We Must Therefore Refuse

I first came across this rejection letter in “The First Five Pages” by Noah Lukeman, but it is originally excerpted from Louis Zukofsky’ “A” as a letter from Chinese publisher. While not 100% politically correct, it make me smile every time I read it:

Most honorable Sir,
We perused your MS.
with boundless delight. And
we hurry to swear by our ancestors
we have never read any other
that equals its mastery.
Were we to publish your work,
we could never presume again on
our public and name
to print books of a standard
not up to yours.
For we cannot imagine
that the next ten thousand years
will offer its ectype.
We must therefore refuse
your work that shines as it were in the sky
and beg you a thousand times
to pardon our fault
which impairs but our own offices.

–Publishers

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