Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CHARADES: 1, by CHARLES STUART CALVERLEY



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CHARADES: 1, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: She stood at greenwich, motionless amid
Last Line: "remarked, ""by jove, a bird!"
Subject(s): Travel; Journeys; Trips


SHE stood at Greenwich, motionless amid
The ever-shifting crowd of passengers.
I mark'd a big tear quivering on the lid
Of her deep-lustrous eye, and knew that hers
Were days of bitterness. But, "Oh! what stirs,"
I said, "such storm within so fair a breast?"
Even as I spoke, two apoplectic curs
Came feebly up: with one wild cry she prest
Each singly to her heart, and faltered, "Heaven be blest!"

Yet once again I saw her, from the deck
Of a black ship that steamed towards Blackwall.
She walked upon my first. Her stately neck
Bent o'er an object shrouded in her shawl:
I could not see the tears -- the glad tears -- fall,
Yet knew they fell. And "Ah," I said, "not puppies,
Seen unexpectedly, could lift the pall
From hearts who know what tasting misery's cup is
As Niobe's, or mine, or blighted William Guppy's."

Spake John Grogblossom the coachman to Eliza Spinks the cook:
"Mrs. Spinks," says he, "I've founder'd: 'Liza dear, I'm overtook.
Druv into a corner reglar, puzzled as a babe unborn;
Speak the word, my blessed 'Liza; speak, and John the coachman's yourn."
Then Eliza Spinks made answer, blushing, to the coachman John:
"John, I'm born and bred a spinster: I've begun and I'll go on.
Endless cares and endless worrits, well I knows it, has a wife:
Cooking for a genteel family, John, it's a goluptious life!

"I gets 20 pounds per annum -- tea and things o'course not reckoned, --
There's a cat that eats the butter, takes the coals, and breaks my second:
There's soci'ty -- James the footman; -- (not that I look after him;
But he's aff'ble in his manners, with amazing length of limb;) --

"Never durst the missis enter here until I've said 'Come in':
If I saw the master peeping, I'd catch up the rolling-pin.
Christmas-boxes, that's a something; perkisites, that's something too;
And I think, take all together, John, I won't be on with you."

John the coachman took his hat up, for he thought he'd had enough;
Rubb'd an elongated forehead with a meditative cuff;
Paused before the stable doorway; said, when there, in accents mild,
"She's a fine young 'oman, cook is; but that's where it is, she's spiled."

I have read in some not marvellous tale,
(Or if I have not, I've dreamed)
Of one who filled up the convivial cup
Till the company round him seemed

To be vanished and gone, tho' the lamps upon
Their face as aforetime gleamed:
And his head sunk down, and a Lethe crept
O'er his powerful brain, and the young man slept.

Then they laid him with care in his moonlit bed:
But first -- having thoughtfully fetched some tar --
Adorn'd him with feathers, aware that the weather's
Uncertainty brings on at nights catarrh.

They staid in his room till the sun was high:
But still did the feathered one give no sign
Of opening a peeper -- he might be a sleeper
Such as rests on the Northern or Midland line.

At last he woke, and with profound
Bewilderment he gazed around;
Dropped one, then both feet to the ground,
But never spake a word:

Then to my whole he made his way;
Took one long lingering survey;
And softly, as he stole away,
Remarked, "By Jove, a bird!"





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