Poem: The Bard of Toolamine by Edward Dyson

We had a bard at Toolamine,
   And Toolamine was well content,
For Flayer said that very fine
Was every high, Miltonic line
Flung from his pen, as 'twere a note
Emitted from the mellow throat
   Of some big, brazen instrument.

His poems were anonymous --
   It was the poet's modest whim
To blush unseen. We made no fuss,
For no one seemed to care a cuss,
Until a city scribe with views.
Who read one day the TOOLA NEWS,
   Excitedly discovered him.

And then the wondering world was sure
   There lurked somewhere at Toolamine
A bard whose poems would endure
While there was English Literature --
One worthy of the splendid past,
Whose pearls of poesy were cast
   Before the dull, unheeding swine.

This Flayer was a man of might;
   HIs pen had swept an overplus
Of Austral bardlets out of sight,
And one was famous. Over night
Of him the critic made a joke,
And in the morn the bard awoke
   To find himself grown infamous.

He said the poet he had found
   The ravages of time would flout;
The thunder of his rhyme would sound
In ears unborn the world around.
But no one else could understand
How he was great, why he was grand,
   Or what his stuff was all about!

Still little critics took their cue
   From Flayer, and in ecstasy
They cried how beautiful, how true,
How old, and yet how strangely new,
How wonderful, almost divine,
Was this great bard of Toolamine --
   Whoever this great bard might be.

While Flayer praised, and quoted much
   To prove the mystic poet's worth,
The clamor of the crowd was such
That now the bard his latest clutch
Of verses signed, and so we knew
That Gonoff was the poet who
   Was set apart to shake the earth.

Of city critics twenty-three
   To Toolamine as pilgrims went.
We roared their antics grave to see
Before the bard, beneath a tree,
The township idiot was he,
The efforts of whose lanky Muse
The editor of TOOLA NEWS
   Had printed just for devilment!

First published in The Bulletin, 20 September 1906

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