Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LINES ON HEARING THE ORGAN, by CHARLES STUART CALVERLEY



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LINES ON HEARING THE ORGAN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Grinder, who serenely grindest / at my door the hundreth psalm
Last Line: For encomium, as a change.
Subject(s): Organ-grinders; Hurdy-gurdy Men


Grinder, who serenely grindest
At my door the Hundredth Psalm,
Till thou ultimately findest
Pence in thy unwashen palm:
Grinder, jocund hearted Grinder,
Near whom Barbary's nimble son,
Poised with skill upon his hinder
Paws, accepts the proffered bun:
Dearly do I love thy grinding;
Joy to meet thee on thy road
Where thou prowlest through the blinding
Dust with that stupendous load,
'Neath the baleful star of Sirius,
When the postmen slowlier jog,
And the ox becomes delirious,
And the muzzle decks the dog.
Tell my by what art thou bindest
On thy feet those ancient shoon:
Tell me, Grinder, if thou grindest
Always, always out of tune.
Tell me if, as thou art buckling
On thy straps with eager claws,
Thou forecastest, inly chuckling,
All the rage that thou wilt cause.
Tell me if at all thou mindest
When folks flee, as if on wings,
From thee as at ease thou grindest:
Tell me fifty thousand things.
Grinder, gentle-hearted Grinder!
Ruffians who led evil lives,
Soothed by thy sweet strains, are kinder
To their bullocks and their wives:
Children, when they see thy supple
Form approach, are out like shots;
Half-a-bar sets several couple
Waltzing in convenient spots;
Not with clumsy Jacks or Georges:
Unprofaned by grasp of man
Maidens speed those simple orgies,
Betsey Jane with Betsey Ann.
As they love thee in St Giles's
Thou art loved in Grosvenor Square:
None of those engaging smiles is
Unreciprocated there.
Often, ere yet thou hast hammer'd
Through thy four delicious airs,
Coins are flung thee by enamour'd
Housemaids upon area stairs:
E'en the ambrosial-whisker'd flunkey
Eyes thy boots and thine unkempt
Beard and melancholy monkey
More in pity than contempt.
Far from England, in the sunny
South, where Anio leaps in foam,
Thou wast rear'd, till lack of money
Drew thee from thy vineclad home:
And thy mate, the sinewy Jocko,
From Brazil or Afric came,
Land of simoom and sirocco --
And he seems extremely tame.
There he quaff'd the undefiled
Spring, or hung with apelike glee,
By his teeth or tail or eyelid,
To the slippery mango-tree:
There he woo'd and won a dusky
Bride, of instincts like his own;
Talk'd of love till he was husky
In a tongue to us unknown:
Side by side 'twas theirs to ravage
The potato ground, or cut
Down the unsuspecting savage
With the well-aim'd cocoa-nut: --
Till the miscreant Stranger tore him
Screaming from his blue-faced fair;
And they flung strange raiment o'er him,
Raiment which he could not bear:
Sever'd from the pure embraces
Of his children and his spouse,
He must ride fantastic races
Mounted on reluctant sows:
But the heart of wistful Jocko
Still was with his ancient flame
In the nutgroves of Morocco;
Or if not it's all the same.
Grinder, winsome grinsome Grinder!
They who see thee and whose soul
Melts not at thy charms, are blinder
Than a trebly-bandaged mole:
They to whom thy curt (yet clever)
Talk, thy music and thine ape,
Seem not to be joys for ever,
Are but brutes in human shape.
'Tis not that thy mien is stately,
'Tis not that thy tones are soft;
'Tis not that I care so greatly
For the same thing played so oft:
But I've heard mankind abuse thee;
And perhaps it's rather strange,
But I thought that I would choose thee
For encomium, as a change.





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