A touch, a kiss! the charm was snapt.
There rose a noise of striking clocks,
And feet that ran, and doors that clapt,
And barking dogs, and crowing cocks;
A fuller light illumined all,
A breeze through all the garden swept,
A sudden hubbub shook the hall,
And sixty feet the fountain leapt.
The hedge broke in, the banner blew,
The butler drank, the steward scrawled,
The fire shot up, the martin flew,
The parrot screamed, the peacock squalled,
The maid and page renewed their strife,
The palace banged, and buzzed and clackt,
And all the long-pent stream of life
Dashed downward in a cataract.
At last with these the king awoke,
And in his chair himself upreared,
And yawned, and rubbed his face, and spoke,
‘By holy rood, a royal beard!
How say you? we have slept, my lords.
My beard has grown into my lap.’
The barons swore, with many words,
’T was but an after-dinner’s nap.
‘Pardy,’ returned the king, ‘but still
My joints are something stiff or so.
My lord, and shall we pass the bill
I mentioned half an hour ago?’
The chancellor, sedate and vain,
In courteous words returned reply:
But dallied with his golden chain,
And, smiling, put the question by.
= Alexandra Blair