Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
Thou joyless harbinger of future fear,
Garrulous alien, what thou mightst express
Will never fall, please God, upon my ear.
What rhyme or reason can invest thy shape
That is not found in countless syllibi?
What trots and cribs there are, what ponies rich,
With all thou sing’st and in a clearer key.
Expose thee to a classroom’s savage rape?
Nay! better far remain within thy niche.
Tasks all complete are sweet, but those untried
Are sweeter, therefore little book, with page
Uncut, stay pure, and live thy life inside,
And wait for some appreciative age.
Oh, Author, most admired and left alone,
Thou cans’t not ever see the garish day.
Editor, never, never wilt thou speak,
But yellow grow and petrify to stone
Where I shall throw thee after tests next week;
Yet grieve not—ever thou’lt have much to say.
Oh happy, happy, leaves that cannot shed
Their ink, or ever bid the print adieu;
Oh happy, happy, bard who never bled
At verse of his droned out with meaning new.
No words are penciled in a barbarous tongue
Above thy dactyls oft misunderstood;
Caesuras are not marked to shame thy taste;
Thy song is as you sing it, though unsung.
If not of use at least thou’rt noble waste;
Let stand thy native accent as it should.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Published in Nassau Literary Magazine magazine (June 1916).