University of Virginia Library



Returned to harbor, Derwent sought
His Mexic friend; and him he found
At home in by-place of a court
Of private kind—some tools around,
And planks and joiner's stuff, and more,
With little things, and odds and ends,
Conveniences which ease commends
Unto some plain old bachelor.
And here, indeed, one such a stay
At whiles did make; a placid friar,
A sexton gratis in his way,
When some poor brother did require
The last fraternal offices.
This funeral monk, now much at ease,
Uncowled, upon a work-bench sat—
Lit by a greenish earthen lamp
(With cross-bones baked thereon for stamp)
Behind him placed upon a mat—
Engaged in gossip, old men's chat,
With the limb-lopped Eld of Mexico;
Who, better to sustain him so
On his one leg, had niched him all
In one of some strange coffins there,
A 'lean and open by the wall
Like sentry-boxes.—
“Take a chair,
Don Derwent; no, I mean—yes, take
A—coffin; come, be sociable.”
“Don Hannibal, Don Hannibal,
What see I? Well, for pity's sake!”
“Eh? This is brother Placido,
And we are talking of old times,


For, learn thou, that in Mexico
First knew he matins and the chimes.
But, come, get in; there's nothing else;
'Tis easy; here one lazy dwells
Almost as in a barber's chair;
See now, I lean my head.”
“Ah, yes;
But I—don't—feel the weariness:
Thanks, thanks; no, I the bench prefer.—
Good brother Placido, I'm glad
You find a countryman.” And so
For little time discourse he made;
But presently—the monk away
Being called—proposed that they should go,
He and Don Hannibal the gray,
And in refectory sit down
That talk might more convenient run.
The others through the courts diverge,
Till all to cots conducted fare
Where reveries in slumber merge,
While lulling steals from many a cell
A bee-like buzz of bed-side prayer—
Night in the hive monastical.
And now—not wantonly designed
Like lays in grove of Daphne sung,
But helping to fulfill the piece
Which in these cantoes finds release,
Appealing to the museful mind—
A chord, the satyr's chord is strung.