A Song of the Bar

Original Text: 
The Poems and Letters of Digby Mackworth Dolben 1848-1867. Ed. Martin Cohen (England: Avebury, 1981) : 72-73.
1She is only an innkeeper's daughter --
2   I know it, I own it with tears,
3And her eyes are accustomed to slaughter
5I know , in her sweet conversation
6   The Hs are laboured and rare,
7But her cheek is unfading carnation,
8   And the sun never sets in her hair.
9Can it be that those delicate fingers
11Can it be that at evening she lingers
12   To talk with some lout at the fence?
13Can it be that no distant ideal
14   Has ever illumined her dreams?
15Can it be that her love for that real
16   Young farmer is all that it seems?
17Can it be no poetical fancies
18   Ever dawned in those violet eyes?
19Can it be that those exquisite glances
20   Are devoted to bonnets and ties?
21O were I a knight in a story,
22   And could ride with a pennon and lance,
23I would will for her napkin such glory
24   As would make her a Queen of Romance.
25Lady Margaret and Lady Agneta
26   Are beauties, they say, at the Court; --
28   I well know what he would have thought,
29Aye -- and done. -- But at present her duty
30   I suppose is otherwise placed:
31With a gift of most wonderful beauty
32   Albeit she truly is graced.

Notes

4] probably the 5th Breckrockshire Rifle Volunteer Corps at Builth (Wells), Whales from 1860. Back to Line
10] 'bacca: tobacco. sperrits: 'spirits' (liquor). Back to Line
27] Tennyson's "Beggar Maid" (Cohen, p.121). Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2004
Rhyme: 
Form: