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Poem by Margaret Chalmers
Verses on the Jubilee Night at Lerwick
WHEN public occasions of general joy Give patriots a jovial night; When loyalty reigns, and "Illumine's" the word, And Lerwick, all sparkling, shines bright, Our good friend and neighbour, old Neptune, keeps watch, To see how we mean to behave; Keeps his mind to himself, never saying a word, But peeps out now and then through a wave. Then pleas'd to see Britons with true British hearts, And determin'd he'll not be behind; For each taper we light, lights a thousand with speed, Is not Neptune, our friend, very kind? But on the late ev'ning devoted to joy, Which yet animates every heart; And to young and to old, to rich and to poor, Did true loyal pleasure impart, He some how or other had pick'd up a hint, That Queen Cynthia intended to pay Congratulings , and in regalia so bright, As would teach night to vie with the day. Neptune said, with the gallantry of a true tar, He was glad she intended to grace The joyous occasion, and with a low bow, To the lady politely gave place. To politeness, frugality quickly succeeds, That Virtue he also must show; "Sure, you good folks of Lerwick can never expect "Help both from above and below. " 'Twere lighting the candle at both ends," he said, "And I no such example will give; "Besides, with the lady who means to display, "I no interference will have." So reserving his tapers till next happy time, If Cynthia no help should afford; Said, on his assistance we then might depend, And he'll prove nothing worse than his word. Then to Sea-Nymphs and Nereids, and that sort of folk, He gave orders, that close they should keep Each billow and wave; nay, that not a stray breeze Should ruffle the face of the deep. For he said, he was eager this mark of respect To great George and Britannia to pay; And hop'd, they'd depend he would favour their right, Whenever it fell in his way. Then said, he'd a mirror to Cynthia present, In which she might view her fair face; For ladies to see themselves love, when they're dress'd And adorn'd with every grace. And, lo! all in silver she made her entrée, I own she assisted the show; Yet something self-confident hung on her mien, As she laugh'd at our twinkling below. Which I thought very hard, we were joyful as she, And though not so splendidly drest; Yet, with tapers and rockets and bonfires around, I'm sure we were doing our best. For Neptune, good fellow, though blust'ring he's kind, And at heart he our welfare doth wish; He favours our vessels, and give him his due, No ****rd is he of his fish. Though, when in bad humour, he gives us a growl, We should study his temper to hit; And being near neighbours, we therefore should stoop, The buffet to take with the bit . I dont much approve of Queen Cynthia's plan, At one time she's showing away; At another, and often when needed the most, Quite sullen withdraws ev'ry ray. If she take it in head, she deserts on a night When a bright illumination's decreed; Then to work goes friend Neptune, quick trimming his lamps, And proves himself friend in our need.
Margaret Chalmers's other poems:
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