A poem by John Kendall

Here, in mine old-time harbourage installed,
Lulled by the murmurous hum of London's traffic
To that full calm which may be justly called

I praise the gods; and vow, for my escape
From the hard grip of premature Jehannun,
One golden-tissued bottle of the grape
Per annum.

For on this day, from Orient toils enlarged,
Kneeling, I kissed the parent soil at Dover,
Where a huge porter in his orbit charged
Me over;

Flashed in the train by Shorncliffe's draughty camp;
Gazed on the hurrying landscape's pastoral graces,
Old farms, and happy fields (a trifle damp
In places);

Passed the grim suburbs, indigent and bare
Of natural foliage, but bravely flying
Frank garlandry of last week's underwear
Out drying;

And so to Town; and with that blessed sight
I, a poor fevered wreck, forgot to shiver -
Forgot to mourn the Burden of my White
Man's Liver;

And felt my bosom heave, my breast expand,
With thoughts too sweet, too deep for empty cackle,
Such thoughts as nothing but a first-class Band
Could tackle:

Till, from its deeps, my celebrated smile
(Which friends called Marvel) clove my jaws asunder,
Lucid, intense, and all men stood awhile
In wonder!

Let none approach me now, for I have dined;
The fire is bright; Havana's choice aroma
Infects my being with a pleasant kind
Of coma;

Calmly I contemplate my future lot:
I reconstruct the past - it fails to strike me
With aught of horror (pity there are not
More like me!) -

My bosom's lord sits lightly on my breast;
The East grows dim; and every hour I stuck to it
Imparts a richer brightness to the West,
Good luck to it!

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