it do, although your poetry seems to you better than Longfellow
's and your prose than Holmes
's, so long as the community-or the editor, who is merely the purveyor or steward for the community-cannot be led to the same opinion?
You can cherish your genius in silence as much as you please; you can be content with the applause of your cousins and your pastor; you can publish your works at your own expense, and wait for posterity to applaud.
Any of these things you can do, as many have done before you; but if you wish for a success more stimulating or more lucrative than this, you must comply with the conditions of success: you must find out what the public wants, and then supply it; you must let others, and not yourself, determine the value of your goods.
In the days when the blind Homer
recited his lays, or in the medieval times when bards sang from door to door, literature could hardly be said to be on a business foundation; but now, for good or for evil, it is established on that basis, and so far as publication is concerned the laws of business must be accepted.
A shoemaker does not make a pair of shoes and bring them to your door, and claim that it is your duty to buy them at his own price, whether you like them or not. It is true that book — peddlers and travelling basket-women come pretty near to taking this attitude, but we all feel