The Reward of Merit

DR. BELVILLE was regarded as the CRICHTON of his age:
His tragedies were reckoned much too thoughtful for the stage;
His poems held a noble rank, although it's very true
That, being very proper, they were read by very few.
He was a famous Painter, too, and shone upon the "line,"
And even MR. RUSKIN came and worshipped at his shrine;
But, alas, the school he followed was heroically high -
The kind of Art men rave about, but very seldom buy;
And everybody said
"How can he be repaid -
This very great - this very good - this very gifted man?"
But nobody could hit upon a practicable plan!

He was a great Inventor, and discovered, all alone,
A plan for making everybody's fortune but his own;
For, in business, an Inventor's little better than a fool,
And my highly-gifted friend was no exception to the rule.
His poems - people read them in the Quarterly Reviews -
His pictures - they engraved them in the ILLUSTRATED NEWS -
His inventions - they, perhaps, might have enriched him by degrees,
But all his little income went in Patent Office fees;
And everybody said
"How can he be repaid -
This very great - this very good - this very gifted man?"
But nobody could hit upon a practicable plan!

At last the point was given up in absolute despair,
When a distant cousin died, and he became a millionaire,
With a county seat in Parliament, a moor or two of grouse,
And a taste for making inconvenient speeches in the House!
THEN it flashed upon Britannia that the fittest of rewards
Was, to take him from the Commons and to put him in the Lords!
And who so fit to sit in it, deny it if you can,
As this very great - this very good - this very gifted man?
(Though I'm more than half afraid
That it sometimes may be said
That we never should have revelled in that source of proper pride,
However great his merits - if his cousin hadn't died!)

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"The Reward of Merit" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 19 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/41325/the-reward-of-merit>.

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