The Reckoning

YOUR thought may recur with mine
To a certain place in the city,
Where you sometimes have chanced to dine ;
If not, why, the more’s the pity !

Did you notice the delicate way
Whereby, with the trencher and cup,
Comes a hint of the matter of pay,
In a counter laid blank side up ?

Now,—not to pervert the intent
Of a courtesy gentle and rare,
Or observance so civilly meant
With disparaging things to compare,—

By the token your messenger brings,
Did such services never suggest
A likeness to manifold things
Of the world, and the flesh, and—the rest?

Command whatsoever you will,
To pamper your folly or pride ;
You shall find, that unfailingly, still,
The counter is laid beside,

Silently,—seemingly fair,—
Till an angel the disk shall turn,
And the soul’s great debt, the inscription there,
On her vision shall burst and burn !