Burton Egbert Stevenson.

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And the landlady after him hurried.

We saw him again at dead of night,
When home from the club returning;
We twigged the doctor beneath the light
Of the gas-lamp brilliantly burning.

All bare and exposed to the midnight dews,
Reclined in a gutter we found him;
And he looked like a gentleman taking a snooze
With his Marshall cloak around him.

"The doctor's as drunk as the devil," we said,
And we managed a shutter to borrow;
We raised him; and sighed at the thought that his head
Would consumedly ache on the morrow.

We bore him home, and we put him to bed,
And we told his wife and his daughter
To give him next morning a couple of red-
Herrings, with soda-water.

Loudly they talked of his money that's gone,
And his lady began to upbraid him;
But little he recked, so they let him snore on
'Neath the counterpane, just as we laid him.

We tucked him in, and had hardly done,
When, beneath the window calling,
We heard the rough voice of a son of a gun
Of a watchman "One o'clock!" bawling.

Slowly and sadly we all walked down
From his room on the uppermost story;
A rushlight we placed on the cold hearth-stone,
And we left him alone in his glory.

Richard Harris Barham [1788-1845]

From "Alice in Wonderland"
After Mary Howitt

"Will you walk a little faster?" said a whiting to a snail,
"There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail,
See bow eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle - will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?

"You can really have no notion how delightful it will be
When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!"
But the snail replied, "Too far, too far!" and gave a look askance -
Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.

"What matters it how far we go?" his scaly friend replied.
"There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The further off from England the nearer is to France -
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?"

Lewis Carroll [1832-1898]

After Tennyson

Home they brought her sailor son,
Grown a man across the sea,
Tall and broad and black of beard,
And hoarse of voice as man may be.

Hand to shake and mouth to kiss,
Both he offered ere he spoke;
But she said, "What man is this
Comes to play a sorry joke?"

Then they praised him - called him "smart,"
"Tightest lad that ever stept;"
But her son she did not know,
And she neither smiled nor wept.

Rose, a nurse of ninety years,
Set a pigeon-pie in sight;
She saw him eat: - "'Tis he! 'tis he!"
She knew him - by his appetite!

Frederick William Sawyer [1810-1875]

After Tennyson

One, who is not, we see: but one, whom we see not, is;
Surely this is not that: but that is assuredly this.

What, and wherefore, and whence? for under is over and under;
If thunder could be without lightning, lightning could be without thunder.

Doubt is faith in the main: but faith, on the whole, is doubt;
We cannot believe by proof: but could we believe without?

Why, and whither, and how? for barley and rye are not clover;
Neither are straight lines curves: yet over is under and over.

Two and two may be four: but four and four are not eight;
Fate and God may be twain: but God is the same thing as fate.

Ask a man what he thinks, and get from a man what he feels;
God, once caught in the fact, shows you a fair pair of heels.

Body and spirit are twins: God only knows which is which;
The soul squats down in the flesh, like a tinker drunk in a ditch.

One and two are not one: but one and nothing is two;
Truth can hardly be false, if falsehood cannot be true.

Once the mastodon was: pterodactyls were common as cocks;
Then the mammoth was God; now is He a prize ox.

Parallels all things are: yet many of these are askew.
You are certainly I: but certainly I am not you.

Springs the rock from the plain, shoots the stream from the rock;
Cocks exist for the hen: but hens exist for the cock.

God, whom we see not, is: and God, who is not, we see;
Fiddle, we know, is diddle; and diddle, we take it, is dee.

Algernon Charles Swinburne [1837-1909]

After Hood

Long by the willow-trees
Vainly they sought her,
Wild rang the mother's screams
O'er the gray water:
"Where is my lovely one?
Where is my daughter?

"Rouse thee, Sir Constable -
Rouse thee and look;
Fisherman, bring your net,
Boatman, your hook.
Beat in the lily-beds,
Dive in the brook!"

Vainly the constable
Shouted and called her;
Vainly the fisherman
Beat the green alder;
Vainly he flung the net,
Never it hauled her!

