More Cricket Songs - Part 3

Part 3

There we stood by his grave together, Out in the stiff autumnal weather, Many a mate of splice and leather, After his innings; All on a day of misty yellow Watching in pain a grabbing fellow, Death, who diddles both young and mellow, Pocket his winnings.


Dear Tom, I do not like your look, Your brows are (see the poets) bent; You're biting hard on Tedium's hook, You're jaundiced, crumpled, footled, spent.

What's worse, so mischievous your state You have no pluck to try and trick it.

Here! Cram this cap upon your pate And come with me to Doctor Cricket!

Don't eye decanters on the shelf.

Your tongue's already thick with fur!

Up, heart! and be your own dear self As when we chummed at Winchester.

Destroy these pasteboard dancing girls; This theatre-bubble, come, Tom, p.r.i.c.k it!

Love more the off and leg-break curls Arranged for us by Doctor Cricket!

You feel worn out at twenty-two?

Your day's a thing of thirst and gloom?

Old chap, of course I'll see you through, But--drop that rot about the tomb!

Let's overhaul your bag. A pair Of n.o.ble bats to guard a wicket!

Out, Friend, to breathe the sunny air, And wring the hand of Doctor Cricket!

Be healed; and shun the flabby gang That tricked your taste with cards and drink, When out of independence sprang A silly downfall. Think, Tom, think!

While stupid lads debase their worth In feather-headed Folly's thicket, Get back your muscle and your mirth Beneath the eye of Doctor Cricket!


'Tis sometimes Fortune's little joke With vinegar to brim the cup; And on the gra.s.s this fickle La.s.s Makes pennies come the wrong side up.

But though a Head instead of Tail Is sure to greet my anxious call, 'Tis better to have tossed, And lost, Than never to have tossed at all.

To do our best in spite of luck, To stop or gallop for the drive, To seek our fun in bronzing sun, Shall cause both head and heart to thrive.

And though the penny's face I choose That next the turf is bound to fall, 'Tis better to have tossed, And lost, Than never to have tossed at all.

For though we field the whole day long Hope's spark refuses to expire; A wily lob's successful job At once renews the slackening fire.

Be Spartan, then! Crave not to flirt With Tennis and her female ball!

'Tis better to have tossed, And lost, Than never to have tossed at all.


The Major, till the paper comes, Is by a hundred fidgets shaken; Upon the tablecloth he drums, Condemns the toast, pooh-poohs the bacon: But when at last the boy arrives, Not his to scan the market prices; Though liner sinks or palace burns, The Major lives by rule, and turns To cricket first, and then the crisis.

Though getting grey and rather stiff, The Major loves a long day's outing, And gives a military sniff When lads complain of lengthy scouting.

Each summer morn at break of day From bed before the lark he tumbles, And if the mercury be vile There carries nearly half a mile The Indian vigour of his grumbles.

When winter brings its snow and ice, As well as divers pains and twinges, The Major's language gathers spice, And oftentimes his temper singes.

On Christmas day he oils his bats, And, on the crimson hearthrug scoring, Through Fancy's slips he cuts the ball, Or lifts her over Fancy's wall, Till all the ghostly ring is roaring!

And when at length the day is near For Death to bowl the Major's wicket, (The Major swears he has no fear That Paradise is short of cricket!) If in the time of pad and crease His soul receives its last advices, With final paper on his bed I know the Major will be wed To cricket first--and then the crisis!


She understands the game no more Than savages the sun's eclipse; For all she knows the bowler throws, And Square-Leg stands among the Slips: And when in somersaults a stump Denotes a victim of the game, Her lovely throat begets a lump, Her cheeks with indignation flame.

She scarce can keep her seat, and longs To cheer the fallen hero's fate; Her fingers clench upon the bench As if it were the Trundler's pate!

Because this rascal's on the spot Her pa.s.sion fails to be concealed; She asks me why the wretch is not Immediately turned off the field.

But if the batsmen force the pace, From me she quickly takes her cue; Perceives the fun of stolen run, The overthrow that makes it two.

And as the ball bombards the fence, Or rattles on the Scorers' hut, She claps with me the Drive immense, And prettily applauds the Cut.

Divided at the heart, I seek With skill to serve a double call: Though great the Game, it were a shame To miss her bosom's rise-and-fall.

Cupid and Cricket, unafraid, Must sink their dread of partnership, Nor fear to join as stock-in-trade The boxwood bail, the honeyed lip.

Time was when bigotry compelled A total worship of the game, Before the test had pierced my breast, Before the Idol-breaker came.

But suddenly the sky let down, Escaped from heaven in pink and gold, A child to conquer by her gown The sport so starkly loved of old.

Sweet are her little cries, and sweet The puzzled look her forehead wears; For all she knows the Umpire goes Away to Leg to say his prayers.

And yet, so velvety her eyes, I even find a charm in this, And think, How foolish to be wise When Ada's ignorance is bliss!


What nonsense, Charles!

Though rather stiff, And foreign from the style of Twenty, There's still enough of cricket stuff Remaining for the pastime. Plenty!

Why, such a creed as now you preach Is only fit for scoffs and jeers; Wait till you lose your wind and reach-- Wait till you come to fifty years.

What nonsense, Charles!

You still can put The figures up by bounds and leaps, Sir; There's little myth about the pith You carry in your muscle. Heaps, Sir!

Not yet the camp-stool period comes, With feelings precious close to tears; Still at your choice the leather hums-- Wait till you total fifty years.

What nonsense, Charles!

In you I see-- You, lord of curl on shaven plots, Sir-- A magazine of Fourers clean Prepared to bruise the railings. Lots, Sir!

I have a dog's-eared birthday list That makes me mock your silly fears And hope for centuries from your wrist-- Wait till you come to fifty years.