(To the Editor)
Yes; your up-dated modern page –
All flower-fresh, as it appears –
Can claim a time-tried lineage,
That reaches backward fifty years
(Which, if but short for sleepy squires,
Is much in magazines’ careers).
– Here, on your cover, never tires
The sower, reaper, thresher, while
As through the seasons of our sires
Each wills to work in ancient style
With seedlip, sickle, share and flail,
Though modes have since moved many a mile!
The steel-roped plough now rips the vale,
With cog and tooth the sheaves are won,
Wired wheels drum out the wheat like hail;
But if we ask, what has been done
To unify the mortal lot
Since your bright leaves first saw the sun,
Beyond mechanic furtherance–what
Advance can rightness, candour, claim?
Truth bends abashed, and answers not.
Despite your volumes’ gentle aim
To straighten visions wry and wrong,
Events jar onward much the same!
– Had custom tended to prolong,
As on your golden page engrained,
Old processes of blade and prong,
And best invention been retained
For high crusades to lessen tears
Throughout the race, the world had gained! . . .
But too much, this, for fifty years.