Mother beside the fire
Sat, her nightcap in;
Father, in easy chair,
Gloomily napping,
When at the window-sill
Came a light tapping!

And a pale countenance
Looked through the casement.
Loud beat the mother's heart,
Sick with amazement,
And at the vision which
Came to surprise her,
Shrieked in an agony -
"Lor'! it's Elizar!"

Yes, 'twas Elizabeth -
Yes, 'twas their girl;
Pale was her cheek, and her
Hair out of curl.
"Mother," the loving one,
Blushing exclaimed,
"Let not your innocent
Lizzy be blamed.

"Yesterday, going to Aunt
Jones's to tea,
Mother, dear mother, I
Forgot the door-key!
And as the night was cold
And the way steep,
Mrs. Jones kept me to
Breakfast and sleep."

Whether her Pa and Ma
Fully believed her,
That we shall never know,
Stern they received her;
And for the work of that
Cruel, though short, night
Sent her to bed without
Tea for a fortnight.

Hey diddle diddlety,
Cat and the fiddlety,
Maidens of England, take caution by she!
Let love and suicide
Never tempt you aside,
And always remember to take the door-key.

William Makepeace Thackeray [1811-1863]

After Robert Browning

Where'er there's a thistle to feed a linnet
And linnets are plenty, thistles rife -
Or an acorn-cup to catch dew-drops in it
There's ample promise of further life.
Now, mark how we begin it.

For linnets will follow, if linnets are minded,
As blows the white-feather parachute;
And ships will reel by the tempest blinded -
Aye, ships and shiploads of men to boot!
How deep whole fleets you'll find hid.

And we blow the thistle-down hither and thither
Forgetful of linnets, and men, and God.
The dew! for its want an oak will wither -
By the dull hoof into the dust is trod,
And then who strikes the cither?

But thistles were only for donkeys intended,
And that donkeys are common enough is clear,
And that drop! what a vessel it might have befriended,
Does it add any flavor to Glugabib's beer?
Well, there's my musing ended.

Tom Hood [1835-1874]


The Jam-pot - tender thought!
I grabbed it - so did you.
"What wonder while we fought
Together that it flew
In shivers?" you retort.

You should have loosed your hold
One moment - checked your fist.
But, as it was, too bold
You grappled and you missed.
More plainly - you were sold.

"Well, neither of us shared
The dainty." That your plea?
"Well, neither of us cared,"
I answer.... "Let me see.
How have your trousers fared?"

Rudyard Kipling [1865-1936]

After William Morris

Part I
The auld wife sat at her ivied door,
(Butler and eggs and a pound of cheese)
A thing she had frequently done before;
And her spectacles lay on her aproned knees.

The piper he piped on the hill-top high,
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
Till the cow said "I die," and the goose asked "Why?"
And the dog said nothing, but searched for fleas.

The farmer he strode through the square farmyard;
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
His last brew of ale was a trifle hard -
The connection of which with the plot one sees.

The farmer's daughter hath frank blue eyes;
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
She hears the rooks caw in the windy skies,
As she sits at her lattice and shells her peas.

The farmer's daughter hath ripe red lips;
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
If you try to approach her, away she skips
Over tables and chairs with apparent ease.

The farmer's daughter hath soft brown hair;
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And I met with a ballad, I can't say where,
Which wholly consisted of lines like these.

Part II
She sat, with her hands 'neath her dimpled cheeks,
(Butler and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And spake not a word. While a lady speaks
There is hope, but she didn't even sneeze.

She sat, with her hands 'neath her crimson cheeks,
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
She gave up mending her father's breeks,
And let the cat roll in her new chemise.

She sat, with her hands 'neath her burning cheeks,
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And gazed at the piper for thirteen weeks;
Then she followed him out o'er the misty leas.

Her sheep followed her, as their tails did them.
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And this song is considered a perfect gem,
And as to the meaning, it's what you please.

