Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ARCADES AMBO, by CHARLES STUART CALVERLEY

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ARCADES AMBO, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Why are ye wandering aye 'twixt porch and porch
Last Line: And gaze, and gazing think, how base a thing am I.
Subject(s): Burlington Arcade, London

WHY are ye wandering aye 'twixt porch and porch,
Thou and thy fellow -- when the pale stars fade
At dawn, and when the glowworm lights her torch,
O Beadle of the Burlington Arcade?
-- Who asketh why the Beautiful was made?
A wan cloud drifting o'er the waste of blue,
The thistledown that floats above the glade,
The lilac-blooms of April -- fair to view,
And naught but fair are these; and such, I ween, are you.

Yes, ye are beautiful. The young street boys
Joy in your beauty. Are ye there to bar
Their pathway to that paradise of toys,
Ribbons and rings? Who'll blame ye if ye are?
Surely no shrill and clattering crowd should mar
The dim aisle's stillness, where in noon's midglow
Trip fair-hair'd girls to boot-shop or bazaar;
Where, at soft eve, serenely to and fro
The sweet boy-graduates walk, nor deem the pastime slow.

And O! forgive me, Beadles, if I paid
Scant tribute to your worth, when first ye stood
Before me robed in broadcloth and brocade
And all the nameless grace of Beadlehood!
I would not smile at ye -- if smile I could
Now as erewhile, ere I had learn'd to sigh:
Ah, no! I know ye beautiful and good,
And evermore will pause as I pass by,
And gaze, and gazing think, how base a thing am I.

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