Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch

Here you will find the Poem Retrospection of poet Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch


After C. S. C.
When the hunter-star Orion 
(Or, it may be, Charles his Wain) 
Tempts the tiny elves to try on 
All their little tricks again; 
When the earth is calmly breathing 
Draughts of slumber undefiled, 
And the sire, unused to teething, 
Seeks for errant pins his child;
When the moon is on the ocean, 
And our little sons and heirs 
From a natural emotion 
Wish the luminary theirs; 
Then a feeling hard to stifle, 
Even harder to define, 
Makes me feel I 'd give a trifle 
For the days of Auld Lang Syne.
James?for we have been as brothers 
(Are, to speak correctly, twins), 
Went about in one another's 
Clothing, bore each other's sins, 
Rose together, ere the pearly 
Tint of morn had left the heaven, 
And retired (absurdly early) 
Simultaneously at seven?
James, the days of yore were pleasant. 
Sweet to climb for alien pears 
Till the irritated peasant 
Came and took us unawares; 
Sweet to devastate his chickens, 
As the ambush'd catapult 
Scattered, and the very dickens 
Was the natural result;
Sweet to snare the thoughtless rabbit; 
Break the next-door neighbour's pane; 
Cultivate the smoker's habit 
On the not-innocuous cane; 
Leave the exercise unwritten; 
Systematically cut 
Morning school, to plunge the kitten 
In his bath, the water-butt.
Age, my James, that from the cheek of 
Beauty steals its rosy hue, 
Has not left us much to speak of: 
But 'tis not for this I rue. 
Beauty with its thousand graces, 
Hair and tints that will not fade, 
You may get from many places 
Practically ready-made.
No; it is the evanescence 
Of those lovelier tints of Hope? 
Bubbles, such as adolescence 
Joys to win from melted soap? 
Emphasizing the conclusion 
That the dreams of Youth remain 
Castles that are An delusion 
(Castles, that's to say, in Spain).
Age thinks 'fit,' and I say 'fiat.' 
Here I stand for Fortune's butt, 
As for Sunday swains to shy at 
Stands the stoic coco-nut. 
If you wish it put succinctly, 
Gone are all our little games; 
But I thought I 'd say distinctly 
What I feel about it, James.