Fly Leaves eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 55 pages of information about Fly Leaves.


On, on, my brown Arab, away, away! 
Thou hast trotted o’er many a mile to-day,
And I trow right meagre hath been thy fare
Since they roused thee at dawn from thy straw-piled lair,
To tread with those echoless unshod feet
Yon weltering flats in the noontide heat,
Where no palmtree proffers a kindly shade
And the eye never rests on a cool grass blade;
And lank is thy flank, and thy frequent cough
Oh! it goes to my heart—­but away, friend, off!

And yet, ah! what sculptor who saw thee stand,
As thou standest now, on thy Native Strand,
With the wild wind ruffling thine uncomb’d hair,
And thy nostril upturn’d to the od’rous air,
Would not woo thee to pause till his skill might trace
At leisure the lines of that eager face;
The collarless neck and the coal-black paws
And the bit grasp’d tight in the massive jaws;
The delicate curve of the legs, that seem
Too slight for their burden—­and, O, the gleam
Of that eye, so sombre and yet so gay! 
Still away, my lithe Arab, once more away!

Nay, tempt me not, Arab, again to stay;
Since I crave neither Echo nor Fun to-day. 
For thy hand is not Echoless—­there they are
Fun, Glowworm, and Echo, and Evening Star: 
And thou hintest withal that thou fain would’st shine,
As I con them, these bulgy old boots of mine. 
But I shrink from thee, Arab!  Thou eat’st eel-pie,
Thou evermore hast at least one black eye;
There is brass on thy brow, and thy swarthy hues
Are due not to nature but handling shoes;
And the hit in thy mouth, I regret to see,
Is a bit of tobacco-pipe—­Flee, child, flee!


Grinder, who serenely grindest
   At my door the Hundredth Psalm,
Till thou ultimately findest
   Pence in thy unwashen palm: 

Grinder, jocund-hearted Grinder,
   Near whom Barbary’s nimble son,
Poised with skill upon his hinder
   Paws, accepts the proffered bun: 

Dearly do I love thy grinding;
   Joy to meet thee on thy road
Where thou prowlest through the blinding
   Dust with that stupendous load,

’Neath the baleful star of Sirius,
   When the postmen slowlier jog,
And the ox becomes delirious,
   And the muzzle decks the dog.

Tell me by what art thou bindest
   On thy feet those ancient shoon: 
Tell me, Grinder, if thou grindest
   Always, always out of tune.

Tell me if, as thou art buckling
   On thy straps with eager claws,
Thou forecastest, inly chuckling,
   All the rage that thou wilt cause.

Tell me if at all thou mindest
   When folks flee, as if on wings,
From thee as at ease thou grindest: 
   Tell me fifty thousand things.

Grinder, gentle-hearted Grinder! 
   Ruffians who led evil lives,
Soothed by thy sweet strains, are kinder
   To their bullocks and their wives: 

Project Gutenberg
Fly Leaves from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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