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Poem by Charles Stuart Calverley


'She was a phantom,' &c.

In lone Glenartney's thickets lies couched the lordly stag,
The dreaming terrier's tail forgets its customary wag;
And plodding ploughmen's weary steps insensibly grow quicker,
As broadening casements light them on towards home, or home-brewed liquor.

It is (in fact) the evening--that pure and pleasant time,
When stars break into splendour, and poets into rhyme;
When in the glass of Memory the forms of loved ones shine -
And when, of course, Miss Goodchild's is prominent in mine.

Miss Goodchild!--Julia Goodchild!--how graciously you smiled
Upon my childish passion once, yourself a fair-haired child:
When I was (no doubt) profiting by Dr. Crabb's instruction,
And sent those streaky lollipops home for your fairy suction!

'She wore' her natural 'roses, the night when first we met' -
Her golden hair was gleaming 'neath the coercive net:
'Her brow was like the snawdrift,' her step was like Queen Mab's,
And gone was instantly the heart of every boy at Crabb's.

The parlour-boarder chasseed tow'rds her on graceful limb;
The onyx decked his bosom--but her smiles were not for him:
With ME she danced--till drowsily her eyes 'began to blink,'
And _I_ brought raisin wine, and said, 'Drink, pretty creature, drink!'

And evermore, when winter comes in his garb of snows,
And the returning schoolboy is told how fast he grows;
Shall I--with that soft hand in mine--enact ideal Lancers,
And dream I hear demure remarks, and make impassioned answers:-

I know that never, never may her love for me return -
At night I muse upon the fact with undisguised concern -
But ever shall I bless that day: (I don't bless, as a rule,
The days I spent at 'Dr. Crabb's Preparatory School.')

And yet--we two MAY meet again--(Be still, my throbbing heart!) -
Now rolling years have weaned us from jam and raspberry tart:-
One night I saw a vision--'Twas when musk-roses bloom
I stood--WE stood--upon a rug, in a sumptuous dining-room:

One hand clasped hers--one easily reposed upon my hip -
And 'BLESS YE!' burst abruptly from Mr. Goodchild's lip:
I raised my brimming eye, and saw in hers an answering gleam -
My heart beat wildly--and I woke, and lo! it was a dream. 

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. On The Brink

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