Peter Swaab (ed.), Sara Coleridge: Collected Poems

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pg 35Editor’s NoteTo the tune of 'When icicles hang by the wall'

  • When fires wax dim and chimnies growl,
  • And tea and toast no more go round,
  • And sits mine host like solemn owl,
  • And Mirth lies snoring on the ground
  • Beneath the dining-table laid,
  • And folks 'gin cry with sleepy head
  •                     'O dear!
  • What shall we do?' – a drowsy note, –
  • Then read or say these rhymes by rote.
  • When cards nor music show their power,
  • Nor, best of all, the light quadrille,
  • 'To dispossess the present hour,'
  • And jog old Time against his will; –
  • When puzzles e'en are heard with glee,
  • And folks begin to cry, 'Bless me!
  •                     O dear!
  • What can it be?' – a tedious note, –
  • Then read or say these rhymes by rote.

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Editor’s Note
Page 35. 'To the tune of "When icicles hang by the wall"' (RB, 1827). 'When icicles hang by the wall' is Winter's song at the end of Love's Labour's Lost, V.ii.895–912. Line 12: "'To dispossess the present hour'" – from Matilda Betham, The Lay of Marie (1816), Canto 1: 'Restless awaits the Minstrel's power / To dispossess the present hour'.
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