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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Thoughts at a Railway Station

By Charles Stuart Calverley (1831–1884)

’TIS but a box, of modest deal;

Directed to no matter where:

Yet down my cheek the teardrops steal—

Yes, I am blubbering like a seal;

For on it is this mute appeal,

“With care.”

I am a stern cold man, and range

Apart: but those vague words “With care”

Wake yearnings in me sweet as strange:

Drawn from my moral Moated Grange,

I feel I rather like the change

Of air.

Hast thou ne’er seen rough pointsmen spy

Some simple English phrase—“With care”

Or “This side uppermost”—and cry

Like children? No? No more have I.

Yet deem not him whose eyes are dry

A bear.

But ah! what treasure hides beneath

That lid so much the worse for wear?

A ring perhaps—a rosy wreath—

A photograph by Vernon Heath—

Some matron’s temporary teeth

Or hair!

Perhaps some seaman, in Peru

Or Ind, hath stowed herein a rare

Cargo of birds’-eggs for his Sue;

With many a vow that he’ll be true,

And many a hint that she is too—

Too fair.

Perhaps—but wherefore vainly pry

Into the page that’s folded there?

I shall be better by-and-by:

The porters, as I sit and sigh,

Pass and repass—I wonder why

They stare!