Serious? You laugh; — you may: that will I not;
My smiles must be sincere or not at all.
I say I do believe a haunted spot
Exists — and where? That shall I not recall,
Because I 'd rather it should be forgot,
'Shadows the soul of Richard' may appal.
In short, upon that subject I 've some qualms very
Like those of the philosopher of Malmsbury.
The night (I sing by night — sometimes an owl,
And now and then a nightingale) is dim,
And the loud shriek of sage Minerva's fowl
Rattles around me her discordant hymn:
Old portraits from old walls upon me scowl —
I wish to heaven they would not look so grim;
The dying embers dwindle in the grate —
I think too that I have sate up too late:
And therefore, though 't is by no means my way
To rhyme at noon — when I have other things
To think of, if I ever think — I say
I feel some chilly midnight shudderings,
And prudently postpone, until mid-day,
Treating a topic which, alas! but brings
Shadows; — but you must be in my condition
Before you learn to call this superstition.