Taken At Dusk ©
I am a soldier on furlough
And you strike me as footloose
As witless gay blades let loose to raise hell.
‘Would you mind if I ask you?’
‘The dusk has fallen and I am late
And I am one of three
Alas our cruising can’t wait:
So let me foot it.’
I am a soldier of fortune, say
If you have seen me cut
Throats and pillage you would know
I am the man you need.
Death, I see in your glittering eye
And I can well imagine
It bodes ill for all the rest
It cannot be otherwise.
The gay blade sat limp in sweat
‘I lost my nerve at sight
Why you had to choose this ill hour
To seek my inmost thoughts out?
Indeed I am the look out man
While the band cut
Below the bridge, below the hill
I cannot but be gay.
This night we sit in wait for death:
I know within a ghastly thrill
That we shall wade in blood
Till our hands can do no more.’
‘Wherefore venture in the gloamin’’
Can’t you delay for once?’ I ask
More out of vain hope.
His face goes white in anger:
‘Hell and damnation that send
Thee to trouble me deep. Damn!’
For once you spoke truly:
‘I am Death on hell’s errand.’
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Thomas Carlyle saw red when he saw Swinburne. (Swine-born as Punch would characterize him). He refused to receive the poet on the grounds, he was ‘sitting in a sewer and adding to it.’ The poet thin and unsteady with a face all curves with a weak chin and topped with a carrot mop wildly spread out called to mind, one who was addicted to drink if not laudanum. He had a secret vice, of flagellation. Perhaps corporal punishment administrated to him in his school days stuck with him in later life. He got back on Carlyle by this comment: ‘That very sorry pair of phenomena,Thomas Cloacina and his Goody.’
On Charles Lamb Carlyle said thus: ‘Charles Lamb I sincerely believe to be in some considerable degree insane . A more pitiful,rickety,grasping,staggering stammering Tomfool I do not know. ‘. He didn’t spare Coleridge whose work he dismissed as thus:’ A weak,diffusive,weltering,ineffectual man…Never did I see such apparatus got ready for thinking,and so little thought. He mounts scaffolding,pulleys and tackle,gathers all the tools in th neighborhood with labor, with noise,demonstration,precept,abuse, and sets-three bricks.‘
On Charles Darwin:
‘I have no patience whatever with these gorilla damnifications of humanity.‘
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