On the Bust of Helen by Canova
In this beloved marble view,
Above the works and thought of man
What nature could and would not, do,
And beauty and Canova can!
Beyond imagination’s power
Beyond the Bard’s defeated art,
With immortality her dower
Behold the Helen of the heart!
— George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788–1824)
My Cherrystones! I prize them,
No tongue can tell how much!
Each lady caller eyes them,
And madly longs to touch!
At eve I lift them down, I look
Upon them, and I cry;
Recalling how my Prince ‘partook’
(Sweet word) of cherry pie!
— Charles Stuart Calverly (1831–84)
A Glass Collection
Today I had a big surprise
Uncle left me eight glass eyes.
He never used the things himself —
He kept them glaring on a shelf.
And champing on the shelf beneath
Were twenty-seven sets of teeth…
The one he slipped in people’s drink
Was flecked with palest, palest pink.
He made me promise I would keep
All eight — now would you like a peep?
You would? All right, but do not feel
Them very hard, for one is real.
— Alistair Sampson (1929–2006)
Illustrated by Peter MacKarell (Hopcyn Press, £20, pp. 201, ISBN 9780957299, Spectator Bookshop, £18).