Page:Poets of John Company.djvu/89

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HENRY MEREDITH PARKER.


With his little frill like crisped snow, his waistcoat spotless white,
His cravat very narrow and a very little tight.
And a blue brooch, where, in diamond sparks, a ship at anchor lay,
The gift of Mr. Cruttenden—Alas! and well-a-day!

Then from the press where it abode, he took the ledger stout.
And looked upon it reverently, withinside and without.
Then placed his pencils, rubber, pens and knives in due array.
And Mr. Simms was ready for the business of the day.

And ever to the junior clerks his counsel it was wise,
That they shall loop their I's, and cross their t's, and dot their i's,
And honor Messrs. Sheringham, Leith, Badgery and Hay,
Whom he had served for forty years—Alas! and well-a-day!

And a very pleasant running hand good Mr. Simms did write,
His up-strokes were like gossamer, his down strokes black as night,
And his lines all clear and sparkling like a rivulet in May,
Meandered o'er the folios—Alas! and well-a-day!

And daily in a silver dish, as bright as bright could be,
At one o'clock his tiffin came, two sandwiches, or three,
It never came a minute soon, nor a minute did delay,
So punctual were good Mr. Simms' people—well-a-day!

And in the Mango season still a daily basket came.
With fruit as green as emeralds or ruddier than flame;
By Mr. Simms the sort had been imported from Bombay
And sown and grown beneath his eye—Alas! and well-a-day!

And when his tiffin it was done, he took a pint precise
Of well cooled soda water, but it was not cooled with ice,
And a little ginger essence (Oxley's) Mr. Simms did say
It comforted his rheumatiz'—Alas! and well-a-day!