On the Common.

A poem by Hattie Howard

We met on "Boston Common" -
Of course it was by chance -
A sudden, unexpected,
But happy circumstance
That gave the dull October day
A beautiful, refulgent ray.

Like wandering refugees from
A city of renown,
Impelled to reconnoiter
This Massachusetts town,
Each by a common object urged,
Upon the park our paths converged.

Good nature, bubbling over
In healthy, hearty laughs,
And little lavish speeches
Like pleasant paragraphs,
The kind regard, unstudied joke,
His true felicity bespoke.

A bit of doleful knowledge
Confided unto me,
About the way the doctors -
Who never could agree -
His knees had tortured, softly drew
My sympathy and humor, too.

I hoped he wouldn't lose them,
And languish in the dumps
By having to quadrille on
A pair of polished stumps -
But a corky limb, though one might dread,
Isn't half as bad as a wooden head.

He censured those empirics
Who never heal an ill,
Though bound by their diplomas
To either cure or kill,
Who should, with ignominy crowned,
Their patients follow - under ground.

I left him at the foot of
"The Soldiers' Monument,"
With incoherent mutterings -
As though 'twere his intent
To turn the sod, a rod or two,
And sleep beside the "boys in blue."

In Hartford's charming circles
His bonhommie I miss,
And having never seen him
From that day unto this,
I think of him with much regret
As lying - with the soldiers - yet.

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