Charles Lamb

The Young Letter Writer

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Dear Sir, Dear Madam, or Dear Friend,
With ease are written at the top;
When those two happy words are penned,
A youthful writer oft will stop,


And bite his pen, and lift his eyes
As if he thinks to find in air
The wished-for following words, or tries
To fix his thoughts by fixëd stare.


But haply all in vain--the next
Two words may be so long before
They'll come, the writer, sore perplext,
Gives in despair the matter o'er;


And when maturer age he sees
With ready pen so swift inditing,
With envy he beholds the ease
Of long-accustomed letter-writing.


Courage, young friend; the time may be
When you attain maturer age,
Some young as you are now may see
You with like ease glide down a page.


Even then when you, to years a debtor,
In varied phrase your meanings wrap,
The welcomest words in all your letter
May be those two kind words at top.

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Charles Lamb