Lapsus Calami (Apr 1891)/Ballade of the Drowning Fusee

Originally published in The Reflector, 8 January 1888, as "The Ballade of the Drowning Fusee," the poem was reprinted in the "Things One Would Rather Have Expressed Differently" section of Lapsus Calami.

Ballade of the Drowning Fusee.

The pipe I intend to consume
Is full, and fairly alight:
It scatters a fragrant perfume,
Blue smoke-wreaths are heaving in sight
I sink on the heathery height,
And lo! there is borne unto me
From a sweet little stream on my right
The song of the drowning fusee.

The monarch of waterfowl, whom
On the brink of an infinite night
A strange irresistible doom
Converts to a musical wight,
Is akin, in his glory's despite,
To a moribund match, as we see,
While we listen, in speechless delight,
To the song of the drowning fusee.

As he sinks in his watery tomb,
His epitaph let me indite.
He hardly took up any room;
His life was retired; his end bright.
With destiny no one can fight
All poets and prosers agree,
And a tribute to destiny's might
Is the song of the drowning fusee.

Friend! would you be gratified quite
The first of our poets to be?
If so, I advise you to write
The song of the drowning fusee.

Reflector, Jan., 1889.