Dramatic Lyrics, by Robert Browning

Nationality in Drinks.

I.

My heart sank with our Claret-flask,

Just now, beneath the heavy sedges

That serve this Pond’s black face for mask

And still at yonder broken edges

O’ the hole, where up the bubbles glisten,

After my heart I look and listen.

II.

Our laughing little flask, compelled

Thro’ depth to depth more bleak and shady;

As when, both arms beside her held,

Feet straightened out, some gay French lady

Is caught up from life’s light and motion,

And dropped into death’s silent ocean!

Up jumped Tokay on our table,

Like a pygmy castle-warder,

Dwarfish to see, but stout and able,

Arms and accoutrements all in order;

And fierce he looked North, then, wheeling South,

Blew with his bugle a challenge to Drouth,

Cocked his flap-hat with the tosspot-feather,

Twisted his thumb in his red moustache,

Jingled his huge brass spurs together,

Tightened his waist with its Buda sash,

And then, with an impudence nought could abash,

Shrugged his hump-shoulder, to tell the beholder,

For twenty such knaves he should laugh but the bolder:

And so, with his sword-hilt gallantly jutting,

And dexter-hand on his haunch abutting,

Went the little man, Sir Ausbruch, strutting!

Here’s to Nelson’s memory!

’Tis the second time that I, at sea,

Right off Cape Trafalgar here,

Have drunk it deep in British Beer.

Nelson for ever — any time

Am I his to command in prose or rhyme!

Give me of Nelson only a touch,

And I save it, be it little or much:

Here’s one our Captain gives, and so

Down at the word, by George, shall it go!

He says that at Greenwich they point the beholder

To Nelson’s coat, “still with tar on the shoulder:

“For he used to lean with one shoulder digging,

“Jigging, as it were, and zig-zag-zigging

“Up against the mizen-rigging!”

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/browning/robert/lyrics/chapter5.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:32