On The Beach
Lines By A Private Tutor.
When the young Augustus Edward
Has reluctantly gone bedward
(He's the urchin I am privileged to teach),
From my left-hand waistcoat pocket
I extract a batter'd locket
And I commune with it, walking on the beach.
I had often yearn'd for something
That would love me, e'en a dumb thing;
But such happiness seem'd always out of reach:
Little boys are off like arrows
With their little spades and barrows,
When they see me bearing down upon the beach;
And although I'm rather handsome,
Tiny babes, when I would dance 'em
On my arm, set up so horrible a screech
That I pitch them to their nurses
With (I fear me) mutter'd curses,
And resume my lucubrations on the beach.
And the rabbits won't come nigh me,
And the gulls observe and fly me,
And I doubt, upon my honour, if a leech
Would stick on me as on others,
And I know if I had brothers
They would cut me when we met upon the beach.
So at last I bought this trinket.
For (although I love to think it)
'Twasn't GIVEN me, with a pretty little speech:
No! I bought it of a pedlar,
Brown and wizen'd as a medlar,
Who was hawking odds and ends about the beach.
But I've managed, very nearly,
To believe that I was dearly
Loved by Somebody, who (blushing like a peach)
Flung it o'er me saying, "Wear it
For my sake" - and I declare, it
Seldom strikes me that I bought it on the beach.
I can see myself revealing
Unsuspected depths of feeling,
As, in tones that half upbraid and half beseech,
I aver with what delight I
Would give anything - my right eye -
For a souvenir of our stroll upon the beach.
O! that eye that never glisten'd
And that voice to which I've listen'd
But in fancy, how I dote upon them each!
How regardless what o'clock it
Is, I pore upon that locket
Which does not contain her portrait, on the beach!
As if something were inside it
I laboriously hide it,
And a rather pretty sermon you might preach
Upon Fantasy, selecting
For your "instance" the affecting
Tale of me and my proceedings on the beach.
I depict her, ah, how charming!
I portray myself alarming
Herby swearing I would "mount the deadly breach,"
Or engage in any scrimmage
For a glimpse of her sweet image,
Or her shadow, or her footprint on the beach.
And I'm ever ever seeing
My imaginary Being,
And I'd rather that my marrowbones should bleach
In the winds, than that a cruel
Fate should snatch from me the jewel
Which I bought for one and sixpence on the beach.
Charles Stuart Calverley
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