A Noontide Lyric
by Oliver Wendell Holmes
The dinner-bell, the dinner-bell
Is ringing loud and clear;
Through hill and plain, through street and lane,
It echoes far and near;
From curtained hall, and whitewashed stall,
Wherever men can hide,
Like bursting waves from ocean caves,
They float upon the tide.
I smell the smell of roasted meat!
I hear the hissing fry!
The beggars know where they can go,
But where, O where shall I?
At twelve o'clock men took my hand,
At two they only stare,
And eye me with a fearful look,
As if I were a bear!
The poet lays his laurels down
And hastens to his greens;
The happy tailor quits his goose,
To riot on his beans;
The weary cobbler snaps his thread,
The printer leaves his pi;
His very devil hath a home,
But what, O what have I?
Methinks I hear an angel voice,
That softly seems to say;
Pale stranger, all may yet be well,
Then wipe thy tears away;
Erect thy head, and cock thy hat,
And follow me afar,
And thou shalt have a jolly meal
And charge it at the bar.
I hear the voice! I go! I go!
Prepare your meat and wine!
They little heed their future need,
Who pay not when they dine.
Give me to-day the rosy bowl,
Give me one golden dream, --
To-morrow kick away the stool,
And dangle from the beam!
Boston: Ticknor And Fields