New Collected Rhymes

Author: Andrew Lang

The Ballade of the Subconscious Self

Who suddenly calls to our ken
The knowledge that should not be there;
Who charms Mr. Stead with the pen,
Of the Prince of the Powers of the Air;
Who makes Physiologists stare -
Is he ghost, is he demon, or elf,
Who fashions the dream of the fair?
It is just the Subconscious Self.

He’s the ally of Medicine Men
Who consult the Australian bear,
And ’tis he, with his lights on the fen,
Who helps Jack o’ Lanthorn to snare
The peasants of Devon, who swear
Under Commonwealth, Stuart, or Guelph,
That they never had half such a scare -
It is just the Subconscious Self.

It is he, from his cerebral den,
Who raps upon table and chair,
Who frightens the housemaid, and then
Slinks back, like a thief, to his lair:
’Tis the Brownie (according to Mair)
Who rattles the pots on the shelf,
But the Psychical sages declare
"It is just the Subconscious Self."

Prince, each of us all is a pair -
The Conscious, who labours for pelf,
And the other, who charmed Mr. Blair,
It is just the Subconscious Self.


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Chicago: Andrew Lang, "The Ballade of the Subconscious Self," New Collected Rhymes, ed. Sutherland, Alexander, 1853-1902 and trans. Seaton, R. C. in New Collected Rhymes (New York: George E. Wood, ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892), Original Sources, accessed September 25, 2022,

MLA: Lang, Andrew. "The Ballade of the Subconscious Self." New Collected Rhymes, edited by Sutherland, Alexander, 1853-1902, and translated by Seaton, R. C., in New Collected Rhymes, New York, George E. Wood, ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892, Original Sources. 25 Sep. 2022.

Harvard: Lang, A, 'The Ballade of the Subconscious Self' in New Collected Rhymes, ed. and trans. . cited in ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892, New Collected Rhymes, George E. Wood, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 25 September 2022, from