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Poem by Charles Stuart Calverley

There Stands A City


Year by year do Beauty's daughters,
In the sweetest gloves and shawls,
Troop to taste the Chattenham waters,
And adorn the Chattenham balls.

'Nulla non donanda lauru'
Is that city: you could not,
Placing England's map before you,
Light on a more favoured spot.

If no clear translucent river
Winds 'neath willow-shaded paths,
'Children and adults' may shiver
All day in 'Chalybeate baths:'

If 'the inimitable Fechter'
Never brings the gallery down,
Constantly 'the Great Protector'
There 'rejects the British crown:'

And on every side the painter
Looks on wooded vale and plain
And on fair hills, faint and fainter
Outlined as they near the main.

There I met with him, my chosen
Friend--the 'long' but not 'stern swell,' {15a}
Faultless in his hats and hosen,
Whom the Johnian lawns know well:-

Oh my comrade, ever valued!
Still I see your festive face;
Hear you humming of 'the gal you'd
Left behind' in massive bass:

See you sit with that composure
On the eeliest of hacks,
That the novice would suppose your
Manly limbs encased in wax:

Or anon,--when evening lent her
Tranquil light to hill and vale, -
Urge, towards the table's centre,
With unerring hand, the squail.

Ah delectablest of summers!
How my heart--that 'muffled drum'
Which ignores the aid of drummers -
Beats, as back thy memories come!

Oh, among the dancers peerless,
Fleet of foot, and soft of eye!
Need I say to you that cheerless
Must my days be till I die?

At my side she mashed the fragrant
Strawberry; lashes soft as silk
Drooped o'er saddened eyes, when vagrant
Gnats sought watery graves in milk:

Then we danced, we walked together;
Talked--no doubt on trivial topics;
Such as Blondin, or the weather,
Which 'recalled us to the tropics.'

But--oh! in the deuxtemps peerless,
Fleet of foot, and soft of eye! -
Once more I repeat, that cheerless
Shall my days be till I die.

And the lean and hungry raven,
As he picks my bones, will start
To observe 'M. N.' engraven
Neatly on my blighted heart. 

Charles Stuart Calverley

Charles Stuart Calverley's other poems:
  1. Ode to Tobacco
  2. A, B, C.
  3. Peace. A Study
  4. Lovers And A Reflection
  5. Visions

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