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Poem by Frederick Locker-Lampson
“Fragile creations of still frailer man, That men outlast, Though to eternity, from whence he came, The scribe be past. O there are tongues within these dry brown leaves That speak as Autumns do; They cry of death and sorrow, To me—to you.” Mr George Thornbury. Old letters! wipe away the tear, And gaze upon these pale mementoes, A pilgrim finds his journal here Since first he took to walk on ten toes. Yes, here are scrawls from Clapham Rise, Do mothers still their school-boys pamper? O, how I hated Doctor Wise! O, how I lov’d a well-fill’d hamper! How strange to commune with the Dead— Dead joys, dead loves, and wishes thwarted: Here’s cruel proof of friendships fled, And sad enough of friends departed. And here’s the offer that I wrote In ’33 to Lucy Diver; And here John Wylie’s begging note— He never paid me back a stiver. And here my feud with Major Spike, Our bet about the French Invasion; On looking back I acted like A donkey upon that occasion. And here a letter from “the Row,”— How mad I was when first I learnt it! They would not take my Book, and now I’d give a trifle to have burnt it. And here a heap of notes, at last, With “love” and “dove,” and “sever” “never”— Though hope, though passion may be past, Their perfume is as sweet as ever. A human heart should beat for two, Whatever say your single scorners, And all the hearths I ever knew Had got a pair of chimney corners. See here a double violet— Two locks of hair—a deal of scandal: I’ll burn what only brings regret— Go, Betty, fetch a lighted candle.
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