Lapsus Calami (Apr 1891)/Lines at the River Side

Lapsus Calami  (1891)  by J.K.S.
Lines at the River Side

Dated 1873 by his brother, these lines were first published in Out of School at Eton in 1877, and were subsequently included in the first two editions of Lapsus Calami. Although omitted from the third edition on, the poem was restored in the posthumous edition.

Lines at the River Side
Shewing how the Poet was unfortunately disappointed
of a most Tragic Theme

'Tis but a work of the loom,
'Tis but a shawl on the grass,
'Tis but a remnant, alas!
Remnant of what and of whom?

Surely some victim of woe
Left it to bleach on the brink.
Left it to plunge and to sink
Under the waters below.

Doubt, hesitation and fear,
Madness, delusion, despair.
All of them culminate there.
There by the swift rushing weir.

Was it a husband she fled.
Drunken, of reason bereft?
Was it a child that she left
Peaceful and pale in its bed?

Rash was the folly, I trow.
Vice got the best of the strife.
One little moment of life!
What would she give for it now?

Ha! what has shattered it all?
How is my muse disarray'd?
Only a nursery maid
Come back to look for her shawl.