User menu


[Before I was famous]

Fawcett, Edgar. "[Before I was famous]." Brooklyn Eagle. 25 May 1884: 9.

Embedded within the article "Bohemianism: The American Authors Who Met in a Cellar" is Fawcett's poem recollecting his time at Pfaff's and dropping the names of fellow Pfaffians.

Full Text

Before I was famous I used to sit
In a dull old underground room I know,
And sip cheap beer, and be glad for it,
With a wild Bohemian friend or two.

There was artist George with the blonde Greek head,
And the startling creeds and the loose cravat;
There was splenetic journalistic Fred
Of the sharp retort and the shabby hat;

There was dreamy Frank of the lounging fait,
Who lived on nothing a year or less,
And always meant to be something great,
But only meant; and smoked to excess.

And last myself, whom their merry sneers
Annoyed no whit as they laughed and said,
"I listened to all their grand ideas,
And wrote them out for my daily bread."
. . . .

But there came a change in my life at last,
And fortune forgot to starve and stint,
And the people chose to admire aghast
The book I had eaten dirt to print.

And new friends gathered about me then,
New voices summoned me there and here;
The world went down in a dingy den
And drew me forth from my pipe and beer.
. . . .

But now and then I would break the thrall,
I would yield to a pang of dumb regret,
And steal to join them, and find them all
With the amber wassail near them yet.

But the wit would lag and the mirth would lack,
And the god of jollity hear no call.
And the prosperous broadcloath on my back
Hung over the spirits like a pall.
. . . .

Well, and what has it all been worth?
May not my soul to my soul confess
That "succeeding" here on earth
Does not always assume success.
. . . .

I would cast, and gladly, from this gray head
Its crown, to regain one sweet lost year
With artistic George, with splenetic Fred,
With dreamy Frank, with the pipes and beer.

People who Created this Work

People Mentioned in this Work

Boughton, George [pages:9]

The "artist George with the blonde Greek head" mentioned in the poem is probably George Henry Boughton, the one George among the Pfaffians who was an artist.

Briggs, Charles [pages:9]

The "splenetic journalistic Fred" mentioned in the poem may be Charles Frederick Briggs.

Goodrich, Frank [pages:9]

Goodrich may be the "dreamy Frank" referred to in the poem.

Herbert, Henry [pages:9]

Herbert (who wrote under the name of Frank Forester) may be the "dreamy Frank" referred to in the poem.

Ottarson, Franklin [pages:9]

Ottarson may be the "dreamy Frank" referred to in the poem.

Wood, Frank [pages:9]

Wood may be the "dreamy Frank" referred to in the poem.