Newspaper History presents media sourced from a United States newspaper dating back 108 years.

  • Just a Clerk

    From the Omaha Daily Bee, March 13, 1914. By H. J. Maclean.

    Lord, I am but a little clerk
        That scratches with a pen;
    I rise and eat and toil and sleep,
        Just as all other men.

    The only colors in my life
        Are drabs and duns and grays,
    Yet on the whole I am content
        To tread the beaten ways.

    But sometimes when the midspring mist
        Floats in the scented night,
    Strange spirits whisper in my ear,
        And visions cross my sight.

    I see myself a gracious youth,
        In purple and bright steel;
    The golden spurs of knightly worth
        Are glistening on each heel.

    I ride into a world of dreams,
        And with my pennoned lance
    I pierce the mystic veil that hides
        The land of high romance.

    But as I pass through Galahad’s glades
        Adventuring on my way,
    A ghost is ever at my back,
        The ghost of every day.

    And soon or late its horrid hand
        That never yields or stays
    Will hurl me from my land of dreams,
        Back to its beaten ways.

    Oh, Lord, some pray to Thee for gold,
        Some for a woman’s smile;
    But all I ask is a breath of life
        Once for a little while.

    Grant me, before I pass beyond,
        One chance to play a part,
    To drop the guise of the little clerk
        And show the man at heart.