To a Candle
Burn stilly, thou; and come with me;
I’ll screen thy radiance.—Look, and see Where, like a flower furled,
Sealed from this anxious world,
Tranquil brow, and lid, and lip,
One I love lies here asleep.
Resting on her pillow is A head of such strange loveliness—
Gilded-brown, unwoven hair—
Dread springs up to see it there,
Lest so profound a trance should be Death’s momentary alchemy.
Venture closer, then.
Thy light Be little day to this small night;
Fretting through her lids it makes The lashes stir on those pure cheeks.
The parted, silent lips, it seems,
Pine, but in vain, to tell her dreams.
Every curve and hollow shows In faintest shadow, mouth and nose.
Pulsing beneath the silken skin The milk-blue blood rills out and in;
A bird’s might be that slender bone—
Magic itself to ponder on!
Time hath spread its nets in vain;
The child she was is home again;
Veiled with sleep’s seraphic grace—
How innocent and wise a face I Mutely entreating, it seems to sigh, “Love made me.
It is only I.
“Love made this house wherein there dwells A thing divine, but homeless else;
Not mine the need to question why In this sweet prison I exult and sigh;
Not mine to bid you hence.
God knows It was for joy he shaped the rose.”
Lo, she stirs.
A hand at rest Slips from above that gentle breast,
White as winter-mounded snows,
Summer-sweet as that wild rose.
Thou lovely thing! Ah, welladay,
Come, come away!
Folded hands and darkened eyes—
Here one loved too well now lies: What her name was,
Thou could’st not say, how fair!
Well, here’s to a Tinker—
A rascally Tinker—
Here’s to a Tinker died yesterday e’en;
Who never did worse Than tipple and curse,
And now is, forsooth, where much better men been.
Lord, he could chaffer!
Could beat down a half a
Dozen old women with tongues like a mill;
Such bargains be driving
He made fatter living
Than any Lord Bishop with sermons to sell.
His whetstone a-spinning
He’d set folk a-grinning
At stories you wouldn’t for parlourfolk keep;
Blunt knives and old kettles
Kept his belly in victuals
And for drink—not a monarch has pockets so deep.
So, here’s to a Tinker,
A raggle-taggle Tinker,
Who expired in his cups midnight yesterday gone,
And I give you fair warning
He’ll sleep sound till morning
Where old Clootie will find him some jobs to be done.