Dicky by

Mother

Oh, what a heavy sigh!
Dicky, are you ailing?

Dicky

Even by this fireside, mother,
My heart is failing.

To-night across the down,
Whistling and jolly,
I sauntered out from town
With my stick of holly.

Bounteous and cool from sea
The wind was blowing,
Cloud shadows under the moon
Coming and going.

I sang old roaring songs,
Ran and leaped quick,
And turned home by St. Swithin's
Twirling my stick.

And there as I was passing
The churchyard gate
An old man stopped me, 'Dicky,
You're walking late.'

I did not know the man,
I grew afeared
At his lean lolling jaw,
His spreading beard.

His garments old and musty,
Of antique cut,
His body very lean and bony,
His eyes tight shut.

Oh, even to tell it now
My courage ebbs…
His face was clay, mother,
His beard, cobwebs.

In that long horrid pause
'Good-night,' he said,
Entered and clicked the gate,
'Each to his bed.'

Mother

Do not sigh or fear, Dicky,
How is it right
To grudge the dead their ghostly dark
And wan moonlight?

We have the glorious sun,
Lamp and fireside.
Grudge not the dead their moonshine
When abroad they ride.

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