These epigrammatic lines may have been written
to be part of the poem that eventually gelled as “Soothsay”,
but which DGR was writing in serial pieces over a number of years during the 1870s. Most of “Soothsay” was written in 1871, though he added pieces to it in subsequent years.
The epigram was published by WMR as part of what he printed as a loose fragment of
“Soothsay” (see his edition of
1911 (pages 241-242), where it is run in with
another loose fragment of seven lines
that was certainly written as part of DGR's projected “Soothsay”. Neither fragment found its way into the finished poem.