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Hay Febrifuge
by [?]

I myself have sometimes attempted to intimate some of the affinities between hay fever and genius by attributing it (in the debased form of literary parody) to those of great intellectual stature. Upon the literary vehicles of expression habitually employed by Rudyard Kipling, Amy Lowell, Edgar Lee Masters, and Hilaire Belloc I have wafted a pinch of ragweed and goldenrod; with surprising results. These intellectuals were not more immune than myself. For instance, this is the spasm ejaculated by Mr. Edgar Lee Masters, of Spoon River:

Ed Grimes always did hate me
Because I wrote better poetry than he did.
In the hay fever season I used to walk
Along the river bank, to keep as far as possible
Away from pollen.
One day Ed and his brother crept up behind me
While I was writing a sonnet,
Tied my hands and feet,
And carried me into a hayfield and left me.
I sneezed myself to death.
At the funeral the church was full of goldenrod,
And I think it must have been Ed
Who sowed that ragweed all round my grave.

The Lord loveth a cheerful sneezer, and Mr. Masters deserves great credit for lending himself to the cult in this way.

I am a fanatical admirer of Mr. Gerald Stanley Lee, and have even thought of spending fifty of my own dollars, privily and without collusion with his publisher, to advertise that remarkable book of his called “WE” which is probably the ablest and most original, and certainly the most verbose, book that has been written about the war. Now Mr. Lee (let me light my pipe and get this right) is the most eminent victim of words that ever lived in New England (or indeed anywhere east of East Aurora). Words crowd upon him like flies upon a honey-pot: he is helpless to resist them. His brain buzzes with them: they leap from his eye, distil from his lean and waving hand. Good God, not since Rabelais and Lawrence Sterne, miscalled Reverend, has one human being been so beclotted, bedazzled, and bedrunken with syllables. I adore him for it, but equally I tremble. Glowing, radiant, transcendent vocables swim and dissolve in the porches of his brain, teasing him with visions far more deeply confused than ever Mr. Wordsworth’s were. The meanest toothbrush that bristles (he has confessed it himself) can fill him with thoughts that do often lie too deep for publishers. Perhaps the orotund soul-wamblings of Coleridge are recarnate in him, Scawfell become Mount Tom. Who knows? Once I sat at lunch with him, and though I am Trencherman Fortissimus (I can give you testimonials) my hamburg steak fell from my hand as I listened, clutching perilously at the hem of his thought. Nay. Mr. Lee, frown not: I say it in sincere devotion. If there is one man and one book this country needs, now, it is Gerald Stanley Lee and “WE.” Set me upon a coral atoll with that volume, I will repopulate the world with dictionaries, and beget lusty tomes. It is a breeding-ground for a whole new philosophy of heaven, hell, and the New Haven Railroad.

But what I was going to say when I lit my pipe was this: had I the stature (not the leanness, God forbid: sweet are the uses of obesity) of Mr. Lee, I could find in any clodded trifle the outlets of sky my yearning mind covets: hay fever would lead me by prismatic omissions and plunging ellipses of thought to the vaster spirals and eddies of all-viewing Mind. So does Mr. Lee proceed, weaving a new economics and a new bosom for advertisiarchs in the mere act of brushing his teeth. But alas, the recurring explosions of the loathsome and intellectual disease keep my nose on the grindstone–or handkerchief. Do I begin to soar on upward pinion, nose tweaks me back to sealpackerchief.