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Short poem

Herman Melville (1819-1891)

The Bench of Boors

              1In bed I muse on Tenier's boors,
              2Embrowned and beery losels all:
              3    A wakeful brain
              4    Elaborates pain:
              5Within low doors the slugs of boors
              6Laze and yawn and doze again.

              7In dreams they doze, the drowsy boors,
              8Their hazy hovel warm and small:
              9    Thought's ampler bound
            10    But chill is found:
            11Within low doors the basking boors
            12Snugly hug the ember-mound.

            13Sleepless, I see the slumberous boors
            14Their blurred eyes blink, their eyelids fall:
            15    Thought's eager sight
            16    Aches -- overbright!
            17Within low doors the boozy boors
            18Cat-naps take in pipe-bowl light.


1] Tenier: David Teniers the Younger (1610-90), a Netherlands painter whose work Melville had seen when he was in Amsterdam at the museum.

2] losels: good-for-nothings.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Collected Poems of Herman Melville, ed. Howard P. Vincent (Chicago: Packard, 1947): 229-30. PS 2382 V5 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1891
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2003
Recent editing: 1:2003/6/2

Rhyme: abccac

Other poems by Herman Melville