SCROOGE and MARLEY (Deceased)
A POEM by Paul Curtis
BASED ON THE STORY by
Charles Dickens “A CHRISTMAS CAROL”
STAVE 2 - THE FIRST OF THE THREE SPIRITS
VERSE 1 - AWAKENING
It was so dark when scrooge awoke from his slumber
That he could scarcely see across his bedchamber
He was trying to pierce the dark with ferret eyes
And he peered out the window at the darkened skies
When he was startled by the church clock chimes
As it suddenly struck out the quarters all Four times
With the sound reverberating from the church tower
Scrooge listened for the great clock to strike the hour
To his great astonishment the heavy bell went on
From six to seven to eight, and regularly past eleven
In fact it struck all the way to twelve then silence
Twelve? It was two when he retired it made no sense
The clock must be wrong and most probably it was broken
Ice must have got into the works if he was not mistaken
Twelve? Scrooge touched the spring of his repeater
To correct this most preposterous public chronometer
The repeater’s rapid little pulse beat twelve and ceased
"Why, it isn't possible," He said with forehead creased
"That I can have slept through a whole day, it isn’t right
And furthermore that I should sleep far into another night
It isn't possible anything has happened to the sun
And it’s twelve at noon." This idea was an alarming one
He could see nor hear signs of life on the street below
After he had rubbed the frost off his bedroom window
If it were noon there would be people making their way
Unquestionably if night had beaten off bright day
Scrooge went to bed again, and thought, and thought
And thought it over and over and over as best he ought
The more he thought, the more perplexed he became
The more he tried not to think, he thought all the same
Jacob Marley's Ghost still bothered him exceedingly
When he thought of him a chill ran up his back icily
He resolved within himself that it was all a dream
And that things could not possibly be as they seem
His mind flew back, like a strong spring released
"Was it a dream or not?" his uneasiness hadn’t ceased
Scrooge lay restless and uneasy in his four poster bed
Then Ebeneezer suddenly recalled what Marley had said
He warned him of a visitation when the bell tolled one
He resolved to stay awake until the thing was done
"Ding, dong!” “A quarter past," said Scrooge, counting.
"Ding dong!" "Half past!" said Scrooge almost shouting
"Ding dong!" "A quarter to it," Scrooge said nervously
"Ding dong!" "The hour itself," he said triumphantly
"And nothing else!" He spoke before the hour was done
Which it then did with a deep, hollow, melancholy one
Suddenly light filled the room bright as dawn
And his bed curtains were simultaneously drawn
VERSE 2 – AN UNEARTHLY VISITATION
Scrooge was startled into a half-recumbent position
Found himself face to face with an unearthly visitation
It was a strange figure almost like a child yet not so
And almost like a very old man but not one though
The odd figure was certainly of child like proportion
Yet it was a muscular and athletic looking apparition
It had long flowing hair which was white as if with age
The beings general demeanor was that of an old sage
Yet the face had not a single wrinkle not even a trace
And the tenderest bloom was on the creatures face
The figure held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand
And its dress was trimmed with a summer flower band
But the oddest thing about it was the crown of light
It wore upon its head spouting a jet clear and bright
And by the crown on its head everything was visible
But it carried a cap to make the light extinguishable
"Are you the Spirit whose coming was foretold to me?"
Asked Scrooge "I Am." The soft voice replied gently
"What are you?" "I’m the Ghost of Christmas Past"
"Long Past?" inquired Scrooge curtly "No your past."
Scrooge had a special desire to see the cap on the Spirit
Over the illuminating light and begged him to cover it
"Would you so soon put out the light I give right now?
Eternally for such as you, I wear it low upon my brow!"
Scrooge disclaimed all intention of offending the spirit
Or any knowledge of having made him wear a bonnet
Then boldly inquired what business brought him there.
The ghostly apparition calmly replied "Your welfare"
Regarding his welfare Scrooge thought what was best
Was without a doubt a long night of unbroken rest
He soon realized that his thoughts The Spirit could read
For it then said "Your reclamation, then so Take heed"
It put out its strong hand and clasped Scrooge gently
Taking his arm as he said "Rise And walk with me"
Ebeneezer Scrooge was reluctant to leave his warm bed
The grasp, gentle as a woman’s was not to be resisted
He was a little alarmed wearing only his nightclothes
When the spirit led him in the direction of the windows
He clasped his robe in supplication "I am just a mortal,"
“Please spirit” Scrooge remonstrated "I’m liable to fall"
The spirit said "Bear a touch of my hand on your heart,"
"And you shall be upheld in more than this lest we part."
They passed through the wall as the words were spoken
And stood on a road with fields and all around was open
VERSE 3 - SCHOOLDAYS
The city had entirely vanished Nothing was to be seen
The darkness and the mist had gone and all was clean
There was no bustle and there was barely a sound
It was a clear, winter day, with snow on the ground
"Heavens" said Scrooge, clasping his hands together
As he looked around "I was bred here I was a boy here"
The Spirit watched him mildly, as he was absorbing
The sights and sounds and smells that he was sensing
"Your lip is trembling," it said Scrooge couldn’t speak
The ghost continued "And what is that upon your cheek?"
Scrooge only muttered, An unusual catch in his voice
He begged the Ghost to lead him to a place of his choice
"You recollect the way?" inquired the amused Spirit
Ebeneezer Scrooge cried with fervor "Remember it?"
"I could walk it blindfolded I know it so well spirit"
Scrooge then again cried with fervor "Remember it!"
