Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VII. Descriptive: Narrative
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VII. Descriptive: Narrative.  1904.
Descriptive Poems: II. Nature and Art
Cousin Lucrece
Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833–1908)
HERE where the curfew
    Still, they say, rings,
Time rested long ago,
    Folding his wings;
Here, on old Norwich’s        5
    Out-along road,
Cousin Lucretia
    Had her abode.
Norridge, not Nor-wich
    (See Mother Goose),        10
Good enough English
    For a song’s use.
Side and roof shingled,
    All of a piece,
Here was the cottage        15
    Of Cousin Lucrece.
Living forlornly
    On nothing a year,
How she took comfort
    Does not appear;        20
How kept her body,
    On what they gave,
Out of the poor-house,
    Out of the grave.
Highly connected?        25
    Straight as the Nile
Down from “the Gard’ners”
    Of Gardiner’s Isle;
(Three bugles, chevron gules,
    Hand upon sword),        30
    Of the third lord.
Bent almost double,
    Deaf as a witch,
Gout her chief trouble—        35
    Just as if rich;
Vain of her ancestry,
    Mouth all agrin,
Nose half-way meeting her
    Sky-pointed chin.        40
Ducking her forehead-top,
    Wrinkled and bare,
With a colonial
    Furbelowed air
Greeting her next of kin,        45
    Nephew and niece,—
Foolish old, prating old
    Cousin Lucrece.
Once every year she had
    All she could eat:        50
Turkey and cranberries,
    Pudding and sweet;
Every Thanksgiving,
    Up to the great
House of her kinsman, was        55
    Driven in state.
Oh, what a sight to see
    Rigged in her best!
Wearing the famous gown
    Drawn from her chest,—        60
Worn, ere King George’s reign
    Here chanced to cease,
Once by a forbear
    Of Cousin Lucrece.
Damask brocaded,        65
    Cut very low;
Short sleeves and finger-mitts
    Fit for a show;
Palsied neck shaking her
    Rust-yellow curls        70
Rattling its roundabout
    String of mock pearls.
Over her noddle,
    Draggled and stark,
Two ostrich feathers—        75
    Brought from the ark.
Shoes of frayed satin,
    All heel and toe,
On her poor crippled feet
    Hobbled below.        80
My! how the Justice’s
    Sons and their wives
Laughed; while the little folk
    Ran for their lives,
Asking if beldames        85
    Out of the past,
Old fairy godmothers,
    Always could last?
No! One Thanksgiving,
    Bitterly cold,        90
After they took her home
    (Ever so old),
In her great chair she sank,
    There to find peace;
Died in her ancient dress—        95
    Poor old Lucrece.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.