Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
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Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
 
Eugene Field. 1850–1895
 
228. Lydia Dick
 
WHEN I was a boy at college, 
Filling up with classic knowledge, 
  Frequently I wondered why 
Old Professor Demas Bentley 
Used to praise so eloquently         5
  "Opera Horatii." 
  
Toiling on a season longer 
Till my reasoning powers got stronger, 
  As my observation grew, 
I became convinced that mellow,  10
Massic-loving poet fellow, 
  Horace, knew a thing or two. 
  
Yes, we sophomores figured duly 
That, if we appraised him truly, 
  Horace must have been a brick;  15
And no wonder that with ranting 
Rhymes he went a-gallivanting 
  Round with sprightly Lydia Dick! 
  
For that pink of female gender 
Tall and shapely was, and slender,  20
  Plump of neck and bust and arms; 
While the raiment that invested 
Her so jealously suggested 
  Certain more potential charms. 
  
Those dark eyes of hers that fired him,  25
Those sweet accents that inspired him, 
  And her crown of glorious hair,— 
These things baffle my description: 
I should have a fit conniption 
  If I tried; so I forbear.  30
  
Maybe Lydia had her betters; 
Anyway, this man of letters 
  Took that charmer as his pick. 
Glad—yes, glad I am to know it! 
I, a fin de siècle poet,  35
  Sympathize with Lydia Dick! 
  
Often in my arbor shady 
I fall thinking of that lady, 
  And the pranks she used to play; 
And I 'm cheered,—for all we sages  40
Joy when from those distant ages 
  Lydia dances down our way. 
  
Otherwise some folks might wonder, 
With good reason, why in thunder 
  Learned professors, dry and prim,  45
Find such solace in the giddy 
Pranks that Horace played with Liddy 
  Or that Liddy played on him. 
  
Still this world of ours rejoices 
In those ancient singing voices,  50
  And our hearts beat high and quick, 
To the cadence of old Tiber 
Murmuring praise of roistering Liber 
  And of charming Lydia Dick. 
  
Still Digentia, downward flowing,  55
Prattleth to the roses blowing 
  By the dark, deserted grot. 
Still Soracte, looming lonely, 
Watcheth for the coming only 
  Of a ghost that cometh not.  60
 
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