A PICTURE-BOOK WITHOUT PICTURES 1119
heard—all were gone. But the ruins stood unchanged, as they will stand when centuries shall have gone by, and when none shall know of the momentary applause and of the triumph of the fair songstress ; when all will be forgotten and gone, and even for me this hour will be but a dream of the past/
' I looked through the windows of an editor's house/ said the Moon. ' It was somewhere in Germany. I saw handsome furniture, many books, and a chaos of newspapers. Several young men were present: the editor himself stood at his desk, and two little books, both by young authors, were to be noticed. "This one has been sent to me," said he. "I have not read it yet, but it is nicely got up; what think you of the contents ? " " Oh," said the person addressed—he was a poet himself—" it is good enough ; a little drawn out; but, you see, the author is still young. The verses might be better, to be sure ; the thoughts are sound, though there is certainly a good deal of commonplace among them. But what will you have ? You can't be always getting something new. That he'll turn out anything great I don't believe, but you may safely praise him. He is well read, a remarkable Oriental scholar, and has a good judgement. It was he who wrote that nice review of my Reflections on Domestic Life. We must be lenient towards the young man."
' " But he is a complete ass!" objected another of the gentlemen. " Nothing is worse in poetry than mediocrity, and he certainly does not go beyond that."
' " Poor fellow ! " observed a third, " and his aunt is so happy about him. It was she, Mr. Editor, who got together so many subscribers for your last translation."
1 " Ah, the good woman ! Well, I have noticed the book briefly. Undoubted talent—a welcome offering—a flower in the garden of poetry—prettily brought out—and so on. But this other book—I suppose the author expects me to purchase it ? I hear it is praised. He has genius, certainly: don't you think so ? "
1 " Yes, all the world declares as much," replied the poet,