« PreviousContinue »
This earth is rich in man and maid ;
With fair horizons bound : This whole wide earth of light and shade
Comes out, a perfect round. High over roaring Temple-bar,
And, set in Heaven's third story, I look at all things as they are,
But thro’ a kind of glory.
Head-waiter, honour'd by the guest
Half-mused, or reeling ripe,
That ever came from pipe.
My nerves have dealt with stiffer.
Or do my peptics differ ?
For since I came to live and learn,
No pint of white or red
This wheel within my head,
Unsubject to confusion, Tho' soak’d and saturate, out and out,
Thro' every convolution.
For I am of a numerous houst,
With many kinsmen gay,
As who shall say me nay :
We drink defying trouble, Or sometimes two would meet in one,
And then we drank it double ;
Whether the vintage, yet unkept,
Had relish fiery-new,
As old as Waterloo ;
In musty bins and chambers, Had cast upon its crusty side
The gloom of ten Decembers.
The Muse, the jolly Muse, it is !
She answer'd to my call,
Is all-in-all to all :
To make my blood run quicker,
Her life into the liquor.
And hence this halo lives about
The waiter's hands, that reach
His proper chop to each.
That with the napkin dally;
From some delightful valley.
The Cock was of a larger egg
Than modern poultry drop, Stept forward on a firmer leg,
And cramm'd a plumper crop; Upon an ampler dunghill trod,
Crow'd lustier late and early, Sipt wine from silver, praising God,
And raked in golden barley.
A private life was all his joy,
Till in a court he saw
That knuckled at the taw :
Flew over roof and casement : FIis brothers of the weather stood
Stock-still for sheer amazement.
But he, by farmstead, thorpe and spire,
And follow'd with acclaims, A sign to many a staring shire
Came crowing over Thames. Right down by smoky Paul's they bore,
Till, where the street grows straiter, One fix'd for ever at the door,
And one became head-waiter.
But whither would my fancy go?
How out of place she makes The violet of a legend blow
Among the chops and steaks ! 'Tis but a steward of the can,
One shade more plump than common; As just and mere a serving-man
As any, born of woman.
I ranged too high : what draws me down
Into the common day?
Which I shall have to pay ?
Nor wholly comfortable,
And thrumming on the table :
Half fearful that, with self at strife
I take myself to task ;
I leave an empty flask :
To prove myself a poet :
Is gray before I know it.
So fares it since the years began,
Till they be gather'd up; The truth, that flies the flowing can,
Will haunt the vacant cup : And others' follies teach us not,
Nor much their wisdom teaches ; And most, of sterling worth, is what
Our own experience preaches.
Ah, let the rusty theme alone!
We know not what we know. But for my pleasant hour, 'tis gone,
'Tis gone, and let it go. 'Tis gone : a thousand such have slipt
Away from my embraces, And fall’n into the dusty crypt
Of darken’d forms and faces.