A Tennyson Fragment

So in the village inn the poet dwelt.
His honey-dew was gone; only the pouch,
His cousin's work, her empty labour, left.
But still he sniffed it, still a fragrance clung
And lingered all about the broidered flowers.
Then came his landlord, saying in broad Scotch,
`Smoke plug, mon,' whom he looked at doubtfully.
Then came the grocer saying, `Hae some twist
At tippence,' whom he answered with a qualm.
But when they left him to himself again,
Twist, like a fiend's breath from a distant room
Diffusing through the passage, crept; the smell
Deepening had power upon him, and he mixt
His fancies with the billow-lifted bay
Of Biscay, and the rollings of a ship.

And on that night he made a little song,
And called his song `The Song of Twist and Plug,'
And sang it; scarcely could he make or sing.

`Rank is black plug, though smoked in wind and rain;
And rank is twist, which gives no end of pain;
I know not which is ranker, no, not I.

`Plug, art thou rank? then milder twist must be;
Plug, thou art milder: rank is twist to me.
O twist, if plug be milder, let me buy.

`Rank twist, that seems to make me fade away,
Rank plug, that navvies smoke in loveless clay,
I know not which is ranker, no, not I.

`I fain would purchase flake, if that could be;
I needs must purchase plug, ah, woe is me!
Plug and a cutty, a cutty, let me buy.

by Robert Fuller Murray

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