He stood, a worn-out City clerk --
Who'd toil'd, and seen no holiday,
For forty years from dawn to dark --
Alone beside Caermarthen Bay.
"Forever": 'tis a single word!
Our rude forefathers deemed it two:
Can you imagine so absurd
Some vast amount of years ago,
Ere all my youth had vanished from me,
A boy it was my lot to know,
Whom his familiar friends called Tommy.
Farewell, farewell! Before our prow
Leaps in white foam the noisy channel,
A tourist's cap is on my brow,
My legs are cased in tourists' flannel:
1 Canst thou love me, lady?
2 I've not learn'd to woo:
3 Thou art on the shady
4 Side of sixty too.
The auld wife sat at her ivied door,
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
In those old days which poets say were golden --
(Perhaps they laid the gilding on themselves:
And, if they did, I'm all the more beholden
To those brown dwellers in my dusty shelves,
She stood at Greenwich, motionless amid
The ever-shifting crowd of passengers.
White is the wold, and ghostly
The dank and leafless trees;
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,