Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
By Charles Stuart Calverley (1831–1884)
AS o’er the hill we roam’d at will,
  My dog and I together,
We mark’d a chaise, by two bright bays
  Slow-moved along the heather:
Two bays arch neck’d, with tails erect        5
  And gold upon their blinkers;
And by their side an ass I spied;
  It was a travelling tinker’s.
The chaise went by, nor aught cared I;
  Such things are not in my way:        10
I turn’d me to the tinker, who
  Was loafing down a by-way:
I ask’d him where he lived—a stare
  Was all I got in answer,
As on he trudged: I rightly judged        15
  The stare said, “Where I can, sir.”
I ask’d him if he’d take a whiff
  Of ’bacco; he acceded;
He grew communicative too,
  (A pipe was all he needed,)        20
Till of the tinker’s life, I think,
  I knew as much as he did.
    “I loiter down by thorp and town;
      For any job I’m willing;
    Take here and there a dusty brown,        25
      And here and there a shilling.
    “I deal in every ware in turn,
      I’ve rings for buddin’ Sally
    That sparkle like those eyes of her’n,
      I’ve liquor for the valet.        30
    “I steal from th’ parson’s strawberry-plots,
      I hide by th’ squire’s covers;
    I teach the sweet young housemaids what’s
      The art of trapping lovers.
    “The things I’ve done ’neath moon and stars        35
      Have got me into messes:
    I’ve seen the sky through prison bars,
      I’ve torn up prison dresses:
    “I’ve sat, I’ve sigh’d, I’ve gloom’d, I’ve glanced
      With envy at the swallows        40
    That through the window slid, and danced
      (Quite happy) round the gallows;
    “But out again I come, and show
      My face nor care a stiver,
    For trades are brisk and trades are slow,        45
      But mine goes on for ever.”
Thus on he prattled like a babbling brook.
Then I, “The sun hath slipt behind the hill,
And my aunt Vivian dines at half-past six.”
So in all love we parted; I to the Hall,        50
They to the village. It was noised next noon
That chickens had been miss’d at Syllabub Farm.

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