University of Virginia Library


While yet the bayonets flashed along
And all was silent save the drum,


Then first it was I chanced to note
Some rose-leaves fluttering off in air,
While on my lap lay wilted ones.
Ah, Rose, that should not bloom outlast
Now leaf by leaf art leaving me?
But here anew the lad broke in:—
“Lo, the King's men
They go marching!
O, the instep
Haughty arching!—
Live the King!
“What's the grin for—
Queer grimacing?
Who, yon grenadiers
Here dare sing
Live the King?”
But there, a comely wine-wife plump,
A bustling motherly good body
Who all along in fidgety sort
Concern had shown, and tried her way
To push up to this imp satiric,
Got next him now, and clapping hand
Across his mouth, she whispered him.
He heard; then, turning toward the throng,
“She says, Young chick come down a peg,
Nor risk being pent anew in egg.”


Castel dell Ovo here was meant,
The oval fortress on the bay,
Hiving its captives in sea-cells;
Nor patriots only, plotters deemed,
But talkers, rhymesters, every kind
Of indiscreetly innocent mind.
Nor less the volatile audience—late
Grinding their teeth at Bomba's guards,
Were tickled by the allusive pun,
Howbeit, the boy here made an end;
And dulcet now, with decent air,
Of mild petitionary grace:
“Carlo am I, some carlins then!”
He twitched his sash up, scarlet rag,
Blithely in bonnet caught the coins,
Then disappeared beyond the marge
To dice with other imps as young,
Ere yet a little and his star
Evanish like the Pleiad lost.