Sagittulae, Random Verses eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 66 pages of information about Sagittulae, Random Verses.
  Tho’ now the good man looks a trifle sadder,
  When I suggest the ill-omened name of “ladder.” 
  O’er many a pipe our heads we put together;
  Our first enquiry is of course “the weather.” 
  With buoyant hearts the star-lit heaven we view;
  Then our next point is “What are we to ’do’?”
  My pipe I pocket, and with head up-tossed
  My listening followers I thus accost:—­
  “Mont Blanc, we know, is stupid, stale, and slow,
  A tiresome tramp o’er lumps of lifeless snow. 
  The Col du Geant is a trifle worse;
  The Jardin’s fit for babies with their nurse: 
  The Aiguille Verte is more the sort of thing,
  But time has robbed it of its former sting;
  Alone the Dent du Geant and the Dru [1]
  Remain ‘undone,’ and therefore fit to ‘do.’ 
  Remember how I love, my comrades tried,
  To linger on some rocky mountain’s side,
  “Where I can hear the crash of falling stones,
  Threatening destruction to the tourist’s bones! 
  No cadence falls so sweetly on my ear
  As stones discharged from precipices sheer: 
  No sight is half so soothing to my nerves
  As boulders bounding in eccentric curves. 
  If falling stones sufficient be not found,
  Lead me where avalanches most abound. 
  Ye shake your heads; ye talk of home and wife,
  Of babes dependent on the Father’s life. 
  What! still reluctant? let me then make clear
  The duties of the guide and mountaineer;
  Mine is to order, yours is to obey—­
  For you are hirelings, and ’tis I who pay. 
  I’ve heard, indeed, that some old-fashioned Herren,
  Who’ve walked with Almer, Melchior, and Perren,
  Maintain that mountaineering is a pleasure,
  A recreation for our hours of leisure: 
  ‘To be or not to be’ perhaps may matter
  To them, for they may have some brains to scatter;
  But we, I trust, shall take a higher view,
  And make our mountain motto ‘die or do.’ 
  “Nay, hear me out! your scruples well I know: 
  Trust me, not unrewarded shall ye go. 
  If ye succeed, much money will I give,
  And mine unfaltering friendship, while ye live. 
  Nor only thus will I your deeds requite;
  High testimonials in your books I’ll write. 
  Thee, trusty guide, will I much eulogize
  As strong and cautious, diligent and wise,
  Active, unhesitating, cheerful, sure—­
  Nay, almost equal to an Amateur! 
  And thou, my meekest of meek beasts of burden,
  Thou too shalt have thine undisputed guerdon: 
  I’ll do for thee the very best I can,
  And sound thy praise as ‘a good third-rate man.’ 
  But if ye fail, if cannonading stones,
  Or toppling ice-crag, pulverize your bones;
  O happy stroke, that makes immortal heroes
  Of men who, otherwise, would be but zeroes! 
  What tho’ no Alpine horn make music drear
  O’er the lone snow which furnishes your bier;
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Sagittulae, Random Verses from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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