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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 4 - 1/53 -


The Home Book of Verse, Volume 4

by Burton Egbert Stevenson

Contents of Volume I of the two volume set are in our Volume 1 This includes contents of Volumes 1 through 4 of our Etext editions.

PART IV

FAMILIAR VERSE, AND POEMS HUMOROUS AND SATIRIC

BALLADE OF THE PRIMITIVE JEST "What did the dark-haired Iberian laugh at before the tall blonde Aryan drove him into the corners of Europe?" - Brander Matthews

I am an ancient Jest! Palaeolithic man In his arboreal nest The sparks of fun would fan; My outline did he plan, And laughed like one possessed, 'Twas thus my course began, I am a Merry Jest!

I am an early Jest! Man delved, and built, and span; Then wandered South and West The peoples Aryan, I journeyed in their van; The Semites, too, confessed, - From Beersheba to Dan, - I am a Merry Jest!

I am an ancient Jest! Through all the human clan, Red, black, white, free, oppressed, Hilarious I ran! I'm found in Lucian, In Poggio, and the rest, I'm dear to Moll and Nan! I am a Merry Jest!

ENVOY Prince, you may storm and ban - Joe Millers are a pest, Suppress me if you can! I am a Merry Jest!

Andrew Lang [1844-1912]

THE KINDLY MUSE

TIME TO BE WISE

Yes; I write verses now and then, But blunt and flaccid is my pen, No longer talked of by young men As rather clever: In the last quarter are my eyes, You see it by their form and size; Is it not time then to be wise? Or now or never.

Fairest that ever sprang from Eve! While Time allows the short reprieve, Just look at me! would you believe 'Twas once a lover? I cannot clear the five-bar gate; But, trying first its timber's state, Climb stiffly up, take breath, and wait To trundle over.

Through gallopade I cannot swing The entangling blooms of Beauty's spring: I cannot say the tender thing, Be't true or false, And am beginning to opine Those girls are only half-divine Whose waists yon wicked boys entwine In giddy waltz.

I fear that arm above that shoulder; I wish them wiser, graver, older, Sedater, and no harm if colder, And panting less. Ah! people were not half so wild In former days, when, starchly mild, Upon her high-heeled Essex smiled The brave Queen Bess.

Walter Savage Landor [1775-1864]

UNDER THE LINDENS

Under the lindens lately sat A couple, and no more, in chat; I wondered what they would be at Under the lindens.

I saw four eyes and four lips meet, I heard the words, "How sweet! how sweet!" Had then the Fairies given a treat Under the lindens?

I pondered long and could not tell What dainty pleased them both so well: Bees! bees! was it your hydromel Under the lindens?

Walter Savage Landor [1775-1864]

ADVICE

To write as your sweet mother does Is all you wish to do. Play, sing, and smile for others, Rose! Let others write for you.

Or mount again your Dartmoor gray, And I will walk beside, Until we reach that quiet bay Which only hears the tide.

Then wave at me your pencil, then At distance bid me stand, Before the caverned cliff, again The creature of your hand.

And bid me then go past the nook To sketch me less in size; There are but few content to look So little in your eyes.

Delight us with the gifts you have, And wish for none beyond: To some be gay, to some be grave, To one (blest youth!) be fond.

Pleasures there are how close to Pain And better unpossessed! Let poetry's too throbbing vein Lie quiet in your breast.

Walter Savage Landor [1775-1864]

TO FANNY

Never mind how the pedagogue proses, You want not antiquity's stamp; The lip, that such fragrance discloses, Oh! never should smell of the lamp.

Old Chloe, whose withering kisses Have long set the Loves at defiance, Now, done with the science of blisses, May fly to the blisses of science!

Young Sappho, for want of employments, Alone o'er her Ovid may melt, Condemned but to read of enjoyments, Which wiser Corinna had felt.

But for you to be buried in books - Oh, Fanny! they're pitiful sages; Who could not in one of your looks Read more than in millions of pages!

Astronomy finds in your eyes Better light than she studies above, And Music must borrow your sighs


The Home Book of Verse, Volume 4 - 1/53

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