Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE NIGHT MAIL NORTH (EUSTON SQUARE, 1840), by HENRY CHOLMONDELEY-PENNELL



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THE NIGHT MAIL NORTH (EUSTON SQUARE, 1840), by            
First Line: Now then, take your seats! For glasgow and the north
Last Line: For the night .. Mail .. To the north?
Alternate Author Name(s): Pennell, Henry Cholmondeley
Subject(s): Postal Service; Railroad Stations; Postmen; Post Office; Mail; Mailmen


Now then, take your seats! for Glasgow and the North;
Chester! -- Carlisle! -- Holyhead, -- and the wild Firth of Forth,
'Clap on the steam and sharp's the word,
You men in scarlet cloth: -

'Are there any more pas .. sengers,
For the Night .. Mail .. to the North!'

Are there any more passengers?
Yes three -- but they can't get in, --
Too late, too late! - How they bellow and knock,
They might as well try to soften a rock
As the heart of that fellow in green.

For the Night Mail North? what ho --
No use to struggle, you can't get through,
My young and lusty one --
Whither away from the gorgeous town? --

'For the lake and the stream and the heather brown,
And the double-barrelled gun!'

For the Night Mail North, I say? --
You, with the eager eyes --
You with the haggard face and pale? --

'From a ruined hearth and a starving brood,
A Crime and a felon's gaol!

For the Night Mail North, old man?
Old statue of despair --
Why tug and strain at the iron gate?
My Daughter!!'

Ha! too late, too late,
She is gone, you may safely swear;
She has given you the slip, d' you hear?
She has left you alone in your wrath, --
And she's off and away, with a glorious start,
To the home of her choice, with the man of her heart,
By the Night Mail North!

Wh----ish, R----ush,
Wh----ish, R----ush . . .
'What's all that hullabaloo?
Keep fast the gates there - who is this?
That insists on bursting through?'
A desperate man whom none may withstand,
For look, there is something clenched in his hand --
Though the bearer is ready to drop --
He waves it wildly to and fro,
And hark! how the crowd are shouting below --
'Back!' --
And back the opposing barriers go,
'A reprieve for the Canongate murderer, Ho!
In the Queen's name --
STOP.'

'Another has confessed the crime.'

Whish -- rush -- whish -- rush . . .

The Guard has caught the fluttering sheet,
Now forward and northward! fierce and fleet,
Through the mist and the dark were in it;
'Tis a splendid race! a race against Time, --
And a thousand to one we win it:

Look at those flitting ghosts --
The white-armed finger-posts --
If we're moving the eighth of an inch, I say,
We're going a mile a minute!
A mile a minute - for life or death --
Away, away! though it catches one's breath,
The man shall not die in his wrath:
The quivering carriages rock and reel --
Hurrah! for the rush of the grinding steel!
The thundering crank, and the mighty wheel!

Are there any more pass . . sengers
For the Night .. Mail .. to the North?





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