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Fuess and Stearns, comps. The Little Book of Society Verse. 1922.

By. James Russell Lowell

Without and Within

MY coachman, in the moonlight there,

Looks through the side-light of the door;

I hear him with his brethren swear,

As I could do,—only but more.

Flattening his nose against the pane,

He envies me my brilliant lot,

Breathes on his aching fists in vain,

And dooms me to a place more hot.

He sees me in to supper go,

A silken wonder by my side,

Bare arms, bare shoulders, and a row

Of flounces, for the door too wide.

He thinks how happy is my arm

’Neath its white-gloved and jewelled load;

And wishes me some dreadful harm,

Hearing the merry corks explode.

Meanwhile I inly curse the bore

Of hunting still the same old coon,

And envy him, outside the door,

In golden quiets of the moon.

The winter wind is not so cold

As the bright smile he sees me win,

Nor the host’s oldest wine so old

As our poor gabble sour and thin.

I envy him the ungyved prance

With which his freezing feet he warms,

And drag my lady’s-chains and dance

The galley-slave of dreary forms.

Oh, could he have my share of din,

And I his quiet!—past a doubt

’T would still be one man bored within,

And just another bored without.

Nay, when, once paid my mortal fee,

Some idler on my headstone grim

Traces the moss-blurred name, will he

Think me the happier, or I him?