Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BURIED CITIES; FATHER CHARLES, by WILLIAM ALLEN BUTLER



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BURIED CITIES; FATHER CHARLES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: No paler monk than father charles, and none so gaunt or lean
Last Line: With thirty buried cities upon his reverend pate.
Subject(s): Aging; Cities; Clergy; Death; Monks; Urban Life; Priests; Rabbis; Ministers; Bishops; Dead, The


NO paler monk than Father Charles, and none so gaunt or lean,
Since monks in academic air or cloister walls were seen;
The ravages of fatal war saw many dear ones fall,
But he in peace and at our side, seemed nearer death than all.
An ice-cold hand was his, drear omen of decay!
The best of brandy, hottest baths, drove not that chill away;
We used to have nice dishes cooked to tempt his appetite,
And many a damsel made him cake, his palate to invite;
But all in vain, his feeble shape kindred to death appeared,
Beyond comparison he failed, his eye grew wild and bleared.
After his daily nap, less strength and less he got;
'Twas not advancing age, no, all his years had not
Rent one dark hair from off his brow, or with maturing gray,
Spreading his tonsured crown, worn his thick locks away;
But memory bleeds to think how suddenly he died—
His neck when we fell on, "Do not this thing," he cried,
"To duty constant, I no pleasure ever loved,
Can't one poor mortal thus a real saint be proved?"
His spirit, loth to quit, oft flickered ere it fled,
At last his pulse met Zero, and Father Charles was dead.
He had a monster funeral, the Queen's Town Clerk came down,
Ordered the bells to toll and over all the town
They rang, both old and new; burgher and magistrate
Came crowding where in old St. John's his body lay in state
With THIRTY BURIED CITIES upon his reverend pate.




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