By False Pretenses

John S. Hittell, whose sovereign genius wields
The quill his tributary body yields;
The author of an opera-that is,
All but the music and libretto's his:
A work renowned, whose formidable name,
Linked with his own, repels the assault of fame
From the high vantage of a dusty shelf,
Secure from all the world except himself;
Who told the tale of 'Culture' in a screed
That all might understand if some would read;
Master of poesy and lord of prose,
Dowered, like a setter, with a double nose;
That one for Erato, for Clio this;
He flushes both-not his fault if we miss;
Judge of the painter's art, who'll straight proclaim
The hue of any color you can name,
And knows a painting with a canvas back
Distinguished from a duck by the duck's quack;
This thinker and philosopher, whose work
Is famous from Commercial street to Turk,
Has got a fortune now, his talent's meed.
A woman left it him who could not read,
And so went down to death's eternal night
Sweetly unconscious that the wretch could write.

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Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. more…

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"By False Pretenses" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 24 Feb. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/1733/by-false-pretenses>.

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