Tick! Tick! Tick!
Tick! Tick! Tick!
Cambridge University Library Add. MS. 7617B (among "Scraps of J. F. W. H's Poems")
1I have a clock, and there it stands
2 Against my study wall;
3The same old dialplate and hands
4 My earliest thoughts Recal.
5That clock was like no vulgar clock,
7When dawn aroused the crowing cock
8 Its noon had passed away.
9It marked no eve, nor matin prime,
10 No hour for woe or weal.
11Who looked to it for dinner time
12 Might go without a meal.
13Yet still it ticked -- nor slow nor fast
14 Its rate was ever found,
17And yet, with every beat it made
18 With every beat it makes
19A human life away must fade, --
20 A human life awakes.
22 They fall -- nor stop nor stay --
23Till the great debt be paid, and crime
24 And grief be swept away.
25I have a clock of diff'rent mould.
26 Nor catgut, brass, nor steel
27A place within its frame doth hold,
28 Bob, pendulum, or wheel.
29Where'er I go, by land, by sea
30 From earliest infancy
31At home, abroad, by night, by day
32 It bears me company.
34 I know not how it goes.
35It hath no face, no hands, I wot.
36 No hour, no time it shews.
37Ah! how irregular its beat!
38 Hope, fear, Love, joy, surprize
39A word, a look, a fond conceit
40 To change its Rate suffice.
41Its beats are numbered. More or few
42 I know not, -- would not know:
43Content to stay, while aught to do
6] told: shewed in an earlier draft. Back to Line
15] Sun, Moon, Stars: Suns and Moons in an earlier draft. Back to Line
16] on: in in an earlier draft. Back to Line
21] Herschel notes:
"Die zu ben Ban den Ewigkeitensand-corns: sand-grains in an earlier draft. Back to Line
Zwar Sandkorn nur für Sandkorn reicht
Dach von der prosen Schuld der Leiten
Minuten, Tage, Jahre streicht" (Schiller)
33] The order of this and the next stanza is reversed, as Herschel's note requests. Back to Line
44] Content, if aught remain to do / To stay: in an earlier draft. Back to Line
Publication Start Year
With thanks to Cambridge University Library for access to this manuscript.
RPO poem Editors