief, laughter, at an end,
Whene’er I write your name, may I write friend!
Voices, familiar once, no more he hears;
Names, often writ, are blotted out in tears.
Album! my master bids me wish good-by;
He ’ll send you to your mistress presently.
Blessing the happy hour when a friend he knew
So gentle, and so generous, and so true.
Stranger! I never writ a flattery,
Nor sign’d the page that register’d a lie.