To A Dejected Poet

Thy gift, if that it be of God,
Thou hast no warrant to appraise,
Nor say: 'Here part, O Muse, our ways,
The road too stony to be trod.'

Not thine to call the labor hard
And the reward inadequate.
Who haggles o'er his hire with Fate
Is better bargainer than bard.

What! count the effort labor lost
When thy good angel holds the reed?
It were a sorry thing indeed
To stay him till thy palm be crossed.

'The laborer is worthy'-nay,
The sacred ministry of song
Is rapture!-'t were a grievous wrong
To fix a wages-rate for play.

by Ambrose Bierce

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