Eos: An Epic of the Dawn, and Other Poems

By Nicholas Flood Davin




I once went far to see
    Some maids with whom I might flirt;
They were bent on charity,
    And proposed to make a night shirt,

For the good of some good cause,
    Orphans or such weak chickens;
I’d have ordered without pause,
    If the cause were at the dickens.

I called again—to know
    Of that work my ears were itchin’,
When the ladies, quite aglow,
    Told me all about the stitchin’.

How ’twas cut out by one,
    Its full length undiminished,
How the gussets they were done,
    And how the whole was finished.

The coals were waxing low,
    And fainter the flames’ flashes;
Like my hot youth’s fervid glow,
    What was once fire now was ashes.

I began to scratch my head,
    Like some posed and puzzled varmint—
And I thought, I’ll go to bed,
    And try on the new garment. [Page 113]

Scarce got beneath the clothes,
    My hand beneath my head, sir,
Fixed for a night’s repose—
    When I sprang clean out of bed, sir.

What was wrong? O patience please—
    Every fibre was a-twitchin’;
Those gussets stung like bees,
    And like wasps the dainty stitchin’.

To pull if off I tried,
    But it hugg’d me close, oppressive;
And, while struggling, I espied
    A sweet face most expressive;

And a form! –I think, I swore
    I ne’er saw aught so splendid—
She but said: “You’ll sleep no more,
    Your nights of rest are ended.”

And she smiled—gods! how she smiled!
    And how her black eyes glistened!
From my pangs I was beguiled,
    As to that voice I listened.

I stooped to kiss her hand,
    White as milk fresh from a dairy,
She drew back with curtsy bland,
    And then vanish’d like a fairy.

And now I never sleep,
    And I’m tortur’d as I told, sir,
And I think I sometimes weep,
    With longing to behold her; [Page 114]

But from her I’m exiled,
    That maid with face bewitchin’;
And the gussets drive me wild,
    And I’m madden’d by the stitchin’. [Page 115]