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Charles Stuart Calverley

Read not Milton, for he is dry; nor Shakespeare, for he wrote of common life.

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I cannot sing the old songs now! It is not that I deem them low, 'Tis that I can't remember how They go.

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I know you've been married to the same woman for 69 years. That is marvellous. It must be very inexpensive.

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Peace. A Study

He stood, a worn-out City clerk —
Who'd toil'd, and seen no holiday,
For forty years from dawn to dark —
Alone beside Caermarthen Bay.
He felt the salt spray on his lips;
Heard children's voices on the sands;
Up the sun's path he saw the ships
Sail on and on to other lands;
And laugh'd aloud. Each sight and sound
To him was joy too deep for tears;
He sat him on the beach, and bound
A blue bandana round his ears
And thought how, posted near his door,
His own green door on Camden Hill,
Two bands at least, most likely more,
Were mingling at their own sweet will
Verdi with Vance. And at the thought
He laugh'd again, and softly drew
That Morning Herald that he'd bought
Forth from his breast, and read it through.

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Lines Suggested By The Fourteenth Of February - II

Darkness succeeds to twilight:
Through lattice and through skylight
The stars no doubt, if one looked out,
Might be observed to shine:
And sitting by the embers
I elevate my members
On a stray chair, and then and there
Commence a Valentine.

Yea! by St. Valentinus,
Emma shall not be minus
What all young ladies, whate'er their grade is,
Expect to-day no doubt:
Emma the fair, the stately -
Whom I beheld so lately,
Smiling beneath the snow-white wreath
Which told that she was 'out.'

Wherefore fly to her, swallow,
And mention that I'd 'follow,'

[...] Read more

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Ode To Tobacco

Thou, who when fears attack
Bidst them avaunt, and Black
Care, at the horseman's back
Perching, unseatest;
Sweet when the morn is gray;
Sweet when they've cleared away
Lunch; and at close of day
Possibly sweetest!

I have a liking old
For thee, though manifold
Stories, I know, are told
Not to thy credit:
How one (or two at most)
Drops make a cat a ghost,—
Useless, except to roast—
Doctors have said it;

How they who use fusees
All grow by slow degrees

[...] Read more

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Lines Suggested By The Fourteenth Of February - I

Ere the morn the East has crimsoned,
When the stars are twinkling there,
(As they did in Watts's Hymns, and
Made him wonder what they were
When the forest-nymphs are beading
Fern and flower with silvery dew -
My infallible proceeding
Is to wake, and think of you.

When the hunter's ringing bugle
Sounds farewell to field and copse,
And I sit before my frugal
Meal of gravy-soup and chops:
When (as Gray remarks) 'the moping
Owl doth to the moon complain,'
And the hour suggests eloping -
Fly my thoughts to you again.

May my dreams be granted never?
Must I aye endure affliction

[...] Read more

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A, B, C.

A is an Angel of blushing eighteen:
B is the Ball where the Angel was seen:
C is her Chaperone, who cheated at cards:
D is the Deuxtemps, with Frank of the Guards:
E is the Eye which those dark lashes cover:
F is the Fan it peeped wickedly over:
G is the Glove of superlative kid:
H is the Hand which it spitefully hid:
I is the Ice which spent nature demanded:
J is the Juvenile who hurried to hand it:
K is the Kerchief, a rare work of art:
L is the Lace which composed the chief part.
M is the old Maid who watch'd the girls dance:
N is the Nose she turned up at each glance:
O is the Olga (just then in its prime):
P is the Partner who wouldn't keep time:
Q 's a Quadrille, put instead of the Lancers:
R the Remonstrances made by the dancers:
S is the Supper, where all went in pairs:
T is the Twaddle they talked on the stairs:

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Forever

"Forever": 'tis a single word!
Our rude forefathers deemed it two:
Can you imagine so absurd
A view?

"Forever"! What abysms of woe
The word reveals, what frenzy, what
Despair! "For ever" (printed so)
Did not.

It looks, ah me! how trite and tame!
It fails to sadden or appal
Or solace--it is not the same
At all.

O thou to whom it first occurred
To solder the disjoined, and dower
The native language with a word
Of power:

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Changed

1 I know not why my soul is rack'd:
2 Why I ne'er smile as was my wont:
3 I only know that, as a fact,
4 I don't.
5 I used to roam o'er glen and glade
6 Buoyant and blithe as other folk:
7 And not unfrequently I made
8 A joke.

9 A minstrel's fire within me burn'd.
10 I'd sing, as one whose heart must break,
11 Lay upon lay: I nearly learn'd
12 To shake.
13 All day I sang; of love, of fame,
14 Of fights our fathers fought of yore,
15 Until the thing almost became
16 A bore.

17 I cannot sing the old songs now!
18 It is not that I deem then low;

[...] Read more

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