Play, ay in the crowded highway:
Was it not made for you? Yea, my lad, yea.
True that the babes you were bid to convey
Home may fall out or be stolen or stray;
True that the tip-cat you toss about may
Strike an old gentleman, cause him to sway,
Stumble, and p’raps be run o’er by a dray:
Still why delay? Play, my son, play!
Barclay and Perkins, not you, have to pay.
Play, play, your sonatas in A,
Heedless of what your next neighbour may say!
Dance and be gay as a faun or a fay,
Sing like the lad in the boat on the bay;
Sing, play—if your neighbours inveigh
Feebly against you, they’re lunatics, eh?
Bang, twang, clatter and clang,
Strum, thrum, upon fiddle and drum;
Neigh, bray, simply obey
All your sweet impulses, stop not or stay!
Rattle the “bones,” hit a tinbottom’d tray
Hard with the fireshovel, hammer away!
Is not your neighbour your natural prey?
Should he confound you, it’s only in play.
Canst thou love me, lady?
I’ve not learn’d to woo:
Thou art on the shady
Side of sixty too.
Still I love thee dearly!
Thou hast lands and pelf:
But I love thee merely
Merely for thyself.
Wilt thou love me, fairest?
Though thou art not fair;
And I think thou wearest
Thou could’st love, though, dearly:
And, as I am told,
Thou art very nearly
Worth thy weight, in gold.
Dost thou love me, sweet one?
Tell me that thou dost!
Women fairly beat one,
But I think thou must.
Thou art loved so dearly:
I am plain, but then
Thou (to speak sincerely)
Art as plain again.
Love me, bashful fairy!
I’ve an empty purse:
And I’ve “moods,” which vary;
Mostly for the worse.
Still, I love thee dearly:
Though I make (I feel)
Love a little queerly,
I’m as true as steel.
Love me, swear to love me
(As, you know, they do)
By yon heaven above me
And its changeless blue.
Love me, lady, dearly,
If you’ll be so good;
Though I don’t see clearly
On what ground you should.
Love me—ah or love me
Not, but be my bride!
Do not simply shove me
(So to speak) aside!
P’raps it would be dearly
Purchased at the price;
But a hundred yearly
Would be very nice.
’Tis but a box, of modest deal;
Directed to no matter where:
Yet down my cheek the teardrops steal —
Yes, I am blubbering like a seal;
For on it is this mute appeal,
I am a stern cold man, and range
Apart: but those vague words “With care”
Wake yearnings in me sweet as strange:
Drawn from my moral Moated Grange,
I feel I rather like the change