’Then, pot or glass,
why label it “With Care”?
Or why your Sheepskin with my Gourd compare?
Lo! here the Bar and I the only Judge:—
O, Dog that bit me, I exact an hair!’
We are the Sum of things,
who jot our score
With Caesar’s clay behind the Tavern door:
And Alexander’s armies—where are they,
But gone to Pot—that Pot you push for more?
And this same Jug I
empty, could it speak,
Might whisper that itself had been a Beak
And dealt me Fourteen Days ’without the Op.’—
Your Worship, see, my lip is on your cheek.
Yourself condemned to
three score years and ten,
Say, did you judge the ways of other men?
Why, now, sir, you are hourly filled with wine,
And has the clay more licence now than then?
Life is a draught, good
sir; its brevity
Gives you and me our measures, and thereby
Has docked your virtue to a tankard’s span,
And left of my criterion—a Cri’!
After C. S. C.
When the hunter-star
(Or, it may be, Charles his Wain)
Tempts the tiny elves to try on
All their little tricks again;
When the earth is calmly breathing
Draughts of slumber undefiled,
And the sire, unused to teething,
Seeks for errant pins his child;
When the moon is on
And our little sons and heirs
From a natural emotion
Wish the luminary theirs;
Then a feeling hard to stifle,
Even harder to define,
Makes me feel I ’d give a trifle
For the days of Auld Lang Syne.
we have been as brothers
(Are, to speak correctly, twins),
Went about in one another’s
Clothing, bore each other’s sins,
Rose together, ere the pearly
Tint of morn had left the heaven,
And retired (absurdly early)
Simultaneously at seven—
James, the days of yore
Sweet to climb for alien pears
Till the irritated peasant
Came and took us unawares;
Sweet to devastate his chickens,
As the ambush’d catapult
Scattered, and the very dickens
Was the natural result;
Sweet to snare the thoughtless
Break the next-door neighbour’s pane;
Cultivate the smoker’s habit
On the not-innocuous cane;
Leave the exercise unwritten;
Morning school, to plunge the kitten
In his bath, the water-butt.