O, witty master of the flea,
Twas in St. Paul’s years past I did you see
And gloried that I’d come to stand
And look on whom I’d read in foreign land.
Both pale and silent, you looked out
On many visitors who milled about,
But few to you respects did pay
As I made sure to do that years-gone day–
And to my shame, alas! I could not stay.
Other masters, I have read,
And their verses ring yet in my head,
Yet yours of twin bloods’ pamper’d swell
Remains in mind; I do yet know it well,
And teach it every chance I get.
It strikes the students near where they are set
And shows them more than most the glee
That comes in reading older things; they see
That structured words might their minds free.
So, though my studies take me back
Before your time, yet your words, I’d not lack,
So glad am I to’ve read your verse–
The words that, even now, I would rehearse.
I thank you, then, whose work is done
And turn to mine that’s scarce begun
That I might serve as I’ve been served
And in time come to find praise well deserved
And, like you, thought of me be well preserved.