Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
The Merry-Go-Round
 
Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel (1834–94)
 
 
THE MERRY-GO-ROUND, the merry-go-round, the merry-go-round at Fowey!
They whirl around, they gallop around, man, woman, and girl, and boy;
They circle on wooden horses, white, black, brown, and bay,
To a loud monotonous tune that hath a trumpet bray.
All is dark where the circus stands on the narrow quay,        5
Save for its own yellow lamps, that illumine it brilliantly:
Painted purple and red, it pours a broad strong glow
Over an old-world house, with a pillar’d place below;
For the floor of the building rests on bandy columns small,
And the bulging pile may, tottering, suddenly bury all.        10
But there upon wooden benches, hunch’d in the summer night,
Sit wrinkled sires of the village arow, whose hair is white;
They sit like the mummies of men, with a glare upon them cast
From a rushing flame of the living, like their own mad past;
They are watching the merry-make, and their face is very grave;        15
Over all are the silent stars! beyond, the cold gray wave.
And while I gaze on the galloping horses circling round,
The men caracoling up and down to a weird, monotonous sound,
I pass into a bewilderment, and marvel why they go;
It seems the earth revolving, with our vain to and fro!        20
For the young may be glad and eager, but some ride listlessly,
And the old look on with a weary, dull, and lifeless eye;
I know that in an hour the fair will all be gone,
Stars shining over a dreary void, the Deep have sound alone.
I gaze with orb suffus’d at human things that fly,        25
And I am lost in the wonder of our dim destiny….
The merry-go-round, the merry-go-round, the merry-go-round at Fowey!
They whirl around, they gallop around, man, woman, and girl, and boy.
 

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