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a web of many textures

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I sing a heel-tap. Not the like of what,
When midnight wrapt the earth, did erst
Wake maddened echoes in the throngless streets,
And Charleys twirled their rattles all in vain,
That dissonance did make 'mongst walls reverberate;
Nor like to those which made familiar paths
Most labyrinthine in their winding way,
And key-holes mystical and treacherous,
Evading all approach from midnight keys;
Nor like to those which laid the malty knight
Among the porcine tenants of the sty,
Who, when assailed by snout inquisitive,
Did cry, “Leave tucking up, and come to bed!”
Not such as these — ah, greater bootee mine;
A heel-tap it, of most unquestioned shape,
That lately bore upon the happy pave
The fairer half of man's duality,
Tapping sweet music on the insensate bricks!
O, blissful heel-tap, such a weight to bear!
O, blissful bricks, did ye but know your bliss!
O, muse of mine, which this fair tap hath tapped,
And made to trickle in harmonious streams,
Giving, in fairest measure, soul for sole!
I found thee pronely resting on the pave,
A lacerated sole — and many feet did tread
Unheeding by thee, nor did deign a glance
Of pity on thy upturned pleading pegs.
No Levite I to go the other side,
But sympathizing I essay to heel.
I clasp thee to my heart, e'en though thy pegs
Should gnaw my flesh with their protruding teeth.
What wert thou? Say, did some slight girlish step
Patter its leathery tattoo by thy aid,


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Till sensitiveness ached to hear its note?
Or did some matron press thee with a weight
That made thy lot a burden hard to bear?
Wert thou a-shopping bent, or churchward bound,
Or aiding charity along her way,
Or bearing scholarhood to learning's halls?
No answer — well, my heart gives the reply,
And pictures all your silence would conceal.
Ah! she was lovely as the month of May —
The glorious month of melody and bloom —
That poets prate about, with noses red,
Sitting by furnaces of Lehigh coal;
Her eyes were blue as heaven's cerulean deeps;
Her hair the sort with which Dan Cupid weaves
The sweetest, strongest, prettiest true-love knots;
Her mouth like strawberries, though by far more sweet;
Her teeth more pearly than those patent ones
That Cummings shows up there in Tremont Row;
Her neck, than swan's more graceful (not the Swan
Who makes new school-books for the growing age,
And forms the firm of Hickling, Swan and Brewer);
Her form the embodied type of human grace,
That it were madness e'er to wish to clasp,
But which I 'd worship, like a far-off star,
And bow in adoration 'neath its beams!
No more! Imagination faints to draw,
And reason whispers in the other ear —
The sinister — through whose weak portals pass
All words of ill, and all vile slanderous things —
What if this goddess you have drawn were BLACK?”