Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dark Ditties: Old Adam, the Carrion Crow

HALLOWEEN BLOGATHON 2010, HOUR 6

Thomas Lovell Beddoes was a 19th century poet with a fondness for death imagery.  The following poem comes from his Death's Jest-Book, which was published in 1850--a year after he committed suicide by poisoning.


Old Adam, the Carrion Crow
by Thomas Lovell Beddoes
Old Adam, the carrion crow,
The old crow of Cairo;
He sat in the shower, and let it flow
Under his tail and over his crest;
And through every feather
Leak'd the wet weather;
And the bough swung under his nest;
For his beak it was heavy with marrow.
Is that the wind dying? O no;
It's only two devils, that blow,
Through a murderer's bones, to and fro,
In the ghosts' moonshine.

Ho! Eve, my grey carrion wife,
When we have supped on king's marrow,
Where shall we drink and make merry our life?
Our nest it is queen Cleopatra's skull,
'Tis cloven and crack'd,
And batter'd and hack'd,
But with tears of blue eyes it is full:
Let us drink then, my raven of Cairo!
Is that the wind dying? O no;
It's only two devils, that blow
Through a murderer's bones, to and fro,
In the ghosts' moonshine.

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