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(Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton)
1831 - 1891
- SHE was a harlot, and I was a
- But we loved each other beyond belief:
- She lived in the garret, and I in the kitchen,
- And love was all that we both were rich in.
- When they sent her at last to the hospital,
- Both day and night my tears did fall.
- They fell so fast, that, to dry their grief,
- I borrowed my neighbor's handerchief.
- The world, which, as it is brutally taught,
- Still judges the act in lieu of the thought,
- Found my hand in my neighbour's pocket,
- And clapped me, at once, under chain and locket.
- When they asked me about it, I told them plain
- Love it was that had turned my brain:
- How should I heed where my hand had been,
- When my heart was dreaming of Celestine?
- Twelve friends were so struck by my woful air,
- That they sent me abroad for a change of air:
- And, to prove me the kindness of their intent,
- They sent me at charge of the Government.
- When I came back again, --whom, think you, I meet
- But Celestine, here in Regent Street?
- In a carriage adorned with a coronet,
- And a dress, all flounces, and lace, and jet:
- For her carriage drew up at the bookseller's door,
- Where they publish those nice little books for the poor:
- I took off my hat: and my face she knew,
- And gave me -- a sermon by Mr. Belew.
- But she gave me (God bless her!) along with the book,
- Such a sweet sort of smile, such a heavenly look,
- That, as long as I live, I shall never forget
- Celestine, in her coach with the earl's coronet.
- There's a game that men play at in great London-town:
- Whereby some must go up, sir, and some must go down:
- And, since the mud sticks to your coat if you fall,
- Why, the strongest among us keep close to the wall.
- But some day, soon or late, in my shoes I shall stand,
- More exalted than any great duke in the land;
- A clean shirt on my back, and a rose in my coat,
- And a collar conferred by the Queen round my throat.
- And I know that my Celestine will never forget
- To be there, in her coach with my lord's coronet:
- She will smile to me then, as she smiled to me now:
- I shall nod to her gayly, and make her my bow; --
- Before I rejoin all those famous old thieves
- Whose deeds have immortalized Rome, sir, and Greece;
- Whose names are inscribed upon History's leaves,
- Like my own on the books of the City Police: --
- Alexander, and Caesar, and other great robbers,
- Who once tried to pocket the whole universe:
- Not to speak of our own parliamentary jobbers,
- With their hands, bless them all, in the popular purse!
© 2000 Elena and Yacov Feldman