Frank Dempster Sherman


The Fly-leaf To The Reader

by Frank Dempster Sherman

Friend, stay your steps awhile before
You pass within the open door;
Bethink you in what manner you
Shall greet the host; consider, too,
How to a feast of all his best
The author here invites his guest,
To taste his meat and drink his wine,
On every dish to freely dine.
And, mind you, when you come to sit
Before the board whereon his wit
And wisdom are all spread to make
A meal for your mind's stomach's sake,
To bear yourself with dignity
And treat your host with courtesy.

If any dish before you placed
By any chance offend your taste,
Or if the food seem wanting aught
Of proper seasoning, say naught.
Eat quietly, and when you go
Forget not gratitude to show;
And, being gone, if you repent
The precious time that you have spent,
Or think that you have poorly fared
Upon the food and drink prepared,
Curse not this book -- the wine and meat
So kindly offered you to eat.
The author, too, spare from your curse,
And do not go from bad to worse;
You were his guest, this recollect,
And treat him only with respect.
Keep your opinions to yourself,
And put the book back on the shelf.
Think this: what one may eat, and die,
Another's taste may satisfy.


Lyrics For A Lute
Copyright 1890
Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin, and Company