The old priest Peter Gilligan
Was weary night and day
For half his flock were in their beds
Or under green sods lay.
Once, while he nodded in a chair
At the moth-hour of the eve
Another poor man sent for him,
And he began to grieve.
This is the tale that was told to me by the man with the crystal eye,
As I smoked my pipe in the camp-fire light, and the Glories swept the sky;
As the Northlights gleamed and curved and streamed, and the bottle of "hooch" was dry.
A man once aimed that my life be shamed, and wrought me a deathly wrong;
I vowed one day I would well repay, but the heft of his hate was strong.
He thonged me East and he thonged me West; he harried me back and forth,
Till I fled in fright from his peerless spite to the bleak, bald-headed North.
And there I lay, and for many a day I hatched plan after plan,
Ha' we lost the goodliest fere o' all
For the priests and the gallows tree?
Aye lover he was of brawny men,
O' ships and the open sea.
When they came wi' a host to take Our Man
His smile was good to see,
"First let these go!" quo' our Goodly Fere,
"Or I'll see ye damned," says he.
A Conversation Poem, April, 1798
No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
Distinguishes the West, no long thin slip
Of sullen light, no obscure trembling hues.
Come, we will rest on this old mossy bridge!
You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
But hear no murmuring: it flows silently.
O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still.
A balmy night! and though the stars be dim,
They spoke of Progress spiring round,
Of light and Mrs Humphrey Ward--
It is not true to say I frowned,
Or ran about the room and roared;
I might have simply sat and snored--
I rose politely in the club
And said, 'I feel a little bored;
Will someone take me to a pub?'
The new world's wisest did surround
Long-long ago, as the ballad recalls,
In the castle with ivy woven in walls,
Under dark velvet skies, in the eye of the Moon
With sweet-scented fragrance blue roses bloomed.
Dare not to come close to the sharp spikes of white
For vermilion potion is kept in inside.
In those azure bushes, with hearts in a hand
A couple of lovers had found their end.
This story is ancient, as old as can be,
But the roses bore it for you and for me...
Two knights rode forth at early dawn
A-seeking maids to wed,
Said one, "My lady must be fair,
With gold hair on her head."
Then spake the other knight-at-arms:
"I care not for her face,
But she I love must be a dove
For purity and grace."
C. T. W.
Sometime trooper of the Royal Horse Guards
obiit H.M. prison, Reading, Berkshire
July 7, 1896)
He did not wear his scarlet coat,
For blood and wine are red,
TO get betimes in Boston town, I rose this morning early;
Here's a good place at the corner--I must stand and see the show.
Clear the way there, Jonathan!
Way for the President's marshal! Way for the government cannon!
Way for the Federal foot and dragoons--and the apparitions copiously
I love to look on the stars and stripes--I hope the fifes will play
The first flower of the spring is not so fair
Or bright, as one the ripe midsummer brings.
The first faint note the forest warbler sings
Is not as rich with feeling, or so rare
As when, full master of his art, the air
Drowns in the liquid sea of song he flings
Like silver spray from beak, and breast, and wings.
The artist's earliest effort wrought with care,
The bard's first ballad, written in his tears,
Set by his later toil seems poor and tame.