Charles Stuart Calverley

Voices Of The Night

'The tender Grace of a day that is past.'

The dew is on the roses,
The owl hath spread her wing;
And vocal are the noses
Of peasant and of king:
'Nature' (in short) 'reposes;'
But I do no such thing.

Pent in my lonesome study
Here I must sit and muse;
Sit till the morn grows ruddy,
Till, rising with the dews,
'Jeameses' remove the muddy
Spots from their masters' shoes.

Yet are sweet faces flinging
Their witchery o'er me here:
I hear sweet voices singing
A song as soft, as clear,
As (previously to stinging)
A gnat sings round one's ear.

Does Grace draw young Apollos
In blue mustachios still?
Does Emma tell the swallows
How she will pipe and trill,
When, some fine day, she follows
Those birds to the window-sill?

And oh! has Albert faded
From Grace's memory yet?
Albert, whose 'brow was shaded
By locks of glossiest jet,'
Whom almost any lady'd
Have given her eyes to get?

Does not her conscience smite her
For one who hourly pines,
Thinking her bright eyes brighter
Than any star that shines -
I mean of course the writer
Of these pathetic lines?

Who knows? As quoth Sir Walter,
'Time rolls his ceaseless course:
'The Grace of yore' may alter -
And then, I've one resource:
I'll invest in a bran-new halter,
And I'll perish without remorse. 

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