A mild parochial talk was ours;
The air of the afternoon was sweet
With burthen of the sun-parched flowers;
His fiery beams in fury beat
From out the O of space, and made,
Wherever leaves his glare let through,
Circlets of brilliance in the shade
Of his unfathomable blue.
Old Dr. Salmon sat pensive and grey,
And Archie’s tongue was never still,
While dear Miss Arbuthnot fanned away
The stress of walking up the hill.
And little Bertha—how bony a cheek!
How ghast an eye! Poor mite . . . That pause—
When not even tactful tongues could speak! . . .
The drowsy Cat pushed out her claws.
A bland, demulcent talk was ours—
Sharing that gentle gilded cage—
Manners and morals its two brief hours
Proffered alike to youth and age.
Shatter that dulcet truce? Forfend!
Why on such sweetness and light intrude?
Why bid the child, “Cough, ‘Ah!’”—and end
Our complaisance; her solitude?