In time or eternity I have no place,
by Josias Homely
I have neither beginning nor end ;
In earth I'm unseen—I live not in space,
Yet without me the world cannot stand.
I live not in darkness—I live not in light.
With the sun I have nothing to do ;
I'm seen not in day time—I'm seen not in nighty
And yet I'm brought roundly to view.
I'm neither the first nor the last of my race,
But first in obedience I stand;
And when I am wanted they all will give place ;
I'm next to the first in command.
I reside in the moon and all men descry—
Here the sage and the simple agree,
That once in a month, to a fanciful eye.
He displays a bright likeness of me.
I'm always attach'd to an Emperor's suit,
And I sit in the midst of his throne ;
Yet I always pertain to the mendicant's foot.
And live in the heart of a stone.
I'm confined with the convict though nought to his fear,
I add much to his sorrow and gloom ;
Near the end of his pardon I'm sure to appear,
Though I twice may have voted his doom.
I live in the lock though I touch not the key,
I always am half of the door;
I've nothing to do with the carpet so gay.
Though I form the chief part of the floor ;
I never was in an enigma before,
A rebus, a riddle, charade ;
Yet clear, or obscure, or witty, or poor.
Without me no riddles are made.
You say you are round, and have not an end,
In eternity not e'en a trace ;
But proudly with Emperors always you wend,
And find with all poets a place !—
Alas ! all your clamour is childish and strange.
When we know you'll be here by to-morrow,
With conduct most vile, as in person you range.
With the very worst portion of sorrow !
You live not in earth, and you live not in heaven,
But with demons take up your abode j
In the regions below your appearance is given,
And Pluto has thee in his code.
'Tis true, you are round as a globular girth.
And in ocean have claims to command ;
But no hypocrite lives without you at his birth,
And Britons speak much of thy hand !—
Has not woe chain'd you up ? are you not in its pow'r?
Could mortality be but for thee ?
For shame with you now—you are in each hour.
And Homely thy boasting shall be !
Where you not in his frown when the Godhead decreed,
The deluge and all its sad gloom ?
Did you not guide the flood in its mightiest speed ?
And loudly rejoice in the doom ?
You ride in the storm when the keen lightnings flash
O'er the forest to rend down the oak ;
Each cloud has your care, and when thunderbolts crash,
Thou formest a part of their stroke !—
Away ! every fool has your friendship to claim,
With boasters you always reside :
Thank heaven there's no union with thine and my name,
You are found not with parent nor bride !
Even happiness spurns you, and talent repels
All knowledge of things thou dost own ;
With scorn you are viewed, and each sad bosom tells
Your share in misfortune is known !—
You are loud with your tongue -yet condemned you await
As a fag on all robbers—and so,
As orphans you make and poor widows create ;
I wish you good bye—letter O !