William Bell Scott

(1811-1890 / Scotland)

Music - Poem by William Bell Scott

Listless the silent ladies sit
About the room so gaily lit;
Madame Ions likes the cups or tray,
But thinks it scarce enough to say:
Mistress Cox is gone astray
To the night-light in her own nursery,
Wonders if little Maude was led
Without long coaxing into bed:
Miss Jemima Applewhite,
On a low stool by the fire,
Concentrates her confused desire,—
Perhaps will do so all the night,
On an unused rhyme for ‘scan,’
And can but find the stiff word man:
Miss Temple pets the little hound,
That has a tendency to whine,
To-night its cushion can't be found;
And wonders when they'll leave the wine
Few take, but which men still combine
To linger over when they dine.

Indeed a frightful interval!
Madame Ions wants her game,
Or she must have her usual wink;
But now satiric Bertha Stahl
Jumps upon the music-stool,
And breaks into a sportive flame;
But what of all things do you think
She plays, that laughter-loving fool?
The funeral march, Dead March of Saul!

Oh, Lord of Hosts! their mailéd tread,
Bearing along the mailéd dead,
Makes me bow my stubborn head.
Never underneath the sun
Will this heart-fathoming march be done;
Still, Lord of Hosts! to thee we cry,
When our great ones, loved ones, die,
Still some grand lament we crave,
When we descend into the grave.

I turn, afraid that I may weep,—
Jemima's pestered wits still ran
After the unused rhyme for ‘scan,’
Dear old Ions was asleep.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010



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