Charles Stuart Calverley [1831-1884]

After Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The blessed Poster-girl leaned out
From a pinky-purple heaven;
One eye was red and one was green;
Her bang was cut uneven;
She had three fingers on her hand,
And the hairs on her head were seven.

Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,
No sunflowers did adorn,
But a heavy Turkish portiere
Was very neatly worn;
And the hat that lay along her back
Was yellow like canned corn.

It was a kind of wobbly wave
That she was standing on,
And high aloft she flung a scarf
That must have weighed a ton;
And she was rather tall - at least
She reached up to the sun.

She curved and writhed, and then she said,
Less green of speech than blue:
"Perhaps I am absurd - perhaps
I don't appeal to you;
But my artistic worth depends
Upon the point of view."

I saw her smile, although her eyes
Were only smudgy smears;
And then she swished her swirling arms,
And wagged her gorgeous ears,
She sobbed a blue-and-green-checked sob,
And wept some purple tears.

Carolyn Wells [186? -

After Dante Gabriel Rossetti

"Why do you wear your hair like a man,
Sister Helen?
This week is the third since you began."
"I'm writing a ballad; be still if you can,
Little brother.
(O Mother Carey, mother!
What chickens are these between sea and heaven?)"

"But why does your figure appear so lean,
Sister Helen?
And why do you dress in sage, sage green?"
"Children should never be heard, if seen,
Little brother!
(O Mother Carey, mother!
What fowls are a-wing in the stormy heaven!)"

"But why is your face so yellowy white,
Sister Helen?
And why are your skirts so funnily tight?"
"Be quiet, you torment, or how can I write,
Little brother?
(O Mother Carey, mother!
How gathers thy train to the sea from the heaven!)"

"And who's Mother Carey, and what is her train,
Sister Helen?
And why do you call her again and again?"
"You troublesome boy, why that's the refrain,
Little brother.
(O Mother Carey, mother!
What work is toward in the startled heaven?)"

"And what's a refrain? What a curious word,
Sister Helen!
Is the ballad you're writing about a sea-bird?"
"Not at all; why should it be? Don't be absurd,
Little brother.
(O Mother Carey, mother!
Thy brood flies lower as lowers the heaven.)"

(A big brother speaketh:)

"The refrain you've studied a meaning had,
Sister Helen!
It gave strange force to a weird ballad.
But refrains have become a ridiculous 'fad',
Little brother.
And Mother Carey, mother,
Has a bearing on nothing in earth or heaven.

"But the finical fashion has had its day,
Sister Helen.
And let's try in the style of a different lay
To bid it adieu in poetical way,
Little brother.
So, Mother Carey, mother!
Collect your chickens and go to - heaven."

(A pause. Then the big brother singeth, accompanying himself
in a plaintive wise on the triangle:)

"Look in my face. My name is Used-to-was,
I am also called Played-out and Done-to-death,
And It-will-wash-no-more. Awakeneth
Slowly, but sure awakening it has,
The common-sense of man; and I, alas!
The ballad-burden trick, now known too well,
Am turned to scorn, and grown contemptible -
A too transparent artifice to pass.

"What a cheap dodge I am! The cats who dart
Tin-kettled through the streets in wild surprise
Assail judicious ears not otherwise;
And yet no critics praise the urchin's 'art',
Who to the wretched creature's caudal part
Its foolish empty-jingling 'burden' ties."

Henry Duff Traill [1842-1900]

After Swinburne

If life were never bitter,
And love were always sweet,
Then who would care to borrow
A moral from to-morrow -
If Thames would always glitter,
And joy would ne'er retreat,
If life were never bitter,
And love were always sweet!

If care were not the waiter
Behind a fellow's chair,
When easy-going sinners
Sit down to Richmond dinners,
And life's swift stream flows straighter,
By Jove, it would be rare,
If care were not the waiter
Behind a fellow's chair.

If wit were always radiant,
And wine were always iced,
And bores were kicked out straightway
Through a convenient gateway;
Then down the year's long gradient
'Twere sad to be enticed,
If wit were always radiant,
And wine were always iced.

