“I mind me a Tinker, and what once befel,
When I think, on the whole, he was treated not well.
But he shall be honoured, and he shall be famed
If he read me this riddle. But how is he named?
Some commonplace title, like-Simon?-No-Sym!
Go, send out my riders, and scour Gosh for him.”
They rode for a day to the sea in the South,
Calling the name of him, hand to the mouth.
They rode for a day to the hills in the East,
But signs of a tinker saw never the least.
Then they rode to the North thro’ a whole day long,
And paused in the even to hark to a song.
“Kettles and pans! Kettles and pans!
Oh, who can show tresses like Emily Ann’s?
Brown in the shadow and gold at the tips,
Bright as the smile on her beckoning lips.
Bring out your kettle! 0 kettle or pan!
So I buy me a ribband for Emily Ann.”
With his feet in the grass, and his back to a tree,
Merry as only a tinker can be,
Busily tinkering, mending a pan,
Singing as only a merry man can . . .
“Sym!” cried the riders. " ’Tis thus you are styled?”
And he paused in his singing, and nodded and smiled.
Said he: “Last eve, when the sun was low,
Down thro’ the bracken I watched her go—
Down thro’ the bracken, with simple grace—
And the glory of eve shone full on her face;
And there on the sky-line it lingered a span,
So loth to be leaving my Emily Arm.”
With hands to their faces the riders smiled.
“Sym,” they said—“be it so you’re styled—
Behold, great Splosh, our sorrowing King,
Has sent us hither, that we may bring
To the palace in Gosh a Glug so named,
That he may be honoured and justly famed.”
“Yet,” said Sym, as he tinkered his can,
“What should you know of her, Emily Ann?
Early as cock-crow yester morn
I watched young sunbeams, newly born,
As out of the East they frolicked and ran,
Eager to greet her, my Emily Arm.”
“King Splosh,” said the riders, “is
bowed with grief;
And the glory of Gosh is a yellowing leaf.
Up with you, Tinker! There’s work ahead.
With a King forsaken, and Swanks in dread,
To whom may we turn for the salving of man?”
And Sym, he answered them, “Emily Ann.”
Said he: “Whenever I watch her pass,
With her skirts so high o’er the dew-wet grass,
I envy every blade the bruise
It earns in the cause of her twinkling shoes.
Oh, the dew-wet grass, where this morn she ran,
Was doubly jewelled for Emily Ann.”
“But haste!” they cried. “By
the palace gates
A sorrowing king for a tinker waits.
And what shall we answer our Lord the King
If never a tinker hence we bring,
To tinker a kingdom so sore amiss?”
But Sym, he said to them, “Answer him this:
’Every eve, when the clock chimes eight,
I kiss her fair, by her mother’s gate:
Twice, all reverent, on the brow-
Once for a pray’r, and once for a vow;
Twice on her eyes that they may shine,
Then, full on the mouth because she’s mine."’