Quaint and Curious - Parodies and Pastiches of Poe's The Raven

The Tankard

Mirth and Metre 1855

Sitting in my lonely chamber, in this dreary, dark December,
Gazing on the whitening ashes of my fastly-fading fire,
Pond’ring o’er my misspent chances with that grief which time enhances—
Misdirected application, wanting aims and objects higher,—
Aims to which I should aspire.
As I sat thus wond’ring, thinking, fancy unto fancy linking,
In the half-expiring embers many a scene and form I traced—
Many a by-gone scene of gladness, yielding now but care and sadness,—
Many a form once fondly cherished, now by misery’s hand effaced,—
Forms which Venus’ self had graced.
Suddenly, my system shocking, at my door there came a knocking,
Loud and furious, — such a rat-tat never had I heard before;
Through the keyhole I stood peeping, heart into my mouth upleaping,
Till at length, my teeth unclenching, faintly said I, “What a bore!”
Gently, calmly, teeth unclenching, faintly said I, “What a bore!”
Said the echo, “Pay your score!”
At this solemn warning trembling, some short time I stood dissembling,
Till again the iron knocker beat its summons ’gainst the door,
Then, the oak wide open throwing, stood I on the threshold bowing—
Bows such as, save motley tumbler, mortal never bowed before,
Bows which even Mr. Flexmore never yet had tried before.
Said the echo, “Pay your score!”
Grasping then the light, upstanding, looked I round the dreary landing,
Looked at every wall, the ceiling, looked upon the very floor;
Nought I saw there but a Tankard, from the which that night I’d drank hard,—
Drank as drank our good forefathers in the merry days of yore.
In the corner stood the Tankard, where it oft had stood before,
Stood and muttered, “Pay your score!”
Much I marvelled at this pewter, surely ne’er in past or future
Has been, will be, such a wonder, such a Tankard learned in lore?
Gazing at it more intensely, stared I more and more immensely
When it added, “Come old boy, you’ve many a promise made before,
False they were as John O’Connell’s who would ‘die upon the floor.’
Now for once — come, pay your score!”
From my placid temper starting, and upon the Tankard darting
With one furious hurl I flung it down before the porter’s door;
But as I my oak was locking, heard I then the self-same knocking,
And on looking out I saw the Tankard sitting as before,—
Sitting, squatting in the self-same corner as it sat before,—
Sitting, crying, “Pay your score!”
And the Tankard, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
In the very self-same corner where it sat in days of yore:
And its pewter still is shining, and it bears the frothy lining,
Which the night when first I drained its cooling beverage it bore,
But my mouth that frothy lining never, never tasted more,
Since it muttered, “Pay your score!”

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