Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
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Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
 
To a Fog
By Egerton Webbe (1810–1840)
 
HAIL 1 to thee, Fog! most reverend, worthy Fog!
  Come in thy full-wigged gravity: I much
  Admire thee:—thy old dulness hath a touch
Of true respectability. The rogue
That calls thee names (a fellow I could flog)        5
  Would beard his grandfather, and trip his crutch;
  But I am dutiful, and hold with such
As deem thy solemn company no clog.
Not that I love to travel best incog.,
  To pounce on latent lamp-posts, of to clutch        10
The butcher in my arms, or in a bog
Pass afternoons; but while through thee I jog,
  I feel I am true English, and no Dutch,
Nor French, nor any other foreign dog
                That never mixed his grog        15
Over a sea-coal fire a day like this,
And bid thee scowl thy worst, and found it bliss,
                And to himself said, “Yes,
Italia’s skies are fair, her fields are sunny,
But,  *  *  *  *  *! Old England for my money.”        20
 
Note 1. This is the sonnet with the coda (or tail) alluded to in the Introductory Essay. The gap in the last line is left to be filled up by the readers, according to their respective notions of what is fittest for the nonce, or properest to be read aloud. The word “Yes” though an allowable rhyme to bliss and this, especially on a comic occasion, may also, if the reader pleases, be emphatically pronounced “yis.” It is a license often taken by conversers in England; and I remember saying so to my friend, when I first read the verses. I think he said that he intended to imply the license in the rhyme; but at all events I am sure he agreed with me, and laughed heartily; and we read it so accordingly on the spot. [back]
 
 
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