Vanity

My tangoing seemed to delight her;
With me it was love at first sight.
I mentioned That I was a writer:
She asked me: "What is it you write?"
"Oh, only best-sellers," I told her.
Their titles? . . . She shook her blonde head;
The atmosphere seemed to grow colder:
Not one of my books had she read.

Oh, she was a beauty ensnaring,
And I was an author of note;
But little I saw she'd be caring
If never a novel I wrote.
Alas for the caprice of Cupid!
Alack for the phantom of Fame!
I thought her just homely and stupid:
She didn't know even my name.

I saw her a score of years after;
She gushed as I took off my hat;
But inwardly loud was my laughter,
For she was enormously fat.
Thank heaven I'd not made that error;
I saw Love drive off in a hearse;
But I too retreated in terror . . .
She started to quote me my verse.

by Robert William Service

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