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The Poet and His Fancy

From the Rock Island Argus, February 3, 1914. By Henry Howland.

“Master of my own destiny am I,”
    The poet in his attic bravely wrote;
“I ask no master when I wish to lie
    Upon the sward and watch the clouds that float
Across the sky that is my very own;
    My knee is bent to neither lord nor king.
I proudly serve my own sweet will alone,
    As free as is the bird upon the wing.

“I scoff at him who bows to king or wife,
    Afraid to let his fancy e’en have play.
Who, in his groove must live a narrow life,
    A slave receiving orders day by day;
I, being free to do as I may please,
    Permit my soul to soar, and laugh at care;
To me there come a thousand ecstasies
    That those who chafe in bonds may never share.

“I am a law unto myself; I fill
    The place that I elect; I choose my sphere,
I serve no master but my own sweet will,
    I am a stranger to the thing called fear.”
But as he sang his lank landlady came.
    Her air was positive, her look was grim;
She called him many a disrespectful name,
    And flung his satchel downstairs after him.

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