The Old Sedan Chair.

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

"What's not destroyed by Time's devouring Hand?
Where's Troy, and where's the May-Pole in the Strand?"
Bramston's "Art of Politicks."

It stands in the stable-yard, under the eaves,
Propped up by a broom-stick and covered with leaves:
It once was the pride of the gay and the fair,
But now 'tis a ruin,--that old Sedan chair!

It is battered and tattered,--it little avails
That once it was lacquered, and glistened with nails;
For its leather is cracked into lozenge and square,
Like a canvas by Wilkie,--that old Sedan chair!

See,--here came the bearing-straps; here were the holes
For the poles of the bearers--when once there were poles;
It was cushioned with silk, it was wadded with hair,
As the birds have discovered,--that old Sedan chair!

"Where's Troy?" says the poet! Look,--under the seat,
Is a nest with four eggs,--'tis the favoured retreat
Of the Muscovy hen, who has hatched, I dare swear,
Quite an army of chicks in that old Sedan chair!

And yet--Can't you fancy a face in the frame
Of the window,--some high-headed damsel or dame,
Be-patched and be-powdered, just set by the stair,
While they raise up the lid of that old Sedan chair?

Can't you fancy Sir Plume, as beside her he stands,
With his ruffles a-droop on his delicate hands,
With his cinnamon coat, with his laced solitaire,
As he lifts her out light from that old Sedan chair?

Then it swings away slowly. Ah, many a league
It has trotted 'twixt sturdy-legged Terence and Teague;
Stout fellows!--but prone, on a question of fare,
To brandish the poles of that old Sedan chair!

It has waited by portals where Garrick has played;
It has waited by Heidegger's "Grand Masquerade;"
For my Lady Codille, for my Lady Bellair,
It has waited--and waited, that old Sedan chair!

Oh, the scandals it knows! Oh, the tales it could tell
Of Drum and Ridotto, of Rake and of Belle,--
Of Cock-fight and Levee, and (scarcely more rare!)
Of FĂȘte-days at Tyburn, that old Sedan chair!

"Heu! quantum mutata," I say as I go.
It deserves better fate than a stable-yard, though!
We must furbish it up, and dispatch it,--"With Care,"--
To a Fine-Art Museum--that old Sedan chair!

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