THE HALF-HUNDRED
by James Bruton (1806 - 1867) Up the stairs, up the stairs, Up the stairs, onward! Joe took, all out of breath, Coals, half a hundred! Up he went, still as death, Lest they had wonder'd That I, with cellar large, Bought by the 'Hundred'! 'Forward! The light evade; Let 'em not know,' I said: 'Glide up as still as death With the 'Half-hundred'. Let them be gently laid! No sound as by earthquakes made When the ground's sunder'd! You here, if one should spy, Wond'ring the reason why, I with the shame should die! So crawl up still as death, With the 'Half-hundred'.' A cat on the right of him! Cat on the left of him! Cat at the front of him! What if he blunder'd? Slipt his foot! Clean he fell! Came then a horrid yell! Joe look'd as pale as death, As down they came pell-mell, All the 'Half-hundred'! Out popp'd the 'party' there! Wond'ring what meant that ere Noise on the landing-stair! All stood and wonder'd! Dust-clouds of coal and coke! O! such a dreadful smoke Made them all nearly choke! As from the second floor Roll'd the 'Half-hundred'! Voices at right of him! Voices at left of him! Voices behind him! Question'd and thunder'd! Shrunk I into my shell; Ah! how my grandeur fell! Knowing that (thought a 'swell') I was thus found to buy Coals by the 'Hundred'. How does one's glory fade, When there an end is made At what the world wonder'd! Ne'er from my mind will fade That awkward mess we made Of the 'Half-hundred'!
The end