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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 4 - 6/53 -


That the Pixies were the wags Who tipped these funny tags, And these heels.

What soles to charm an elf! - Had Crusoe, sick of self, Chanced to view One printed near the tide, O, how hard he would have tried For the two!

For Gerry's debonair, And innocent and fair As a rose; She's an Angel in a frock, - She's an Angel with a clock To her hose!

The simpletons who squeeze Their pretty toes to please Mandarins, Would positively flinch From venturing to pinch Geraldine's.

Cinderella's lefts and rights To Geraldine's were frights: And I trow The Damsel, deftly shod, Has dutifully trod Until now.

Come, Gerry, since it suits Such a pretty Puss (in Boots) These to don, Set your dainty hand awhile On my shoulder, Dear, and I'll Put them on.

Frederick Locker-Lampson [1821-1895]

A GARDEN LYRIC Geraldine And I

Dite, Damasippe, deaeque Verum ob consilium donent tonsore.

We have loitered and laughed in the flowery croft, We have met under wintry skies; Her voice is the dearest voice, and soft Is the light in her wistful eyes; It is bliss in the silent woods, among Gay crowds, or in any place, To mould her mind, to gaze in her young Confiding face.

For ever may roses divinely blow, And wine-dark pansies charm By that prim box path where I felt the glow Of her dimpled, trusting arm, And the sweep of her silk as she turned and smiled A smile as pure as her pearls; The breeze was in love with the darling Child, And coaxed her curls.

She showed me her ferns and woodbine sprays, Foxglove and jasmine stars, A mist of blue in the beds, a blaze Of red in the celadon jars: And velvety bees in convolvulus bells, And roses of bountiful Spring. But I said - "Though roses and bees have spells, They have thorn, and sting."

She showed me ripe peaches behind a net As fine as her veil, and fat Goldfish a-gape, who lazily met For her crumbs - I grudged them that! A squirrel, some rabbits with long lop ears, And guinea-pigs, tortoise-shell - wee; And I told her that eloquent truth inheres In all we see.

I lifted her doe by its lops, quoth I, "Even here deep meaning lies, - Why have squirrels these ample tails, and why Have rabbits these prominent eyes?" She smiled and said, as she twirled her veil, "For some nice little cause, no doubt - If you lift a guinea-pig up by the tail His eyes drop out!"

Frederick Locker Lampson [1821-1895]

MRS. SMITH

Heigh-ho! they're wed. The cards are dealt, Our frolic games are o'er; I've laughed, and fooled, and loved. I've felt - As I shall feel no more! Yon little thatch is where she lives, Yon spire is where she met me; - I think that if she quite forgives, She cannot quite forget me.

Last year I trod these fields with Di, - Fields fresh with clover and with rye; They now seem arid: Then Di was fair and single; how Unfair it seems on me, for now Di's fair, - and married!

A blissful swain, - I scorned the song Which tells us though young Love is strong, The Fates are stronger: Then breezes blew a boon to men, Then buttercups were bright, and then The grass was longer.

That day I saw, and much esteemed, Di's ankles, that the clover seemed Inclined to smother: It twitched, and soon untied (for fun) The ribbons of her shoes, first one, And then the other.

I'm told that virgins augur some Misfortune if their shoe-strings come To grief on Friday: And so did Di, - and then her pride Decreed that shoe-strings so untied, Are "so untidy!"

Of course I knelt; with fingers deft I tied the right, and tied the left: Says Di, "This stubble Is very stupid! - as I live I'm quite ashamed! - I'm shocked to give You so much trouble!"

For answer I was fain to sink To what we all would say and think Were Beauty present: "Don't mention such a simple act - A trouble? not the least! In fact It's rather pleasant!"

I trust that Love will never tease Poor little Di, or prove that he's A graceless rover. She's happy now as Mrs. Smith - But less polite when walking with Her chosen lover!

Heigh-ho! Although no moral clings To Di's blue eyes, and sandal strings, We had our quarrels. I think that Smith is thought an ass, - I know that when they walk in grass She wears balmorals.

Frederick Locker-Lampson [1821-1895]

THE SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD

The characters of great and small Come ready made, we can't bespeak one; Their sides are many, too, and all (Except ourselves) have got a weak one. Some sanguine people love for life, Some love their hobby till it flings them. How many love a pretty wife For love of the eclat she brings them! . . .

A little to relieve my mind I've thrown off this disjointed chatter, But more because I'm disinclined To enter on a painful matter: Once I was bashful; I'll allow I've blushed for words untimely spoken; I still am rather shy, and now . . . And now the ice is fairly broken.

We all have secrets: you have one Which may n't be quite your charming spouse's; We all lock up a Skeleton In some grim chamber of our houses; Familiars who exhaust their days And nights in probing where our smart is, And who, for all their spiteful ways, Are "silent, unassuming Parties."

We hug this Phantom we detest, Rarely we let it cross our portals: It is a most exacting guest, And we are much afflicted mortals. Your neighbor Gay, that jovial wight,


The Home Book of Verse, Volume 4 - 6/53

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