London Types: Beef-Eater by William Ernest Henley

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His beat lies knee-high through a dust of story-
A dust of terror and torture, grief and crime;
Ghosts that are England’s wonder, and shame, and glory
Throng where he walks, an antic of old time;
A sense of long immedicable tears
Were ever with him, could his ears but heed;
The stern Hic Jacets of our bloodiest years
Are for his reading, had he eyes to read,
But here, where Crookback raged, and Cranmer trimmed,
And More and Strafford faced the axe’s proving,
He shows that Crown the desperate Colonel nimmed,
Or simply keeps the Country Cousin moving,
Or stays such Cockney pencillers as would shame
The wall where some dead Queen hath traced her name.

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