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Fly Leaves   By: (1831-1884)

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Fly Leaves, by C. S. Calverley


Morning Evening Shelter In the Gloaming The Palace Peace a study The Arab Lines on Hearing the Organ Changed First Love Wanderers Sad Memories Companions Ballad Precious Stones Disaster Contentment The Schoolmaster Arcades Ambo Waiting Play Love Thoughts at a Railway Station On the Brink "Forever" Under the Trees Motherhood Mystery Flight On the Beach Lovers, and a Reflection The Cock and the Bull An Examination Paper


'Tis the hour when white horsed Day Chases Night her mares away; When the Gates of Dawn (they say) Phobus opes: And I gather that the Queen May be uniformly seen, Should the weather be serene, On the slopes.

When the ploughman, as he goes Leathern gaitered o'er the snows, From his hat and from his nose Knocks the ice; And the panes are frosted o'er, And the lawn is crisp and hoar, As has been observed before Once or twice.

When arrayed in breastplate red Sings the robin, for his bread, On the elmtree that hath shed Every leaf; While, within, the frost benumbs The still sleepy schoolboy's thumbs, And in consequence his sums Come to grief.

But when breakfast time hath come, And he's crunching crust and crumb, He'll no longer look a glum Little dunce; But be brisk as bees that settle On a summer rose's petal: Wherefore, Polly, put the kettle On at once.


Kate! if e'er thy light foot lingers On the lawn, when up the fells Steals the Dark, and fairy fingers Close unseen the pimpernels: When, his thighs with sweetness laden, From the meadow comes the bee, And the lover and the maiden Stand beneath the trysting tree:

Lingers on, till stars unnumber'd Tremble in the breeze swept tarn, And the bat that all day slumber'd Flits about the lonely barn; And the shapes that shrink from garish Noon are peopling cairn and lea; And thy sire is almost bearish If kept waiting for his tea:

And the screech owl scares the peasant As he skirts some churchyard drear; And the goblins whisper pleasant Tales in Miss Rossetti's ear; Importuning her in strangest, Sweetest tones to buy their fruits: O be careful that thou changest, On returning home, thy boots.


By the wide lake's margin I mark'd her lie The wide, weird lake where the alders sigh A young fair thing, with a shy, soft eye; And I deem'd that her thoughts had flown To her home, and her brethren, and sisters dear, As she lay there watching the dark, deep mere, All motionless, all alone.

Then I heard a noise, as of men and boys, And a boisterous troop drew nigh. Whither now will retreat those fairy feet? Where hide till the storm pass by? One glance the wild glance of a hunted thing She cast behind her; she gave one spring; And there follow'd a splash and a broadening ring On the lake where the alders sigh.

She had gone from the ken of ungentle men! Yet scarce did I mourn for that; For I knew she was safe in her own home then, And, the danger past, would appear again, For she was a water rat.


In the Gloaming to be roaming, where the crested waves are foaming, And the shy mermaidens combing locks that ripple to their feet; When the Gloaming is, I never made the ghost of an endeavour To discover but whatever were the hour, it would be sweet.

"To their feet," I say, for Leech's sketch indisputably teaches That the mermaids of our beaches do not end in ugly tails, Nor have homes among the corals; but are shod with neat balmorals, An arrangement no one quarrels with, as many might with scales.

Sweet to roam beneath a shady cliff, of course with some young lady, Lalage, Neaera, Haidee, or Elaine, or Mary Ann: Love, you dear delusive dream, you! Very sweet your victims deem you, When, heard only by the seamew, they talk all the stuff one can.

Sweet to haste, a licensed lover, to Miss Pinkerton the glover, Having managed to discover what is dear Neaera's "size": P'raps to touch that wrist so slender, as your tiny gift you tender, And to read you're no offender, in those laughing hazel eyes... Continue reading book >>

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