The Ballade Of The Average Reader

I try to touch the public taste,
For thus I earn my daily bread.
I try to write what folks will paste
In scrap books after I am dead.
By Public Craving I am led.
(I' sooth, a most despotic leader)
Yet, though I write for Tom and Ned,
I've never seen an average reader.

The Editor is good and chaste,
But says: (Above the public's head;
This is too good; 'twill go to waste.
Write something commonplacer-
Write for the average reader, fed
By pre-digested near-food's feeder,
But though my high ideals have fled,
I've never seen an average reader.

How many lines have been erased!
How many fancies have been shed!
How many failures might be traced
To this-this average-reader dread!
I've seen an average single bed;
I've seen an average garden-weeder;
I've seen an average cotton thread-
I've never seen an average reader.


Most read of readers, if you've read
The works of any old succeeder,
You know that he, too, must have said:
'I've never seen an Average Reader.'

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