Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
11. The Scurrilous Scribe
 
By Philip Freneau
 
 
HIS soul extracted from the public sink,
For discord born he splasht around his ink;
In scandal foremost, as by scandal fed,
He hourly rakes the ashes of the dead.
 
Secure from him no traveller walks the streets,        5
His malice sees a foe in all he meets;
With dark design he treads his daily rounds,
Kills where he can, and, where he cannot, wounds.
 
Nature to him her stings of rancor gave
To shed, unseen, the venom of a knave;        10
She gave him cunning, every treacherous art,
She gave him all things but an upright heart;
 
And one thing more—she gave him but the pen,
No power to hurt, not even the brass of men,
Whose breasts though furies with their passions rule        15
Yet laugh at satire, pointed by a fool.
 
Was there no world but ours to give you room?
No Patagonia, for your savage home,
No region, where antarctic oceans roll,
No icy island, neighboring to the pole?        20
 
By dark suspicion led, you aim at all
Who will not to your sceptred idol fall;
To work their ruin, every baseness try,
First envy, next abuse us, then belie.
 
Such is your stretch! and thus awhile go on!        25
Your shafts rebound, and yet have injured none.
Hurt whom they will, let who will injured be,
The sons of smut and scandal hurt not me.
 

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