Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VII. Descriptive: Narrative
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VII. Descriptive: Narrative.  1904.
 
Descriptive Poems: I. Personal: Great Writers
A Welcome to “Boz”
William Henry Venable (1836–1920)
 
On His First Visit to the West

COME as artist, come as guest,
Welcome to the expectant West,
Hero of the charmèd pen,
Loved of children, loved of men.
We have felt thy spell for years;        5
Oft with laughter, oft with tears,
Thou hast touched the tenderest part
Of our inmost, hidden heart.
We have fixed our eager gaze
On thy pages nights and days,        10
Wishing, as we turned them o’er,
Like poor Oliver, for “more.”
And the creatures of thy brain
In our memory remain,
Till through them we seem to be        15
Old acquaintances of thee.
Much we hold it thee to greet,
Gladly sit we at thy feet;
On thy features we would look,
As upon a living book,        20
And thy voice would grateful hear,
Glad to feel that Boz were near,
That his veritable soul
Held us by direct control:
Therefore, author loved the best,        25
Welcome, welcome to the West.
 
In immortal Weller’s name,
By Micawber’s deathless fame,
By the flogging wreaked on Squeers,
By Job Trotter’s fluent tears,        30
By the beadle Bumble’s fate
At the hands of vixen mate,
By the famous Pickwick Club,
By the dream of Gabriel Grubb,
In the name of Snodgrass’ muse,        35
Tupman’s amorous interviews,
Winkle’s ludicrous mishaps,
And the fat boy’s countless naps;
By Ben Allen and Bob Sawyer,
By Miss Sally Brass, the lawyer,        40
In the name of Newman Noggs,
River Thames, and London fogs,
Richard Swiveller’s excess,
Feasting with the Marchioness,
By Jack Bunsby’s oracles,        45
By the chime of Christmas bells,
By the cricket on the hearth,
Scrooge’s frown and Crotchit’s mirth,
By spread tables and good cheer,
Wayside inns and pots of beer,        50
Hostess plump and jolly host,
Coaches for the turnpike post,
Chambermaids in love with Boots,
Toodles, Traddles, Tapley, Toots,
Jarley, Varden, Mister Dick,        55
Susan Nipper, Mistress Chick,
Snevellicci, Lilyvick,
Mantalini’s predilections,
To transfer his “dem” affections,
Podsnap, Pecksniff, Chuzzlewit,        60
Quilp and Simon Tappertit,
Weg and Boffin, Smike and Paul,
Nell and Jenny Wren and all,—
Be not Sairy Gamp forgot,—
No, nor Peggotty and Trot,—        65
By poor Barnaby and Grip,
Flora, Dora, Di, and Gip,
Peerybingle, Pinch, and Pip,—
Welcome, long-expected guest,
Welcome, Dickens, to the West.        70
 
In the name of gentle Nell,
Child of light, belovèd well,—
Weeping, did we not behold
Roses on her bosom cold?
Better we for every tear        75
Shed beside her snowy bier,—
By the mournful group that played
Round the grave where Smike was laid,
By the life of Tiny Tim,
And the lesson taught by him,        80
Asking in his plaintive tone
God to “bless us every one,”
By the sounding waves that bore
Little Paul to Heaven’s shore,
By thy yearning for the human        85
Good in every man and woman,
By each noble deed and word
That thy story-books record,
And each noble sentiment
Dickens to the world hath lent,        90
By the effort thou hast made
Truth and true reform to aid,
By thy hope of man’s relief
Finally from want and grief,
By thy never-failing trust        95
That the God of love is just,—
We would meet and welcome thee,
Preacher of humanity:
Welcome fills the throbbing breast
Of the sympathetic West.        100
 
 
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