Archive for January 9th, 2014

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Pauper’s Drive by Thomas Noel

There’s a grim one-horse hearse in a jolly round trot;
To the churchyard a pauper is going, I wot;
The road it is rough, and the hearse has no springs,
And hark to the dirge that the sad driver sings : —
“Rattle his bones over the stones;
He’s only a Pauper, whom nobody owns!”

Oh, where are the mourners? alas! there are none ; —
He has left not a gap in the world now he’s gone;
Not a tear in the eye of child, woman, or man ; —
To the grave with his carcase as fast as you can;
“Rattle his bones over the stones;
He’s only a Pauper, whom nobody owns!”

What a jolting and creaking, and splashing and din!
The whip, how it cracks! and the wheels how they spin!
How the dirt, right and left, o’er the hedges is hurl’d!
The Pauper at length makes a noise in the world!
“Rattle his bones over the stones;
He’s only a Pauper, whom nobody owns!”

Poor Pauper defunct! he has made some approach
To gentility, now that he’s stretch’d in a coach;
He’s taking a drive in his carriage at last;
But it will not be long, if he goes on so fast!
“Rattle his bones over the stones;
He’s only a Pauper, whom nobody owns!”

You bumpkin! who stare at your brother convey’d,
Behold what respect to a cloddy is paid,
And be joyful to think, when by death you’re laid low,
You’ve a chance to the grave like a gemman to go.
“Rattle his bones over the stones;
He’s only a Pauper, whom nobody owns!”

But a truce to this strain, — for my soul, it is sad,
To think that a heart in humanity clad,
Should make, like the brutes, such a desolate end,
And depart from the light without leaving a friend!
Bear softly his bones over the stones;
Though a Pauper, he’s one whom his Maker yet owns!

From: Noel, T, Rymes and Roundelayes, 1841, William Smith: London, pp. 200-201.
(https://archive.org/stream/rymesandroundel00noelgoog#page/n200/mode/2up)

Date: 1841

By: Thomas Noel (1799-1861)