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Dover To Munich

Farewell, farewell! Before our prow
Leaps in white foam the noisy channel,
A tourist's cap is on my brow,
My legs are cased in tourists' flannel:

Around me gasp the invalids -
(The quantity to-night is fearful) -
I take a brace or so of weeds,
And feel (as yet) extremely cheerful.

The night wears on:- my thirst I quench
With one imperial pint of porter;
Then drop upon a casual bench -
(The bench is short, but I am shorter) -

Place 'neath my head the harve-sac
Which I have stowed my little all in,
And sleep, though moist about the back,
Serenely in an old tarpaulin.

* * *

Bed at Ostend at 5 A.M.
Breakfast at 6, and train 6.30.
Tickets to Konigswinter (mem.
The seats objectionably dirty).

And onward through those dreary flats
We move, with scanty space to sit on,
Flanked by stout girls with steeple hats,
And waists that paralyse a Briton; -

By many a tidy little town,
Where tidy little Fraus sit knitting;
(The men's pursuits are, lying down,
Smoking perennial pipes, and spitting

And doze, and execrate the heat,
And wonder how far off Cologne is,
And if we shall get aught to eat,
Till we get there, save raw polonies:

Until at last the 'grey old pile'
Is seen, is past, and three hours later
We're ordering steaks, and talking vile
Mock-German to an Austrian waiter.

* * *

Konigswinter, hateful Konigswinter!
Burying-place of all I loved so well!
Never did the most extensive printer
Print a tale so dark as thou could'st tell!

In the sapphire West the eve yet lingered,
Bathed in kindly light those hill-tops cold;
Fringed each cloud, and, stooping rosy-fingered,
Changed Rhine's waters into molten gold; -

While still nearer did his light waves splinter
Into silvery shafts the streaming light;
And I said I loved thee, Konigswinter,
For the glory that was thine that night.

And we gazed, till slowly disappearing,
Like a day-dream, passed the pageant by,
And I saw but those lone hills, uprearing
Dull dark shapes against a hueless sky.

Then I turned, and on those bright hopes pondered
Whereof yon gay fancies were the type;
And my hand mechanically wandered
Towards my left-hand pocket for a pipe.

Ah! why starts each eyeball from its socket,
As, in Hamlet, start the guilty Queen's?
There, deep-hid in its accustomed pocket,
Lay my sole pipe, smashed to smithereens!

* * *

On, on the vessel steals;
Round go the paddle-wheels,
And now the tourist feels
As he should;
For king-like rolls the Rhine,
And the scenery's divine,
And the victuals and the wine
Rather good.

From every crag we pass'll
Rise up some hoar old castle;
The hanging fir-groves tassel
Every slope;
And the vine her lithe arms stretches
O'er peasants singing catches -
And you'll make no end of sketches,
I should hope.

We've a nun here (called Therese),
Two couriers out of place,
One Yankee, with a face
Like a ferret's:
And three youths in scarlet caps
Drinking chocolate and schnapps -
A diet which perhaps
Has its merits.

And day again declines:
In shadow sleep the vines,
And the last ray through the pines
Feebly glows,
Then sinks behind yon ridge;
And the usual evening midge
Is settling on the bridge
Of my nose.

And keen's the air and cold,
And the sheep are in the fold,
And Night walks sable-stoled
Through the trees;
And on the silent river
The floating starbeams quiver; -
And now, the saints deliver
Us from fleas.

* * *

Avenues of broad white houses,
Basking in the noontide glare; -
Streets, which foot of traveller shrinks from,
As on hot plates shrinks the bear; -

Elsewhere lawns, and vista'd gardens,
Statues white, and cool arcades,
Where at eve the German warrior
Winks upon the German maids; -

Such is Munich:- broad and stately,
Rich of hue, and fair of form;
But, towards the end of August,
Unequivocally WARM.

There, the long dim galleries threading,
May the artist's eye behold,
Breathing from the 'deathless canvass'
Records of the years of old:

Pallas there, and Jove, and Juno,
'Take' once more 'their walks abroad,'
Under Titian's fiery woodlands
And the saffron skies of Claude:

There the Amazons of Rubens
Lift the failing arm to strike,
And the pale light falls in masses
On the horsemen of Vandyke;

And in Berghem's pools reflected
Hang the cattle's g
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:48 min read

Charles Stuart Calverley

Charles Stuart Calverley was an English poet and wit. more…

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