Poems » sidney lanier » to my friends and critics


Come all you friends and critics,
    And listen to my song,
A word I will say to you,
    It will not take me long,
The people talks about me,
    They've nothing else to do
But to criticise their neighbors,
    And they have me now in view.

Perhaps they talk for meanness,
    And perhaps it is in jest,
If they leave out their freeness
    It would suit me now the best,
To keep the good old maxim
    I find it hard to do,
That is to do to others
    As you wish them do to you.

Perhaps you've read the papers
    Containing my interview;
I hope you kind good people
    Will not believe it true.
Some Editors of the papers
    They thought it would be wise
To write a column about me,
    So they filled it up with lies.

The papers have ridiculed me
    A year and a half or more.
Such slander as the interview
    I never read before.
Some reporters and editors
    Are versed in telling lies.
Others it seems are willing
    To let industry rise.

The people of good judgment
    Will read the papers through,
And not rely on its truth
    Without a candid view.
My first attempt at literature
    Is the "Sweet Singer" by name,
I wrote that book without a thought
    Of the future, or of fame.

Dear Friends, I write for money,
    With a kind heart and hand,
I wish to make no Enemies
    Throughout my native land.
Kind friends, now I close my rhyme,
    And lay my pen aside,
Between me and my critics
    I leave you to decide.