Poetry – My Old Coat

My Old Coat
My Old Coat

BE ever true to me, thou well-loved coat,
For we are growing old together now,
These ten long years I’ve brushed thee every day
Myself; great Socrates the Sage, I trow
Had not done better! And if remorseless Fate
Gnaw with sharp tooth that poor, thin cloth of thine,
Resist, say I, with calm philosophy,
Let us not part, thou dear old friend of mine!

How I recall—(for even now I’m bless’d
With a good memory!), that glad day of days
When first I wore thee! It was at my feast;
My friends to crown my glory, sang thy praise.
Thy poverty and age that honor me
Have not yet made their early love decline—
They’re ready still to feast us once again.
Let us not part, thou dear old friend of mine!

Have I perfumed thee with those floods of musk,
Which the vain fop exhales before his glass?
Have I exposed thee, waiting audience,
To scorn and laughter of the great who pass?
Just for a paltry ribbon, all fair wide France
Was rent apart, but simply I combine
A few sweet wild-flowers for thine ornament.
Let us not part, thou dear old friend of mine!…

Fear nevermore those days of struggling vain,
When the same lowly destiny was ours;
Those days of pleasure intermix’d with pain,
Of sunny sky o’ercast by April showers.
Soon comes the night, for evening shadows fall,
And soon forever must I my coat resign.
Wait yet a little, together we’ll end it all,
And never part, thou dear old friend of mine!…

— Pierre Jean de Béranger

Poetry – December

Tis done! Dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
And reigns tremendous o’er the conquered year.
How dead the vegetable kingdom lies!
How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold fond man!
See here thy pictured life: pass some few years,
Thy flowering spring, thy summer’s ardent strength,
Thy sober autumn fading into age,
And pale concluding winter comes at last.

— George Thompson Hutchinson

Poetry – A Recollection

My father’s friend came once to tea.
He laughed and talked. He spoke to me.
But in another week they said
That friendly pink-faced man was dead.

“How sad . .” they said, “the best of men . .”
So I said too, “How sad”; but then
Deep in my heart I thought with pride,
“I know a person who has died.”

— Frances Cornford

Poetry – Dawn

So begins the day,
Solid, chill, and gray,
But my heart will wake
Happy for your sake;
No more tossed and wild,
Singing like a child,
Quiet as a flower
In this first gray hour.

So my heart will wake
Happy, for your sake.

— Frances Darwin Cornford

Poetry – Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

— William Ernest Henley

Poetry – The Watch

I wakened on my hot, hard bed;
Upon the pillow lay my head;
Beneath the pillow I could hear
My little watch was ticking clear.
I thought the throbbing of it went
Like my continual discontent;
I thought it said in every tick:
I am so sick, so sick, so sick;
O death, come quick, come quick, come quick,
Come quick, come quick, come quick, come quick.

— Frances Darwin Cornford

Poetry – In Dorset

From muddy road to muddy lane
I plodded through the falling rain;
For miles and miles was nothing there
But mist, and mud, and hedges bare.

At length approaching I espied
Two gipsy women side by side;
They turned their faces broad and bold
And brown and freshened by the cold,
And stared at me in gipsy wise
With shrewd, unfriendly, savage eyes.

No word they said, no more dared I;
And so we passed each other by—
The only living things that met
In all those miles of mist and wet.

— Frances Darwin Cornford