Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/283

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

The loving heart that fed the merry eye,
The genial wit whose well ran never dry.
Lord! how he ruled us with an iron rod
That melted into laughter with his nod!

Just hear him scold that ribald songster's note,
With fun all beaming from his dear "club coat,"
Just see the smiling thunder on his brow
At some persistent rebel. Hear him: "Now
This club must come to order. Boys, for shame!
I say there, Pascoe! I shall call your name."

Oh, dear old friend! Death could not take away
The fragrant memory of that happy day!
We speak not sadly, when we speak of you:
Nay, rather smile, as you would have us do.
We think you do not quite forget us here ;
We feel to-night your kindred spirit near.
We pray "God rest you, loving soul!" and pray
Such love to have when we have passed away.
Old joys, no doubt, are magnified through tears
But God be with those unpretentious years!

Fast spins the top! That golden time outran
Too swift, too soon. And now another man
To head the board must from the board be drawn.
Oh, varied choice! Some vote for brain, some brawn;
Some, skill to rule; some, eloquence to speak;
Some, moral excellence, some, zeal; some, cheek:
That one an artist wants—a poet, this;
And each proposal met with cheer and hiss—
Till from the table rose a sightly head,
A Jove-like dignity, white beard outspread.
He spoke for hours—and while he spoke they wrote.
Their choice unanimous—he got the vote!
Dear Underwood! they chose him for his beard:
He ruled for years, and each year more endeared.

Then came another gulf without a bridge:
And who shall stretch from annual ridge to ridge?
A sound was heard—the Club with searching stare
Beheld a figure standing on a chair:
'Twas Rogers— Henry M.; well posed he stood.
Head bent, lips pursed,—a studious attitude.