Song (“Old Adam…”)

Old Adam, the carrion crow,
   The old crow of Cairo;
He sat in the shower, and let it flow
   Under his tail and over his crest;
      And through every feather
      Leaked the wet weather;
   And the bough swung under his nest;
   For his beak it was heavy with marrow.
      Is that the wind dying? O no;
      It’s only two devils, that blow
      Through a murderer’s bones, to and fro,
         In the ghosts’ moonshine.

Ho! Eve, my grey carrion wife,
   When we have supped on kings’ marrow,
Where shall we drink and make merry our life?
   Our nest it is queen Cleopatra’s skull,
      ’Tis cloven and cracked,
      And battered and hacked,
   But with tears of blue eyes it is full:
   Let us drink then, my raven of Cairo.
      Is that the wind dying? O no;
      It’s only two devils, that blow
      Through a murderer’s bones, to and fro,
         In the ghosts’ moonshine.

[Kelsall, 1851]