Mortimer Collins [1827-1876]

After Swinburne

From the depth of the dreamy decline of the dawn through
a notable nimbus of nebulous noonshine,
Pallid and pink as the palm of the flag-flower that flickers
with fear of the flies as they float,
Are the looks of our lovers that lustrously lean from a marvel of
mystic, miraculous moonshine,
These that we feel in the blood of our blushes that thicken and
threaten with throbs through the throat?
Thicken and thrill as a theatre thronged at appeal of an actor's
appalled agitation,
Fainter with fear of the fires of the future than pale with the
promise of pride in the past;
Flushed with the famishing fulness of fever that reddens with
radiance of rathe recreation,
Gaunt as the ghastliest of glimpses that gleam through the gloom
of the gloaming when ghosts go aghast?

Nay, for the nick of the tick of the time is a tremulous touch on
the temples of terror,
Strained as the sinews yet strenuous with strife of the dead who
is dumb as the dust-heaps of death;
Surely no soul is it, sweet as the spasm of erotic, emotional,
exquisite error,
Bathed in the balms of beatified bliss, beatific itself by
beatitude's breath.
Surely no spirit or sense of a soul that was soft to the spirit
and soul of our senses
Sweetens the stress of suspiring suspicion that sobs in the
semblance and sound of a sigh;
Only this oracle opens Olympian in mystical moods and triangular tenses, -
"Life is the lust of a lamp for the light that is dark till the dawn
of the day when we die."

Mild is the mirk and monotonous music of memory, melodiously mute
as it may be,
While the hope in the heart of a hero is bruised by the breach of
men's rapiers, resigned to the rod;
Made meek as a mother whose bosom-beats bound with the bliss-bringing
bulk of a balm-breathing baby,
As they grope through the graveyard of creeds under skies growing
green at a groan for the grimness of God.
Blank is the book of his bounty beholden of old, and its binding
is blacker than bluer:
Out of blue into black is the scheme of the skies, and their dews
are the wine of the blood-shed of things;
Till the darkling desire of delight shall be free as a fawn that
is freed from the fangs that pursue her,
Till the heart-beats of hell shall be hushed by a hymn from the
hunt that has harried the kennel of kings.

Algernon Charles Swinburne [1837-1909]

After Heine

Rain on the face of the sea,
Rain on the sodden land,
And the window-pane is blurred with rain
As I watch it, pen in hand.

Mist on the face of the sea,
Mist on the sodden land,
Filling the vales as daylight fails,
And blotting the desolate sand.

Voices from out of the mist,
Calling to one another:
"Hath love an end, thou more than friend,
Thou dearer than ever brother?"

Voices from out of the mist,
Calling and passing away;
But I cannot speak, for my voice is weak,
And.... this is the end of my lay.

Rudyard Kipling [1865-1936]

After Poe

In the lonesome latter years
(Fatal years!)
To the dropping of my tears
Danced the mad and mystic spheres
In a rounded, reeling rune,
'Neath the moon,
To the dripping and the dropping of my tears.
Ah, my soul is swathed in gloom,
In a dim Titanic tomb,
For my gaunt and gloomy soul
Ponders o'er the penal scroll,
O'er the parchment (not a rhyme),
Out of place, - out of time, -
I am shredded, shorn, unshifty,
(Oh, the fifty!)
And the days have passed, the three,
Over me!
And the debit and the credit are as one to him and me!

'Twas the random runes I wrote
At the bottom of the note,
(Wrote and freely
Gave to Greeley)
In the middle of the night,
In the mellow, moonless night,
When the stars were out of sight,
When my pulses, like a knell,
Danced with dim and dying fays,
O'er the ruins of my days,
O'er the dimeless, timeless days,
When the fifty, drawn at thirty,
Seeming thrifty, yet the dirty
Lucre of the market, was the most that I could raise!

