Minstrel's Tales

Stories From a Guitar Case

Poem for the Day - A Smugglers Song by Rudyard Kipling

Posted: 14 April 2018

Poem for the Day 

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse's feet,
 Don't go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street,
 Them that ask no questions isn't told a lie.
 Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by. 

 Five and twenty ponies, 
 Trotting through the dark - 
 Brandy for the Parson, 'Baccy for the Clerk.
 Laces for a lady; letters for a spy,
 Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by! 

 Running round the woodlump if you chance to find 
 Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine,
 Don't you shout to come and look, nor use 'em for your play.
 Put the brishwood back again - and they'll be gone next day ! 

 If you see the stable-door setting open wide;
 If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
 If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore;
 If the lining's wet and warm - don't you ask no more ! 

 If you meet King George's men, dressed in blue and red,
 You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
 If they call you " pretty maid," and chuck you 'neath the chin,
 Don't you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one's been ! 

 Knocks and footsteps round the house - whistles after dark -
 You've no call for running out till the house-dogs bark.
Trusty's here, and Pincher's here, and see how dumb they lie
They don't fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by ! 

 'If You do as you've been told, 'likely there's a chance,
 You'll be give a dainty doll, all the way from France,
 With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood - 
 A present from the Gentlemen, along 'o being good ! 

 Five and twenty ponies, 
 Trotting through the dark - 
 Brandy for the Parson, 'Baccy for the Clerk.
 Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie - 
 Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by ! 

A Smuggler's Song
Rudyard Kipling

Poem for the Day - You Are Old, Father William by Lewis Carroll

Posted: 13 April 2018

Poem for the Day

A little more nonsense for the weekend. Please take note, gentle readers, that any resemblance to the title character is entirely coincidental!

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"

"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."

"You are old," said the youth, "As I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door—
Pray, what is the reason of that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment—one shilling the box—
Allow me to sell you a couple?"

"You are old," said the youth, "And your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak—
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."

"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose—
What made you so awfully clever?"

"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father; "don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!"

You Are Old, Father William
Lewis Carroll

Poem for the Day - The New Regime by Wendy Cope

Posted: 11 April 2018

Poem for the Day

Yes, I agree. We’ll pull ourselves together.
We eat too much. We’re always getting pissed.
It’s not a bad idea to find out whether...
We like each other sober. Let’s resist.
I’ve got the Perrier and the carrot-grater,
I’ll look on a Scotch or a pudding as a crime.
We all have to be sensible sooner or later
But don’t let’s be sensible all the time.

No more thinking about a second bottle
And saying “What the hell?” and giving in.
Tomorrow I’ll be jogging at full throttle
To make myself successful, rich and thin.
A healthy life’s a great rejuvenator
But, God, it’s going to be an uphill climb.
We all have to be sensible sooner or later
But don’t let’s be sensible all the time.

The conversation won’t be half as trivial—
You’ll hold forth on the issues of the day—
And, when our evenings aren’t quite so convivial,
You’ll start remembering the things I say.
Oh, see if you can catch the eye of the waiter
And order me a double vodka and lime.
We all have to be sensible sooner or later
But I refuse to be sensible all the time.

The New Regime
Wendy Cope

Poem for the Day - Out of Danger by James Fenton

Posted: 10 April 2018

Poem for the Day

Heart be kind and sign the release
As the trees their loss approve.
Learn as leaves must learn to fall...
Out of danger, out of love.

What belongs to frost and thaw
Sullen winter will not harm.
What belongs to wind and rain
Is out of danger from the storm.

Jealous passion, cruel need
Betray the heart they feed upon.
But what belongs to earth and death
Is out of danger from the sun.

I was cruel, I was wrong -
Hard to say and hard to know.
You do not belong to me.
You are out of danger now -

Out of danger from the wind,
Out of danger from the wave,
Out of danger from the heart
Falling, falling out of love.

Out of Danger
James Fenton

Poem for the Day - Love by Robert Browning

Posted: 9 April 2018

Poem for the Day

So, the year's done with
(Love me for ever!)
All March begun with,...
April's endeavour;
May-wreaths that bound me
June needs must sever;
Now snows fall round me,
Quenching June's fever -
(Love me for ever!)

Love
Robert Browning

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