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Cornucopia  (1858) 
by Christopher Pearse Cranch

Featured in Vol 1., No.5 of The Atlantic Monthly, 1858.


There's a lodger lives on the first floor,
    (My lodgings are up in the garret,)
  At night and at morn he taketh a horn
    And calleth his neighbors to share it,--
  A horn so long, and a horn so strong,
    I wonder how they can bear it.

  I don't mean to say that he drinks,
    For that were a joke or a scandal;
  But, every one knows it, he night and day blows it;--
    I wish he'd blow out like a candle!
  His horn is so long, and he blows it so strong,
    He would make Handel fly off the handle.

  By taking a horn I don't hint
    That he swigs either rum, gin, or whiskey;
  It's we who drink in his din worse than gin,
    His strains that attempt to be frisky,
  But are grievously sad.--A donkey, I add,
    Is as musical, braying in his key.

  It's a puzzle to know what he's at;
    I could pity him, if it were madness:
  I never yet knew him to play a tune through,
    And it gives me more anger than sadness
  To hear his horn stutter and stammer to utter
    Its various abortions of badness.

  At his wide open window he stands,
    Overlooking his bit of a garden;
  One can see the great ass at one end of his brass
    Blaring out, never asking your pardon:
  This terrible blurting he thinks is not hurting,
    As long as his own ear-drums harden.

  He thinks, I've no doubt, it is sweet,
    While thus Time and Tune he is flaying;
  The little house-sparrows feel all through their marrows
    The jar and the fuss of his playing,--
  The windows all shaking, the babies all waking,
    The very dogs howling and baying.

  One note out of twenty he hits,
    And, cheered, blows pianos like fortes.
  His time is his own. He goes sounding alone,
    (A sort of Columbus or Cortés,)
  On a perilous ocean, without any notion
    Whereabouts in the dim deep his port is.

  Like a man late from club, he has lost
    His key, and around stumbles moping,
  Touching this, trying that, now a sharp, now a flat,
    Till he strikes on the note he is hoping,
  And a terrible blare at the end of the air
    Shows he's got through at last with his groping.

  There,--he's finished,--at least, for a while;
    He is tired, or come to his senses;
  And out of his horn shakes the drops that were borne
    By the winds of his musical frenzies.
  There's a rest, thank our stars, of ninety-nine bars,
    Ere the tempest of sound recommences.

  When all the bad players are sent
    Where all their false notes are protested,
  I am sure that Old Nick will play him a trick,
    When his bad trump and he are arrested,
  And down in the regions of Discord's own legions
    His head with two French horns be crested.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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