A Midsummer Night's Dream

Midsummer Night, whose dream we knew
Is gone with that great Summer's gleams
And better words could better show
Midwinter has its nights and dreams;
Memories of many friends could bring
Not I alone, the clumsiest,
But better mummers of our masque
This Tribute to the best.

We never trod that stage again
On narrower boards of Burnham Hall,
But livelier steps the rest might head
To a more punctual bugle-call;
And even more resplendant Moon
Might lead a more obedient Dog
And someone else could act the Duke
And I would act the Log.

But one above us, poised secure
A final act unschooled by time.
The ruler of the elfin stage
The genius of the pantomime,
The winter plays are off; nor yet
Shall Robin Hood exalt his horn
Not yet out of the wood—nor in it.
The Babes are Babes unborn.

Yet, as you bear with lenient laughter,
The clowns that to your portals come,
The waits who will not wait for Christmas,
The Mummers who are far from mum;
Take with such tolerance of these rhymes
Our love, that equals art with art;
You, who in better things than mumming,
Can choose the better part.
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