Charles Stuart Calverley

(22 December 1831 – 17 February 1884 / Martley, Worchestershire)

Companions - A Tale Of A Grandfather


I KNOW not of what we ponder’d
Or made pretty pretence to talk,
As, her hand within mine, we wander’d
Tow’rd the pool by the lime-tree walk,
While the dew fell in showers from the passion flowers
And the blush-rose bent on her stalk.

I cannot recall her figure:
Was it regal as Juno’s own?
Or only a trifle bigger
Than the elves who surround the throne
Of the Faëry Queen, and are seen, I ween,
By mortals in dreams alone?

What her eyes were like I know not:
Perhaps they were blurr’d with tears;
And perhaps in you skies there glow not
(On the contrary) clearer spheres.
No! as to her eyes I am just as wise
As you or the cat, my dears.

Her teeth, I presume, were “pearly:”
But which was she, brunette or blonde?
Her hair, was it quaintly curly,
Or as straight as a beadle’s wand?
That I fail’d to remark: it was rather dark
And shadowy round the pond.

Then the hand that repos’d so snugly
In mine,—was it plump or spare?
Was the countenance fair or ugly?
Nay, children, you have me there!
My eyes were p’haps blurr’d; and besides I ’d heard
That it ’s horribly rude to stare.

And I,—was I brusque and surly?
Or oppressively bland and fond?
Was I partial to rising early?
Or why did we twain abscond,
When nobody knew, from the public view
To prowl by a misty pond?

What pass’d, what was felt or spoken,—
Whether anything pass’d at all,—
And whether the heart was broken
That beat under that shelt’ring shawl,—
(If shawl she had on, which I doubt),—has gone,
Yes, gone from me past recall.

Was I haply the lady’s suitor?
Or her uncle? I can’t make out;
Ask your governess, dears, or tutor.
For myself, I ’m in hopeless doubt
As to why we were there, who on earth we were,
And what this is all about.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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