Lunar Stanzas by Henry Cogswell Knight

Night saw the crew, like pedlers with their packs
Altho’ it were too dear to pay for eggs;
Walk crank along, with coffins on their backs,
While in their arms they bore their weary legs.

And yet ’twas strange, and scarce can one suppose,
That a brown buzzard-fly should steal, and wear
His white-jean breeches, and black woollen hose,
But thence that flies have souls is very clear.

But, holy Father! what shall save the soul,
When cobblers ask three dollars for their shoes?
When cooks their biscuits with a shot-tower roll,
And farmers rake their hay-cocks with their hoes?

Yet ’twere profuse, to see, for pendant light,
A tea-pot dangle in a lady’s ear;
And ’twere indelicate, although she might,
Swallow two whales, and yet the moon shine clear.

But what to me are woven clouds? or what,
If dames from spiders learn to warp their looms?
If coal-black ghosts turn soldiers for the state,
With wooden eyes, and lightning-rods for plumes.

O too, too shocking! barbarous, savage taste!
To eat one’s mother ere itself was born!
And gripe the tall town-steeple by the waist,
And scoop it out to be his drinking-horn.

No more! no more! I’m sick, and dead, and gone;
Box’d in a coffin; stifled six feet deep;
Worms, fat and fearless, pick my skin and bone,
And revel o’er me, like a soulless sheep.

From: Knight, Henry C., Poems. In Two Volumes, Volume II, Second Edition, 1821, Wells and Lilly: Boston, pp. 159-160.

Date: 1815

By: Henry Cogswell Knight (1789-1835)

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