Shall I sing you a festive and flippant lay?
Send you a sonnet across the sea?
Chaunt you a ditty of Valentine's day?
Write you a rollicking roundelay
Of 'Loves' and 'Doves' and 'Eternity'?
Verily, rhymes be hard to write,
Verily hearts be not seldom sad—
After the sunshine cometh the night—
After Pleasure, is Pleasure's flight
After the good, look out for the bad.
Moral Sentiments these I wis,
Highly improper the ones below
After torment expect we bliss,
Videlicet—after the quarrel the kiss
And an arm to embrace that gave the blow.
Faithfullest friend of all my friends
Dearest of Evelyns, doleful am I,
For the Lord he knows when my waiting ends
While the hot winds blow, or the palm tree bends,
Or the little white cloud scuds over the sky.
Nevertheless, from over the sea,
I wish good wishes to you and yours
(Tho' you haven't written for weeks. N.B.
This is a hint.) and am faithfullee
Yours to command while life endures.
Wishes for happiness, wealth and peace
(While the hot wind blows or the palm tree sighs)
Length of living and infinite ease,
So long as the leaf shall bud on the trees,
So long as the sun looks out of the skies.
'By Moonlight or Starlight—by water or wold'
(The old curse runs—which I alter to bless)
So long as the lamb shall bleat in the fold,
While summer is hot, or winter is cold
So long may the Gods send happiness.
So long as a woman shall lean to a lie,
So long as a man shall weary and wait,
So long as the wild geese northward fly,
So long as the flitting swallows cry,
So long as the wrack comes down with the spate.
And if ever you send a thought this way,
(Vagrant fancies across the sea)
Think of a youngster whose lavish pay
Leaves him as wretched a whelp today
As ever a body might hope to be.