Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MYSTERIOUS GUEST, by FOWLER BRADNACK



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THE MYSTERIOUS GUEST, by            
First Line: Twas night; the clock had just struck ten
Last Line: "and just unscrew my head."


'Twas night; the clock had just struck ten
When, with a mighty din,
The stage-coach halted at the door
Of Smith's hotel in Lynn;
An inside passenger got out,
Who straight went in the inn.

His portly figure was enwrapped
In overcoat of shag,
While one hand grasped a traveling trunk,
The other held a bag;
And in the twinkle of his eye
You recognized a wag.

"Waiter," he cried, "show me a room,
I'm tired and travel-sore."
The waiter showed him to a room
Upon the second floor.
"Just stay a moment," said the man, --
The waiter closed the door.

"You see," observed the traveler,
'Ere I can take a doze,
I'll have to ask a little help
In getting off my clothes.
For I'm a trifle crippled,
And can't pull off my hose.

"All right," replied the waiter,
Who was a generous elf,
"I pities any man," said he,
As can't undress himself
I'll very soon unrig you, sir,
And lay you on the shelf."

"'Tis well," resumed the traveler,
Who dropped into a chair,
"First, hang my wig upon yon peg
(And he took off his hair),
I'm like a case of glass, said he,
And must be touched with care."

And as he spoke, he ope'd his mouth,
As though it were a trap,
And thrust his fingers in the hole --
The waiter heard a snap,
And out there rolled two sets of teeth,
And fell into his lap.

"Now, waiter, just unscrew my arm,
But don't look so alarmed;
I'm helpless as a sailing ship,
Upon a sea becalmed;
And when my arms you've taken off
You'll see that I am disarmed."

The waiter, in astonishment,
Upon the traveler gazed,
He thought so strange a stranger
Must certainly be crazed;
But when he saw the arm come off
He was still more amazed,

And seemed inclined to go away;
"A moment more, I beg,"
Cried out the waggish traveler,
"Help me unstrap my leg;"
The waiter's hair began to rise
As he pulled off the peg.

"As sheep in summer," said the man,
Rejoice to lose their fleeces,
So when I doff my limbs at night
My happiness increases;
Because I cannot rest in peace
Unless I rest in pieces."

Then he apostrophized his limbs
In strange soliloquy:
"Alas!" said he, "one's in the earth,
The other's in the sea;
But though I will remember them,
They can't remember me.

Now, bring me here that looking-glass,
And I'll take out my eye;
Although I am not a party man,
A man of parts am I."
And as he uttered this joke
He laughed as if he'd die.

The waiter's hair now stood on end,
He trembled with affright;
"Surely," thought he, no mortal eyes
Ever saw so strange a sight
But the man of fractions sat
And laughed with all his might.

"Now lay my fragments in that box
Where they'll be out of sight;
Be careful not to drop the eye,
And mind the teeth don't bite.
My limbs go on my trunk by day,
And in my trunk by night."

Buy fear held fast the waiter,
He merely stood and stared;
To see such sad appalling sights
He hadn't come prepared.
While the traveler only laughed the more
To see the man so scared.

And putting on a serious look,
In solemn accents said,
"There's one thing more to do,
Before I get in bed;
Steady yourself against the wall,
And just unscrew my head."





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