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About this Poem 

From Ballads and Songs (London: Cassell and Company, 1896).


Piscator and Piscatrix


  As on this pictured page I look,
  This pretty tale of line and hook
  As though it were a novel-book
      Amuses and engages:
  I know them both, the boy and girl;
  She is the daughter of the Earl,
  The lad (that has his hair in curl)
      My lord the County's page has.

  A pleasant place for such a pair!
  The fields lie basking in the glare;
  No breath of wind the heavy air
      Of lazy summer quickens.
  Hard by you see the castle tall;
  The village nestles round the wall,
  As round about the hen its small
      Young progeny of chickens.

  It is too hot to pace the keep;
  To climb the turret is too steep;
  My lord the earl is dozing deep,
      His noonday dinner over:
  The postern-warder is asleep
  (Perhaps they've bribed him not to peep):
  And so from out the gate they creep,
      And cross the fields of clover.

  Their lines into the brook they launch;
  He lays his cloak upon a branch,
  To guarantee his Lady Blanche
      's delicate complexion:
  He takes his rapier, from his haunch,
  That beardless doughty champion staunch;
  He'd drill it through the rival's paunch
      That question'd his affection!

  O heedless pair of sportsmen slack!
  You never mark, though trout or jack,
  Or little foolish stickleback,
      Your baited snares may capture.
  What care has SHE for line and hook?
  She turns her back upon the brook,
  Upon her lover's eyes to look
      In sentimental rapture.

  O loving pair! as thus I gaze
  Upon the girl who smiles always,
  The little hand that ever plays
      Upon the lover's shoulder;
  In looking at your pretty shapes,
  A sort of envious wish escapes
  (Such as the Fox had for the Grapes)
      The Poet your beholder.

  To be brave, handsome, twenty-two;
  With nothing else on earth to do,
  But all day long to bill and coo:
      It were a pleasant calling.
  And had I such a partner sweet;
  A tender heart for mine to beat,
  A gentle hand my clasp to meet;—
  I'd let the world flow at my feet,
      And never heed its brawling.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray, born July 18, 1811, was an English writer best known for his novels, particularly The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. (The Mershon Company Publishers, 1852) and Vanity Fair (Bradbury and Evans, 1848). While in school, Thackeray began writing poems, which he published in a number of magazines, chiefly Fraser and Punch. He died on December 24, 1863.

by this poet

     When fierce political debate
       Throughout the isle was storming,
     And Rads attacked the throne and state,
       And Tories the reforming,
     To calm the furious rage of each,
       And right the land demented,
     Heaven sent us Jolly Jack, to teach
      The way to be contented.

  Under the stone you behold,
  Buried, and coffined, and cold,
  Lieth Sir Wilfrid the Bold.

  Always he marched in advance,
  Warring in Flanders and France,
  Doughty with sword and with lance.

  Famous in Saracen fight,
  Rode in his youth the good knight,
  Scattering Paynims in flight.

  Brian the

 No more, thou lithe and long-winged hawk, of desert-life for thee;
  No more across the sultry sands shalt thou go swooping free:
  Blunt idle talons, idle beak, with spurning of thy chain,
  Shatter against thy cage the wing thou ne'er may'st spread again.

  Long, sitting by their