To W. Hohenzollern, On Resuming The Conning Tower

Well William, since I wrote you long ago--
As I recall, one cool October morning--
(I have The Tribune files. They clearly show
I gave you warning).

Since when I penned that consequential ode,
The world has seen a vast amount of slaughter,
And under many a Gallic bridge has flowed
A lot of water.

I said when your people ceased to strafe,
That when you'd put an end to all this war stuff,
And all the world was reasonably safe
I'd write some more stuff.

That when you missed the quip and wanton wile
And learned you couldn't bear a Towerless season,
I quote, "O, I shall not be petty. . . . I'll
Listen to reason."

Labuntur anni, not to say Eheu
Fugaces! William, by my shoulders glistening!
I have the final laugh, for it was you
Who did the listening.

by Franklin Pierce Adams

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