EXCELSIOR

EXCELSIOR

The shades of night had almost fled

As through a Cavan village sped

A youth who bore upon his tric –

Ycle this somewhat strange device –

                                                          “Excelsior.”

The spokes were polished up, each one,

Gleamed as it caught the rising sun,

And flashed with nickel-plated sheen,

The axles of that strange machine –

                                                          “Excelsior.”

“Don’t be an ass,” the old man cried,

“The Cavan hills are hard to ride,

Take my advice and get a car.”

A voice responded from afar –

                                                          “Excelsior.”

“Oh, stay,” the maiden said, “and rest.

Of course you know your business best,

But why you toil the live-long day –

I can’t conceive, nor why you say –

                                                          “Excelsior.”

“Fair maid,” the youth replied, “I would

That I could stay with thee for good.

But ah, my worldly wealth is small,

And so I must obey the call –

                                                          “Excelsior.”

“Begob,” ‘twas thus the peasant spoke,

“But that’s the quarest sort o’ yoke.

I beg your pardon, sir but might –“

A voice replied far up the height –

                                                          “Excelsior.”

What motive urged his flying feet?

A rendezvous with maiden sweet?

– Alas, ‘tis time that I reveal

The secret of thy triple wheel –

                                                          “Excelsior.”

Methinks it was the greed of gain

Which urged him thus across the plain.

No rest thy wheels may know the while

They pay him eighteen pence per mile –

                                                          “Excelsior.”

French, Percy. (1980) ‘Prose, Poems & Parodies.’  Dublin, Helicon Limited