Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CHARADES: 2, by CHARLES STUART CALVERLEY



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CHARADES: 2, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: If you've seen a short man swagger tow'rds the footlights at shoreditch
Last Line: Then return, and, clear of conscience, walk into thy well-earned steak.


IF you've seen a short man swagger tow'rds the footlights at Shoreditch,
Sing out "Heave aho! my hearties," and perpetually hitch
Up, by an ingenious movement, trousers innocent of brace,
Briskly flourishing a cudgel in his pleased companion's face;

If he preluded with hornpipes each successive thing he did,
From a sun-browned cheek extracting still an ostentatious quid;
And expectorated freely, and occasionally cursed: --
Then have you beheld, depicted by a master's hand, my first.

O my countryman! if ever from thy arm the bolster sped,
In thy school-days, with precision at a young companion's head;
If 'twas thine to lodge the marble in the centre of the ring,
Or with well-directed pebble make the sitting hen take wing:

Then do thou -- each fair May morning, when the blue lake is as glass,
And the gossamers are twinkling star-like in the beaded grass;
When the mountain-bee is sipping fragrance from the bluebell's lip,
And the bathing-woman tells you, "Now's your time to take a dip":

When along the misty valleys fieldward winds the lowing herd,
And the early worm is being dropped on by the early bird;
And Aurora hangs her jewels from the bending rose's cup,
And the myriad voice of Nature calls thee to my second up: --

Hie thee to the breezy common, where the melancholy goose
Stalks, and the astonished donkey finds that he is really loose;
There amid green fern and furze-bush shalt thou soon my whole behold,
Rising "bull-eyed and majestic" -- as Olympus' queen of old:

Kneel, -- at a respectful distance, -- as they kneeled to her, and try
With judicious hand to put a ball into that ball-less eye:
Till a stiffness seize thy elbows, and the general public wake --
Then return, and, clear of conscience, walk into thy well-earned steak.





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