Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1466. The Song of the Turnkey
By Harry Bache Smith

      IN the darkness deep
      Of the donjon-keep,
Where the spiders spin their strands;
      In the home of bats
      And of old gray rats,        5
Are my lord the turnkey’s lands.
      O, his task is light,
      But from morn till night
On his rounds he needs must go.
      It is tramp, tramp, tramp,        10
      With his keys and lamp,
In the corridors down below.
      Then it ’s ho! ho! ho!
I am king of the donjon deep.
There is music of bolt and chain        15
In the turnkey’s dark domain.
How merrily jingle the chains that cling!
How cheerily tinkle the keys that swing!
I am king—king—king of the donjon-keep!

      Though the ravens scream
      From the gallows beam,
It is little heed he takes;
      And a song he roars
      Through the corridors,
As his watchful round he makes.        25
      None are false to him
      In his kingdom grim,
For their monarch never sleeps.
      O, there ’s none dare say
      To the turnkey nay;        30
He is king of the donjon deeps.
      Then it ’s ho! ho! ho! etc.


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