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The Cock was of a larger egg
Than modern poultry drop, Stept forward on a firmer leg.
And crammed a plumper crop; Upon an ampler dunghill trod,
Crowed lustier, late and early, Sipt wine from silver, praising God,
And raked in golden barley.
A private life was all his joy,
Till in a court he saw
That knuckled at the taw:
Flew over roof and casement: His brothers of the weather stood
Stock-still for sheer amazement.
But he, by farmstead, thorpe and spire,
And followed with acclaims,
Came crowing over Thames.
Till, where the street grows straiter,
And one became head-waiter.
* # * *
But whither would my fancy go?
How out of place she makes The violet of a legend blow
Among the chops and steaks! 'Tis but a steward of the can,
One shade more plump than common; As just and mere a serving-man
As any, born of woman.
1 ranged too high: what draws me down Into-the common day?
Is it the weight of that half-crown,
For, something duller than at first,
I sit, (my empty glass reversed,)
Half-fearful that, with self at strife,
I take myself to task:
I leave an empty flask:
To prove myself a poet; But, while I plan and plan, my hair
Is gray before I know it.
So fares it since the years began,
Till they be gathered up; The truth that flies the flowing can,
Will haunt the vacant cup: And others' follies teach us not,
Nor much their wisdom teaches; And most, of sterling worth, is what
Our own experience preaches.
Ah! let the rusty theme alone!
We know not what we know.
'Tis gone, and let it go.
Away from my embraces, • And fallen into the dusty crypt
Of darkened forms and faces.
Go, therefore, thou! thy betters went
With peals of genial clamor sent
With twisted quirks and happy hits,
The tavern-hours of mighty wits—
Hours, when the Poet's words and looks
Had yet their native glow:
Had made him talk for show;
He flashed his random speeches;
His literary leeches.
So mix forever with the past,
Like all good things on earth!
At half thy real worth?
With time I will not quarrel:
That makes me maudlin-moral.
Head-waiter of the chop-house here,
To which I most resort,
For this good pint of port.
Marrow of mirth and laughter; And, wheresoe'er thou move, good luck
Shall fling her old shoe after.
But thou wilt never move from hence.
The sphere thy fate allots:
Go down among the pots:
In haunts of hungry sinners,
Of thirty thousand dinners.
We fret, we fume, would shift our skins,
Would quarrel with our lot;
To serve the hot-and-hot;
Returning like the pewit,
That trifle with the cruet.
Live long, ere from thy topmost head
The thick-set hazel dies;
The corners of thine eyes;
Our changeful equinoxes,
Shall call thee from the boxes.
But when he calls, and thou shalt cease
To pace the gritted floor,
Of life, shalt earn no more:
Shall show thee past to Heaven; But carved cross-pipes, and, underneath,
A pint-pot, neatly graven.
It was the time when lilies blow,
Lord Ronald brought a lily-white doe
I trow they did not part in scorn:
They two will wed the morrow morn;
"He does not love me for my birth,
He loves me for my own true worth,
In there came old Alice the nurse,
Said, " Who was this that went from thee?"
"It was my cousin," said Lady Clare, "To-morrow he weds with me."
"O God be thanked!" said Alice the nurse, "That all comes round so just and fair:
Lord Ronald is heir of all your lands,
"Are ye out of your mind, my nurse, my nurse?"
Said Lady Clare, "that ye speak so wild?" "As God's above," said Alice the nurse,
"I speak the truth: you are my child.
"The old Earl's daughter died at my breast;
I speak the truth as I live by bread! I buried her like my own sweet child,
And put my child in her stead."
"Falsely, falsely have ye done,
0 mother," she said, " if this be true,
To keep the best man under the sun
"Nay now, my child," said Alice the nurse, "But keep the secret for your life,
And all you have will be Lord Ronald's,
"If I'm a beggar born," she said,
Pull off, pull off the brooch of gold,