Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803-49)
from 'Death's Jestbook,' V. iv.
West House Anthology
 
 
                                                        Siegfried’s Song

                                               My goblet’s golden lips are dry,
                                                  And, as the rose doth pine
                                                  For dew, so doth for wine
                                                         My goblet’s cup;
                                               Rain, O! rain, or it will die;
                                                         Rain, fill it up!

                                               Arise, and get thee wings to-night,
                                                  Ætna! and let run o’er
                                                  Thy wines, a hill no more,
                                                         But darkly frown
                                               A cloud, where eagles dare not soar,
                                                         Dropping rain down.


    Isbrand. A very good and thirsty melody:
What say you to it, my court poet?
    Wolfram. Good melody! If this be a good melody,
I have at home, fattening in my stye,
A sow that grunts above the nightingale.
Why this will serve for those, who feed their veins
With crust, and cheese of dandelion’s milk,
And the pure Rhine. When I am sick o’ mornings,
With a horn-spoon tinkling in my porridge-pot,
’Tis a brave ballad: but in Bacchanal night,
O’er wine, red, black, or purple-bubbling wine,
That takes a man by the brain and whirls him round,
By Bacchus’ lip! I like a full-voiced fellow,
A craggy-throated, fat-cheeked trumpeter,
A barker, a moon-howler, who could sing
Thus, as I heard the snaky mermaids sing
In Phlegethon, that hydrophobic river,
One May-morning in Hell.


                                                            Song

                                         Old Adam, the carrion crow,
                                              The old crow of Cairo;
                                          He sat in the shower, and let it flow
                                              Under his tail and over his crest;
                                                  And through every feather
                                                  Leaked the wet weather;
                                              And the bough swung under his nest;
                                              For his beak it was heavy with marrow.
                                                  Is that the wind dying? O no;
                                                  It’s only two devils, that blow
                                                  Through a murderer’s bones, to and fro,
                                                     In the ghosts’ moonshine.

                                          Ho! Eve, my grey carrion wife,
                                              When we have supped on kings’ marrow,
                                          Where shall we drink and make merry our life?
                                              Our nest it is queen Cleopatra’s scull,
                                                  ’Tis cloven and cracked,
                                                  And battered and hacked,
                                              But with tears of blue eyes it is full:
                                              Let us drink then, my raven of Cairo.
                                                  Is that the wind dying? O no;
                                                  It’s only two devils that blow
                                                  Through a murderer’s bones, to and fro,
                                                     In the ghosts’ moonshine.