Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Twenty-Eight and Twenty-Nine
By Winthrop Mackworth Praed (1802–1839)
“Rien n’est changé, mes amis.”—CHARLES X.

I HEARD a sick man’s dying sigh,
    And an infant’s idle laughter;
The Old Year went with mourning by—
    The New came dancing after!
Let Sorrow shed her lonely tear,        5
    Let Revelry hold her ladle;
Bring boughs of cypress for the bier,
    Fling roses on the cradle;
Mutes to wait on the funeral state;
    Pages to pour the wine:        10
A requiem for Twenty-Eight,
    And a health to Twenty-Nine!
Alas for human happiness!
    Alas for human sorrow!
Our yesterday is nothingness,        15
    What else will be our morrow?
Still Beauty must be stealing hearts,
    And Knavery stealing purses;
Still cooks must live by making tarts,
    And wits by making verses;        20
While sages prate and courts debate,
    The same stars set and shine:
And the world, as it rolled through Twenty-Eight,
    Must roll through Twenty-Nine.
Some king will come, in Heaven’s good time,        25
    To the tomb his father came to;
Some thief will wade through blood and crime
    To a crown he has no claim to;
Some suffering land will rend in twain
    The manacles that bound her,        30
And gather the links of the broken chain
    To fasten them proudly round her;
The grand and great will love and hate,
    And combat and combine:
And much where we were in Twenty-Eight,        35
    We shall be in Twenty-Nine.
O’Connell will toil to raise the Rent,
    And Kenyon to sink the Nation;
And Sheil will abuse the Parliament,
    And Peel the Association;        40
And the thought of bayonets and swords
    Will make ex-chancellors merry;
And jokes will be cut in the House of Lords,
    And throats in the County Kerry;
And writers of weight will speculate        45
    On the Cabinet’s design:
And just what it did in Twenty-Eight
    It will do in Twenty-Nine.
And the Goddess of Love will keep her smiles,
    And the God of Cups his orgies;        50
And there’ll be riots in St. Giles,
    And weddings in St. George’s;
And mendicants will sup like kings,
    And lords will swear like lackeys;
And black eyes oft will lead to rings,        55
    And rings will lead to black eyes;
And pretty Kate will scold her mate,
    In a dialect all divine,—
Alas! they married in Twenty-Eight,
    They will part in Twenty-Nine.        60
And oh! I shall find how, day by day,
    All thoughts and things look older;
How the laugh of Pleasure grows less gay,
    And the heart of Friendship colder;
But still I shall be what I have been,        65
    Sworn foe to Lady Reason,
And seldom troubled with the spleen,
    And fond of talking treason;
I shall buckle my skate, and leap my gate,
    And throw and write my line:        70
And the woman I worshiped in Twenty-Eight
    I shall worship in Twenty-Nine.

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