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


Yea! sharp with them there bags of mysteree! For lo!" she ses, "for lo! old pal," ses she, "I'm blooming peckish, neither more nor less." Was it not prime - I leave you all to guess How prime! - to have a Jude in love's distress Come spooning round, and murmuring balmilee, "O crikey, Bill!"

For in such rorty wise doth Love express His blooming views, and asks for your address, And makes it right, and does the gay and free. I kissed her - I did so! And her and me Was pals. And if that ain't good business, "O crikey, Bill!"

II. VILLANELLE

Now ain't they utterly too-too (She ses, my Missus mine, ses she), Them flymy little bits of Blue.

Joe, just you kool 'em - nice and skew Upon our old meogginee, Now ain't they utterly too-too?

They're better than a pot'n' a screw, They're equal to a Sunday spree, Them flymy little bits of Blue!

Suppose I put 'em up the flue, And booze the profits, Joe? Not me. Now ain't they utterly too-too?

I do the 'Igh Art fake, I do. Joe, I'm consummate; and I see Them flymy little bits of Blue.

Which, Joe, is why I ses ter you - Aesthetic-like, and limp, and free - Now ain't they utterly too-too, Them flymy little bits of Blue?

William Ernest Henley [1849-1903]

THE POETS AT TEA

I. - (Macaulay) Pour, varlet, pour the water, The water steaming hot! A spoonful for each man of us, Another for the pot! We shall not drink from amber, No Capuan slave shall mix For us the snows of Athos With port at thirty-six; Whiter than snow the crystals Grown sweet 'neath tropic fires, More rich the herb of China's field, The pasture-lands more fragrance yield; Forever let Britannia wield The teapot of her sires!

II. - (Tennyson) I think that I am drawing to an end: For on a sudden came a gasp for breath, And stretching of the hands, and blinded eyes, And a, great darkness falling on my soul. O Hallelujah! . . . Kindly pass the milk.

III. - (Swinburne) As the sin that was sweet in the sinning Is foul in the ending thereof, As the heat of the summer's beginning Is past in the winter of love: O purity, painful and pleading! O coldness, ineffably gray! O hear us, our handmaid unheeding, And take it away!

IV. - (Cowper) The cosy fire is bright and gay, The merry kettle boils away And hums a cheerful song. I sing the saucer and the cup; Pray, Mary, fill the teapot up, And do not make it strong.

V. - (Browning) Tut! Bah! We take as another case - Pass the pills on the window-sill; notice the capsule (A sick man's fancy, no doubt, but I place Reliance on trade-marks, Sir) - so perhaps you'll Excuse the digression - this cup which I hold Light-poised - Bah, it's spilt in the bed - well, let's on go - Hold Bohea and sugar, Sir; if you were told The sugar was salt, would the Bohea be Congo?

VI. - (Wordsworth) "Come, little cottage girl, you seem To want my cup of tea;

And will you take a little cream? Now tell the truth to me."

She had a rustic, woodland grin, Her cheek was soft as silk,

And she replied, "Sir, please put in A little drop of milk."

"Why, what put milk into your head? 'Tis cream my cows supply;" And five times to the child I said, "Why, pig-head, tell me, why?"

"You call me pig-head," she replied; "My proper name is Ruth. I called that milk" - she blushed with pride - "You bade me speak the truth."

VII. - (Poe) Here's a mellow cup of tea - golden tea! What a world of rapturous thought its fragrance brings to me! Oh, from out the silver cells How it wells! How it smells! Keeping tune, tune, tune, To the tintinnabulation of the spoon. And the kettle on the fire Boils its spout off with desire, With a desperate desire And a crystalline endeavor Now, now to sit, or never, On the top of the pale-faced moon, But he always came home to tea, tea, tea, tea, tea, Tea to the n-th.

VIII. - (Rossetti) The lilies lie in my lady's bower, (O weary mother, drive the cows to roost), They faintly droop for a little hour; My lady's head droops like a flower.

She took the porcelain in her hand (O weary mother, drive the cows to roost); She poured; I drank at her command; Drank deep, and now - you understand! (O weary mother, drive the cows to roost).

IX. - (Burns) Weel, gin ye speir, I'm no inclined, Whusky or tay - to state my mind Fore ane or ither; For, gin I tak the first, I'm fou, And gin the next, I'm dull as you: Mix a' thegither.

X. - (Walt Whitman) One cup for my self-hood, Many for you. Allons, camerados, we will drink together, O hand-in-hand! That tea-spoon, please, when you've done with it. What butter-colored hair you've got. I don't want to be personal. All right, then, you needn't. You're a stale-cadaver. Eighteen-pence if the bottles are returned. Allons, from all bat-eyed formulas.

Barry Pain [1864-1928]

WORDSWORTH

Two voices are there: one is of the deep; It learns the storm cloud's thunderous melody, Now roars, now murmurs with the changing sea, Now birdlike pipes, now closes soft in sleep; And one is of an old half-witted sheep Which bleats articulate monotony, And indicates that two and one are three, That grass is green, lakes damp, and mountains steep: And, Wordsworth, both are thine: at certain times, Forth from the heart of thy melodious rhymes The form and pressure of high thoughts will burst; At other times-good Lord! I'd rather be Quite unacquainted with the A, B, C, Than write such hopeless rubbish as thy worst.

James Kenneth Stephen [1859-1892]


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

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