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Excerpts from Robert Browning's
My Father was a scholar and knew Greek.
When I was five years old, I asked him once
"What do you read about?"
"The siege of Troy."
"What is a siege, and what is Troy?"
He piled up chairs and tables for a town,
Set me a-top for Priam, called our cat
--Helen, enticed away from home (he said)
By wicked Paris, who couched somewhere close
Under the footstool, being cowardly. . . .
Time passed, I ripened somewhat: one fine day,
"Quite ready for the Iliad, nothing less?
There's Heine, where the big books block the shelf:
Don't skip a word, thumb well the Lexicon!"
I, now mature man, you anticipate,
May blame my Father justifiably
For letting me dream out my nonage thus,
And only by such slow and sure degrees
Permitting me to sift the grain from chaff,
Get truth and falsehood known and named as such.
Why did he ever let me dream at all,
Not bid me taste the story in its strength?
. . . . . . . . . .
Silence at least was in his power to keep: . . .
Why did he let me dream at all?
Quite ready for the Iliad, nothing less?
Don't skip a word, thumb well the Lexicon!
In memory of Margaret Jobe
and George William Royalty
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. R. Edwards