Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

MACTAVISH


I do not write for love of pelf,
Nor lust for phantom fame;
I do not rhyme to please myself,
Nor yet to win acclaim:
No, strange to say it is my plan,
What gifts I have, to lavish
Upon a simple working man
MACTAVISH.

For that's the rather smeary name,
Of dreary toil a hinter,
That heads the galley proofs that came
This morning from my printer;
My patient pencil much they need,
Yet how my eyes they ravish,
As at the top of each I read:
MACTAVISH.

Who is the meek and modest man,
Who puffs no doubt a pipe,
And has my manuscript to scan,
And put in magic type?
Somehow I'm glad that he is not
Iberian or Slavish -
I hail him as a brother Scot,
MACTAVISH.

I do not want to bore him with
My work, I make it snappy;
For even though his name were Smith,
I'd like him to be happy.
I hope, because I'm stumped for rhyme,
He will not think me knavish,
If I should call him just this time:
MACTAVISH.

Forgive me, Friend Mactavish. I
No doubt have cost you curses;
I'm sorry for you as you try
To put my type in verses;
And though new names I know you by,
When of new books creator,
I'll always look on you as my
COLLABORATOR.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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