Lines (“Mummies and Skeletons…”)

Mummies and skeletons, out of your stones;
   Every age, every fashion, and figure of Death:
The death of the giant with petrified bones;
   The death of the infant who never drew breath.
Little and gristly, or bony and big,
   White and clattering, grassy and yellow;
The partners are waiting, so strike up a jig,
   Dance and be merry, for Death’s a droll fellow.
The emperor and empress, the king and the queen,
   The knight and the abbot, friar fat, friar thin,
The gipsy and beggar, are met on the green;
   Where’s Death and his sweetheart? We want to begin.
In circles, and mazes, and many a figure,
   Through clouds, over chimnies and corn-fields yellow,
We’ll dance and laugh at the red-nosed grave-digger,
   Who dreams not that Death is so merry a fellow.

[Kelsall, 1851]