One night when I had lingered late
Among a set of social souls,
A worthy friend and trusty mate
Whose kindness still my heart controls,
Asked me to go and have a peep,
At his snug cot, and sup and sleep.
‘Tis true I’d had a drop too much,
Though neither fearing ghosts nor ghouls,
I thought, to sleep among the [slutch]
Where the street-walking strumpet strolls,
Would soil the honour of a poet,
If e’er the world should come to know it.
Therefore I thought it best to take
The proffered kindness of my friend;
So, half asleep and half awake,
We arm in arm our way did wend,
Till, safe within his cottage door,
We trod the carpet-covered floor.
A fire was blazing, bright as truth,
And rosy children ranged around,
Which flung my fancy back on youth,
When with delight my life was crowned;
Delight, which Time doth steal away,
For joys depart with childhood’s day.
We feasted full of sumptuous fare
And vintage of the very best;
His smiling spouse did soon prepare
A couch whereon a king might rest,
Where to my raptured soul was given
A foretaste of the joys of Heaven!
For soon asleep, a dream I dreamed:
I thought we all once more had met;
And Crawshaw, too, reciting, seemed
In Pemberton’s, till cheeks were wet,
And tongues were hushed, hearts listening all ---
You might have heard a feather fall.
And when his task was deftly done,
The trumpet of his fame was blown;
He called on ‘Mr. Billington
To ‘give us something of his own!’
And he gave something very good,
But what, I hardly understood.
Then on the sofa I did squat,
And whiff’d away at my cigar!
We talked of “dow times” and all that ---
The cotton crop and Yankee war!
Till [Sumner] Sam the next piece gave,
‘Twas Critchley Prince’s “Factory Slave.”
The key-note with which he did start,
The tender pathos of whose tone
Keen thrilled thro’ every feeling heart,
For each one felt the case his own;
And all the Artiste did applaud,
And Prince with praises loudly laud.
John Baron stood reciting next,
Till all the building echoed round;
The “Balaclava Charge,” his text,
Made the unvaulted roof resound,
And Dicky’s parlour door to shake,
At which I started, wide awake!
The knocker-up was at the door!
A voice rang out, “It’s half-past five!
The factory bells did clang and roar,
And, like a bee from out its hive
I sprang at once out of my bed,
And dress’d for work, I thither fled!
But left not till I’d taken leave
Of him whose kindness shone so bright,
And promised I would one day weave
In verse what had occurred that night.
So when I next a visit pay
To Dick, we’ll spend a glorious day.