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The Baritone Post by :2EzGuides Category :Poems Author :Harry Graham Date :November 2011 Read :3554

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The Baritone

In many a boudoir nowadays
The baritone's decolleté throat
Produces weird unearthly lays,
Like some dyspeptic goat
Deprived but lately of her young
(But not, alas! of either lung).

His low-necked collar fails to show
The contours of his manly chest,
Since that has fallen far below
His "fancy evening vest."
Here, too, in picturesque relief,
Nestles his crimson handkerchief.

Will no one tell me why he sings
Such doleful melancholy lays,
Of withered summers, ruined springs,
Of happier bygone days,
And kindred topics, more or less
Designed to harass or depress?

That ballad in his bloated hand
Is of the old familiar blend:--
A faded flow'r, a maiden, and
A "brave kiss" at the end!
(The kind of kiss that, for a bet,
A man might give a Suffragette.)


Eyes that looked down into mine,
With a longing that seemed to say
Is it too late, dear heart, to wait
For the dawn of a brighter day?
Is it too late to laugh at fate?
See how the teardrops start!
Can we not weather the tempest together,
Dear Heart, Dear Heart?

Lips that I pressed to my own,
As I gazed at her yielding form,--
Turned with a groan, and then hastened alone
Into the teeth of the Storm!
Long, long ago! Still the winds blow!
Far have we drifted apart!
You live with Mother, and I love--another!
Dear Heart, Dear Heart!

At times some drinking-song inspires
Our hero to a vocal burst,
Until his audience, too, acquires
The most prodigious thirst.
And nobody would ever think
That milk was his peculiar drink!

What spacious days his song recalls,
When each monastic brotherhood
Could brew, within its private walls,
A vintage just as good
As that which restaurants purvey
As "rare old Tawny Port" to-day!


The Abbot he sits, as his rank befits,
With a bottle at either knee,
And he smacks his lips as he slowly sips
At his beaker of Malvoisie.
Sing Ho! Ho! Ho!
Let the red wine flow!
Let the sack flow fast and free!
His heart it grows merry on negus and sherry,
And never a care has he!
Ho! Ho!

(Ora pro nobis!)
Sing Ho! for the Malvoisie!

In cellar cool, on a highbacked stool,
The Friar he sits him down,
With the door tight shut, and an unbroached butt
Where the ale flows clear and brown.
Sing Ha! Sing Hi!
Till the cask runs dry,
His spirits shall never fail!
For no one is dryer than Francis the Friar,
When getting "outside the pail!"
Ho! Ho!

Sing Ho! for the nutbrown ale!

The Monk sits there, in his cell so bare,
And he lowers his tonsured head,
As he lifts the lid of the tankard hid
'Neath the straw of his trestle bed.
Sing Ho! Sink Hey!
From the break of day
Till the vesper-bell rings clear,
Of grave he makes merry and hastens to bury
His cares in the butt'ry
Ho! Ho!
(Pax Omnibuscum!)
Sing Ho! for the buttery beer!

Oh, find me some secure retreat,
Some Paradise for stricken souls,
Where amateurs no longer bleat
Their feeble baracoles,
From lungs that are so oddly placed
Where other people keep their waist;

Where public taste has quite outgrown
The faculty for being bored
By each anæmic baritone
Who murders "The Lost Chord,"
And singers, as a body, are
Cursed with a permanent catarrh!

(The end)
Harry Graham's poem: Baritone

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