The Minstrel A Collection of Poems

Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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It was the time of year when cockneys fly
From town to country, and from there to town.
I am not sure, but think it was July;
I would not swear it was, nor bet a crown,
When, as I told you, cockneys hurry down
In two hours' railway journey far away,
And rush to places of immense renown,
Bright with the thoughts of coming holiday,
Full well determined to enjoy it while they may.


They were the days when all who care to wander
O'er the rude mountain or the fertile plain,
Must snatch the chance, and rush here, there and yonder,
And pack their baggage off by early train,
To rest the busy over-anxious brain,
And take to interests altogether new.
Some tear to Italy, and some to Spain,
For beneficial air and change of view;
What everybody does that I must also do.


The sun was scorching, and the streets were dusty,—
Suburban roadways generally are,—
And everything seemed disagreeably “fusty,”
Merely because there was no watering car.
It was the weather when we feel at war
With all around and everyone we meet;
Old dames complained of aches unknown before,
Unused to battle with such dreadful heat,
Such truly fearful spasms, and such blistered feet.


The 'buses went by clockwork by the appearance;
Th' exalted driver, usually so deft,
Resented, in his doze, the interference
Of any one poor fellow-suff'rer left;
Of all his strength and energy bereft,
The weary horse dragged listlessly along,
And there appeared to be no effort left
In the sleepy trilling of the songster's song,
Which to the small suburban gardens did belong.


Now the slow music of the organ-grinder
Smites the ear feebly at the noon of day,
He doffs his hat, as if for a reminder,
To those who wish him far enough away;
And noisy babes at variance and play
Join in the jangle of the grocery vendor,
And butcher boys have lots and lots to say
To fair domestics, who their hearts surrender
To, if not a butcher boy, a kettle mender.


But more especially I would direct
Your kind attention, reader, to a square
In that locality, tho' more select,
So thither now together we'll repair.
A bold and lofty tenement stands there
With flight of steps and massive portico,
Where dwelt three daughters infinitely fair;
Their age of course I'm notsupposedto know,
'Twas very rude I own to raise the question so.


But as you all seem anxious to discover
Their years, their fortune, and the gods know what;
To hear if each or all had found a lover,
If one engaged or if they all were not,
How many aunts and uncles they had got,
Their nic-nacs of domestic life beside,
Your indignation would be somewhat hot
If th' information were to be denied,
And since you'll have it so, the truth I will not hide.


You know most ladies have some slight objection,
Some strange objection which they always raise,
And arm themselves as if for the protection
Of the sweet sanctum of their earlier days,
Toward those who flatteringly speak their praise
And ask in special confidence their years,
Who pass the time in fifty pleasant ways
And designate them “charms” and “pretty dears,”
Beset with all those unimaginable fears...!