Monday, September 16, 2013

A Ballade of a Choice of Ghosts

Ballade of a Choice of Ghosts

Now which are you anxious to see,
A Bogie, a Sprite, or a Gnome?
If a Spectre should drop in to tea,
Would you like him to find us at home?
Or a Mermaid with mirror and comb;
In her have you plenary faith?
Or a lemur of classical Rome
Or a common respectable Wraith?

There’s the Vampire, or a Broukolak├«,
From his grave in old Greece hath he clomb
But perhaps he might bite us, and we
Should be forced in his fashion to roam;
Or a djinn from a mussulman dome –
He might work such unlimited scathe
That we’d all turn as yellow as chrome –
Or a common respectable Wraith!

From the Ghost of our youth would you flee,
In his shroud that is dabbled with loam?
Or a faithful ancestral Banshee?
Or a martyr from some catacomb?
Or a Wizard with magical lome,
Whom his cerements becomingly swathe?
Or a Wili as fair as the foam?
Or a common respectable Wraith?

ENVOY
Oh, the gloaming’s beginning to gloam,
And (if Scotch is allowed) I am “laith”
To encounter a Bogie or Gnome,
Or a common respectable Wraith!

--Andrew Lang.

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