Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
 
Pen and Ink
By Andrew Lang (1844–1912)
 
YE wanderers that were my sires,
  Who read men’s fortunes in the hand,
Who voyaged with your smithy fires
  From waste to waste across the land,
Why did you leave for garth and town        5
  Your life by heath and river’s brink,
Why lay your gipsy freedom down
  And doom your child to Pen and Ink?
 
You wearied of the wild-wood meal
  That crowned, or failed to crown, the day;        10
Too honest or too tame to steal
  You broke into the beaten way:
Plied loom or awl like other men,
  And learned to love the guineas’ chink—
Oh, recreant sires, who doomed me then        15
  To earn so few—with Pen and Ink!
 
Where it hath fallen the tree must lie;
  ’Tis over late for me to roam,
Yet the caged bird who hears the cry
  Of his wild fellows fleeting home        20
May feel no sharper pang than mine,
  Who seem to hear, whene’er I think,
Spate in the stream, and wind in pine,
  Call me to quit dull Pen and Ink.
 
For then the spirit wandering,        25
  That slept within the blood, awakes;
For then the summer and the spring
  I fain would meet by streams and lakes;
But ah! my birthright long is sold,
  But custom chains me, link on link,        30
And I must get me, as of old,
  Back to my tools, to Pen and Ink.
 
 
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