Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
 
III. Adversity
The Pauper’s Drive
Thomas Noel (1799–1861)
 
THERE ’s a grim one-horse hearse in a jolly round trot,—
To the churchyard a pauper is going, I wot;
The road it is rough, and the hearse has no springs;
And hark to the dirge which the mad driver sings;
  Rattle his bones over the stones!        5
  He ’s only a pauper whom nobody owns!
 
O, where are the mourners? Alas! there are none,
He has left not a gap in the world, now he ’s gone,—
Not a tear in the eye of child, woman, or man;
To the grave with his carcass as fast as you can:        10
  Rattle his bones over the stones!
  He ’s only a pauper whom nobody owns!
 
What a jolting and creaking and splashing and din!
The whip, how it cracks! and the wheels, how they spin!
How the dirt, right and left, o’er the hedges is hurled!        15
The pauper at length makes a noise in the world!
  Rattle his bones over the stones!
  He ’s only a pauper whom nobody owns!
 
Poor pauper defunct! he has made some approach
To gentility, now that he ’s stretched in a coach!        20
He ’s taking a drive in his carriage at last!
But it will not be long, if he goes on so fast:
  Rattle his bones over the stones!
  He ’s only a pauper whom nobody owns!
 
You bumpkins! who stare at your brother conveyed,        25
Behold what respect to a cloddy is paid!
And be joyful to think, when by death you ’re laid low,
You ’ve a chance to the grave like a gemman to go!
  Rattle his bones over the stones!
  He ’s only a pauper whom nobody owns!        30
 
But a truce to this strain; for my soul it is sad,
To think that a heart in humanity clad
Should make, like the brute, such a desolate end,
And depart from the light without leaving a friend!
  Bear soft his bones over the stones!        35
  Though a pauper, he ’s one whom his Maker yet owns!
 
 
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