Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IX. Tragedy: Humor
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IX. Tragedy: Humor.  1904.
Humorous Poems: III. Parodies: Imitations
The Arab
Charles Stuart Calverley (1831–1884)
  ON, on, my brown Arab, away, away!
Thou hast trotted o’er many a mile to-day,
And I trow right meagre hath been thy fare
Since they roused thee at dawn from thy straw-piled lair,
To tread with those echoless, unshod feet        5
Yon weltering flats in the noontide heat,
Where no palm-tree proffers a kindly shade,
And the eye never rests on a cool grass blade;
And lank is thy flank, and thy frequent cough,
O, it goes to my heart—but away, friend, off!        10
  And yet, ah! what sculptor who saw thee stand,
As thou standest now, on thy native strand,
With the wild wind ruffling thine uncombed hair,
And thy nostril upturned to the odorous air,
Would not woo thee to pause, till his skill might trace        15
At leisure the lines of that eager face;
The collarless neck and the coal-black paws
And the bit grasped tight in the massive jaws;
The delicate curve of the legs, that seem
Too slight for their burden—and, O, the gleam        20
Of that eye, so sombre and yet so gay!
Still away, my lithe Arab, once more away!
  Nay, tempt me not, Arab, again to stay;
Since I crave neither Echo nor Fun to-day.
For thy hand is not Echoless—there they are,        25
Fun, Glowworm, and Echo, and Evening Star,
And thou hintest withal that thou fain wouldst shine,
As I read them, these bulgy old boots of mine.
But I shrink from thee, Arab! Thou eatest eel-pie,
Thou evermore hast at least one black eye;        30
There is brass on thy brow, and thy swarthy hues
Are due not to nature, but handling shoes;
And the bit in thy mouth, I regret to see,
Is a bit of tobacco-pipe—Flee, child, flee!

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