Sunday, November 20, 2016

THE THOMAS HARDY PAGE

SITTING ON THE BRIDGE

Sitting on the bridge
Past the barracks, town and ridge,
At once the spirit seized us
To sing a song that pleased us -
As "The Fifth" were much in rumour;
It was "Whilst I'm in the humour,
Take me, Paddy, will you now?"
And a lancer soon drew nigh,
And his Royal Irish eye
Said, "Willing, faith, am I,
O, to take you anyhow, dears,
To take you anyhow."

But, lo! - dad walking by,
Cried, "What, you lightheels! Fie!
Is this the way you roam
And mock the sunset gleam?"
And he marched us straightway home,
Though we said, "We are only, daddy,
Singing, 'Will you take me, Paddy?'"
- Well, we never saw from then
If we sang there anywhen,
The soldier dear again,
Except at night in dream-time,
Except at night in dream.

Perhaps that soldier's fighting
In a land that's far away,
Or he may be idly plighting
Some foreign hussy gay;
Or perhaps his bones are whiting
In the wind to their decay! . . .
Ah! - does he mind him how
The girls he saw that day
On the bridge, were sitting singing
At the time of curfew-ringing,
"Take me, Paddy; will you now, dear?
Paddy, will you now?"

-o=0=o-
POETRY PATHWAYS

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