Verse > Anthologies > Fuess and Stearns, eds. > The Little Book of Society Verse
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Fuess and Stearns, comps.  The Little Book of Society Verse.  1922.
 
Lydia Dick
By Eugene Field
 
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;
Anyhow, 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 with 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 Socrate, looming lonely,
Watcheth for the coming only
  Of a ghost that cometh not.        60
 
 
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