Monday, October 23, 2017

Carolyn Wells's "A Reader's Lament" (1899).

Carolyn Wells,
ca. 1923
Carolyn Wells's The Clue (1909) appears on the Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone list of essential mysteries, and she's also known for her Sherlock Holmes pastiches. In addition, she wrote poetry, such as the following "Reader's Lament" (The Bookman, Mar. 1899, p. 22):

I cannot read the old books
I read long years ago;
Eliot, Dickens, Thackeray,
Bulwer and Scott and Poe.
Marryat's yarns of sailor life,
And Hugo's tales of crime; —
I cannot read the old books,
Because I haven't time.

I love the dear old stories,
My thoughts to them will stray;
But still one must keep posted on
The writers of to-day.
My desk is piled with latest books
I'm striving to despatch;
But ere I've finished all of them,
There'll be another batch.

Hope's new one isn't opened yet,
I've not read James's last;
And Howells is so prolific now,
And Crawford writes so fast.
Evelyn Innes I must skim,
O'er Helbeck I must pore;
The Day's Work I'll enjoy, although
I've read the tales before.

And then there is The King's Jackal,
The Gadfly, Caleb West,
Silence, The Forest Lovers, and—
I can't name all the rest.
I'll try to keep up with the times,
But, oh, I hope that I
May read my David Copperfield
Once more before I die.

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