Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, GIPSIES, by HORACE SMITH



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GIPSIES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Whether from india's burning plains
Last Line: And both may laugh at fortune.
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Gypsies; Life; Gipsies


WHETHER from India's burning plains,
Or wild Bohemia's domains,
Your steps were first directed;
Or whether ye be Egypt's sons,
Whose stream, like Nile's, for ever runs
With sources undetected:

Arabs of Europe! Gipsy race!
Your Eastern manners, garb, and face,
Appear a strange chimaera;
None, none but you can now be styled
Romantic, picturesque, and wild,
In this prosaic aera.

Ye sole freebooters of the wood,
Since Adam Bell and Robin Hood:
Kept everywhere asunder
From other tribes -- King, Church, and State
Spurning, and only dedicate
To freedom, sloth, and plunder;

Your forest-camp -- the forms one sees
Banditti-like amid the trees,
The ragged donkeys grazing,
The Sybil's eye prophetic, bright
With flashes of the fitful light
Beneath the caldron blazing, --

O'er my young mind strange terrors threw:
Thy History gave me, Moore Carew!
A more exalted notion
Of Gipsy life; nor can I yet
Gaze on your tents, and quite forget
My former deep emotion.

For "auld lang syne" I'll not maltreat
Yon pseudo-tinker, though the cheat,
As sly as thievish Reynard,
Instead of mending kettles, prowls,
To make foul havoc of my fowls,
And decimate my hen-yard.

Come thou, too, black-eyed lass, and try
That potent skill in palmistry,
Which sixpences can wheedle;
Mine is a friendly cottage -- here
No snarling mastiff need you fear,
No Constable or Beadle.

'Tis yours, I know, to draw at will
Upon futurity a bill,
And Plutus to importune; --
Discount the bill -- take half yourself,
Give me the balance of the pelf,
And both may laugh at fortune.





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