Statio Quinta

A poem by Thomas Edward Brown

The shepherd calls,
How these great niountain walls
Re-echo! See his dog
Come limping from the bog!
How far he holds him
With that thin clamour! Scolds him?
Or cheers him, which?
Say both, most like. The pitch
Is steep, poor fellow!
And still that bellow;
Ya, ya!
Whoop ‘ tittivat
And Echo from her niche
Shrieks challenged. Shout,
O shepherd! flout
The irritable Echo till she raves
As man behaves,
So God apportions, doing what is best
For you, and for the rest.
As man behaves! You do not help me much,
Nay, sir, nor touch
The central point at all,
Retributive, mechanical,
I see it. But outside all this
I miss . . . I miss . . .
Sir, know you Death?
Permit me introduce
No? What’s the use?
The use! . . . One thing I can collect,
You have but scant respect
For Death. Why, sir, he made a feint
That very minute at you, quaint!
The way he grins and skips, Whips! whips!
Down! down! good dog! good Death!
To heel, you rogue!
Good Death! good dog!
You’d rather not behold him?
I’ve told him, I’ faith,
He’d frighten you, would Death.
Provoked me, yes, you did,
The shepherd chid
His lagging hound,
I had no other thought
But how mad Echo caught
The sound
Of that exasperant call,
And made it bound
Back from the mountain wall.

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