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

William Cosmo Monkhouse (1840–1901)

Any Soul to Any Body

SO we must part, my body, you and I,

Who’ve spent so many pleasant years together!

’Tis sorry work to lose your company

Who clove to me so close, whate’er the weather,

From winter unto winter, wet or dry;

But you have reached the limit of your tether,

And I must journey on my way alone,

And leave you quietly beneath a stone.

They say that you are altogether bad

(Forgive me, ’tis not my experience),

And think me very wicked to be sad

At leaving you, a clod, a prison, whence

To get quite free I should be very glad.

Perhaps I may be so, some few days hence;

But now, methinks, ’twere graceless not to spend

A tear or two on my departing friend.

Now our long partnership is near completed,

And I look back upon its history,

I greatly fear I have not always treated

You with the honesty you showed to me.

And I must own that you have oft defeated

Unworthy schemes by your sincerity,

And by a blush or stammering tongue have tried

To make me think again before I lied.

’Tis true you’re not so handsome as you were,

But that’s not your fault and is partly mine,—

You might have lasted longer with more care,

And still looked something like your first design;

And even now, with all your wear and tear,

’Tis pitiful to think I must resign

You to the friendless grave, the patient prey

Of all the hungry legions of decay.

But you must stay, dear body, and I go.

And I was once so very proud of you!

You made my mother’s eyes to overflow

When first she saw you, wonderful and new.

And now, with all your faults, ’twere hard to find

A slave more willing or a friend more true:

Ay—even they who say the worst about you

Can scarcely tell what I shall do without you.