Fiends controlled it,
(Let him hold it!)
Devils held me for the inkstand and the pen;
Now the days of grace are o'er,
(Ah, Lenore!)
I am but as other men;
What is time, time, time,
To my rare and runic rhyme,
To my random, reeling rhyme,
By the sands along the shore,
Where the tempest whispers, "Pay him!" and I answer,

Bayard Taylor [1825-1878]

Being The Only Genuine Sequel To "Maud Muller"
After Whittier

Maud Muller all that summer day
Raked the meadow sweet with hay;

Yet, looking down the distant lane,
She hoped the Judge would come again.

But when he came, with smile and bow,
Maud only blushed, and stammered, "Ha-ow?"

And spoke of her "pa," and wondered whether
He'd give consent they should wed together.

Old Muller burst in tears, and then
Begged that the Judge would lend him "ten";

For trade was dull and wages low,
And the "craps," this year, were somewhat slow.

And ere the languid summer died,
Sweet Maud became the Judge's bride.

But on the day that they were mated,
Maud's brother Bob was intoxicated;

And Maud's relations, twelve in all,
Were very drunk at the Judge's hall;

And when the summer came again,
The young bride bore him babies twain;

And the Judge was blest, but thought it strange
That bearing children made such a change.

For Maud grew broad, and red, and stout,
And the waist that his arm once clasped about

Was more than he now could span; and he
Sighed as he pondered, ruefully,

How that which in Maud was native grace
In Mrs. Jenkins was out of place;

And thought of the twins, and wished that they
Looked less like the men who raked the hay

On Muller's farm, and dreamed with pain
Of the day he wandered down the lane.

And, looking down that dreary track,
He half regretted that he came back.

For, had he waited, he might have wed
Some maiden fair and thoroughbred;

For there be women as fair as she,
Whose verbs and nouns do more agree.

Alas for maiden! alas for judge!
And the sentimental, - that's one-half "fudge";

For Maud soon thought the Judge a bore,
With all his learning and all his lore;

And the Judge would have bartered Maud's fair face
For more refinement and social grace.

If, of all words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are, "It might have been,"

More sad are these we daily see:
"It is, but hadn't ought to be."

Bret Harte [1839-1902]

From "The Song of Milkanwatha"

He killed the noble Mudjokivis,
With the skin he made him mittens,
Made them with the fur side inside,
Made them with the skin side outside,
He, to get the warm side inside,
Put the inside skin side outside:
He, to get the cold side outside,
Put the warm side fur side inside:
That's why he put the fur side inside,
Why he put the skin side outside,
Why he turned them inside outside.

George A. Strong [1832-1912]

After Longfellow

They stood on the bridge at midnight,
In a park not far from the town;
They stood on the bridge at midnight,
Because they didn't sit down.

The moon rose o'er the city,
Behind the dark church spire;
The moon rose o'er the city,
And kept on rising higher.

How often, oh! how often
They whispered words so soft;
How often, oh! how often,
How often, oh! how oft.

Ben King [1857-1894]

After Arabella Eugenia Smith

If I should die to-night
And you should come to my cold corpse and say,
Weeping and heartsick o'er my lifeless clay -
If I should die to-night,
And you should come in deepest grief and woe -
And say: "Here's that ten dollars that I owe,"
I might arise in my large white cravat
And say, "What's that?"

If I should die to-night
And you should come to my cold corpse and, kneel,
Clasping my bier to show the grief you feel,
I say, if I should die to-night
And you should come to me, and there and then
Just even hint at paying me that ten,
I might arise the while,
But I'd drop dead again.

Ben King [1857-1894]

Of W. W. (Americanus)

The clear cool note of the cuckoo which has ousted the legitimate
The whistle of the railway guard dispatching the train to the
inevitable collision,
The maiden's monosyllabic reply to a polysyllabic proposal,
The fundamental note of the last trump, which is presumably D natural;
All of these are sounds to rejoice in, yea, to let your very ribs
re-echo with:
But better than all of them is the absolutely last chord of the
apparently inexhaustible pianoforte player.

James Kenneth Stephen [1859-1892]

Inscribed To An Intense Poet

"O crikey, Bill!" she ses to me, she ses.
"Look sharp," ses she, "with them there sossiges.
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!"


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]


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,

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