"Strange then to have forgotten it for so many years,"
The Ghost said, "Lets go on, you know the way it appears”
They walked along the road the snow white and crunchy
And Scrooge recognized every gate, and post, and tree
Then in the distance vale a little market town appeared
With its bridge, its church, and a river wound and veered
Some shaggy ponies now were seen trotting their way
With boys on their backs, and they were happy and gay
They called to other boys in country gigs and buggy
All the boys were in such great spirits shouting happily
"These are but shadows of the things that have been,"
Said the Ghost. "As real as they are we cannot be seen”
The jocund travelers came in view and then were gone
As they came Scrooge knew and named every one
Ebeneezer was filled with joy as he stood to listen
It made his old heart glad and his cold eye glisten
He wondered why he was filled with such gladness
When they wished each other a Merry Christmas
As they all parted at the cross-roads and-bye ways
Heading for their homes for the Christmas holidays
What was a merry Christmas to Scrooge anyway?
What good had it ever done for him? He might say
"The school is not quite deserted," said the spirit.
"A solitary child, left by his friends, is left to sit"
Scrooge said he knew that And he sobbed quietly
And he and the spirit continued on the road slowly
They left the main road, by a well-remembered lane
And soon came to a mansion of red brick, dull and plain
It was quite a large house but it had seen better days
Crumbling brick and peeling paint on window bays
The walls all ran with damp and green in a mossy way
The windows were broken and everything was in decay
Fowls were clucking and strutting outside of the class
And coach-houses and sheds were over-run with grass
Throughout was a musty odor of the ancient and old
Inside of the dreary hall was poorly lit vast and cold
The Ghost and Scrooge walked silently across the hall
To a room with barely any noteworthy furnishings at all
Desks and forms filled a long bare and melancholy room
On one of the forms a lonely boy sat reading in the gloom
Scrooge sat down upon a form overcome by melancholy
And wept to see his poor forgotten self as he used to be
The Spirit touched his shoulder to comfort his distress
“How sad it is to be all alone and friendless at Christmas”
Scrooge bristled at the thought of pitying his boyhood
But then how could a mere shade ever have understood
“This youth had self reliance and strength of character
And he was never alone while he had his books there”
Scrooge said “And his friends were great and many
Ali Baba, Robinson Crusoe and Friday as good as any”
He sat down again once more overcome by melancholy
And wept to see his poor forgotten self as he used to be
"I wish," he muttered, drying his eyes with his sleeve
"But it's too late now to change that Christmas Eve"
"What ever is the matter?" asked the concerned Spirit
"Nothing," said Scrooge. "Nothing I’m happy to admit
Some boys were Caroling at my door last nightfall
I should like to have given them something that was all"
The Ghost smiled thoughtfully, waved its hand thus
Saying as it did so, "Let us see another Christmas!"
At the words Scrooge's former self grew lankier
And the room became a little darker and dirtier
But the situation remained unchanged in other ways
Alone again, with the other boys gone for the holidays
Not reading now he was despairingly pacing the floor
While old Scrooge glanced anxiously towards the door
It opened; and a little girl, much younger than the boy
Came darting in filling both old and young with joy
She put her arms about his neck tight like a mother
Kissing him she addressed him as "Dear, dear brother."
She said "I have come to bring you home dear brother!"
Clapping her hands and laughing "Home, Ebeneezer!"
"Home, little Fan?" young Ebeneezer said questioningly
"Yes! Home dear brother" said the child, brimful of glee
"Yes home, for good and all. Home, forever and ever
Father is so much kinder than he used to be Ebeneezer
That home is almost like Heaven!” Fan spoke so sweetly
“As I went to bed one night Father spoke so gently to me
That I was not afraid to ask him and indeed felt no dread
To ask once more if you may come home, and yes he said
You should and he sent me in a coach to bring you there”
She clapped her hands and laughed "Home, Ebeneezer!"
“And you're to be a man!" she said proud as a mother
"And you are never to come back here dear brother
But first, we're to be together for the whole Christmas
No one in the world will have a merriest time than us"
"You are quite a woman, little Fan!" exclaimed the boy
She clapped her hands and laughed to show her joy
Then she began to drag him, in childish eagerness
Towards the door; and he could feel her happiness
And the happy pair passed quickly through the door
And Master Scrooge's trunk was then duly called for
With the trunk tied on the carriage it was time to go
And the carriage was away spraying frost and snow
"She was Always a delicate creature”, the spirit offered
“A delicate creature whom a breath might have withered,"
"But she had a large heart!" the ghost added a complement
"So she had, you're right" cried Scrooge in total agreement
"She died a woman," said the Ghost, "And she had, children."
"One child," Ebeneezer Scrooge corrected the apparition
"Yes just one child" said the Ghost. "Your nephew! Fred"
Scrooge seemed uneasy in his mind “Yes" he said
VERSE 4 - OLD FEZZIWIG’S
They had but that moment left the school’s vicinity
And were then in the busy thoroughfares of a city
Where shadowy figures passed this way and that way
And many varied carts and coaches battle in the Grey
It was plain enough to see by the mode of decoration
In the shop windows that it was Christmas time again
But it was the evening time and all the streets were lit
Stopping by a door Scrooge was asked if he knew it
"Know it!" said Scrooge. "Was I not apprenticed there?"
They went in and saw an old gentleman sat in a chair
At the sight of the old gentleman in the Welsh wig
Scrooge cried in great excitement giving a kind of jig
"Why, it's old Fezziwig! Bless his heart alive again!"
He adjusted his waistcoat as the clock struck seven
Fezziwig looked at the clock and laid down his pen
He laughed to himself and he closed his ledger then
Laughing in a manner benevolent and comfortable
Called out loudly in a voice oily, rich, fat and jovial
"Yo ho, there! Ebeneezer! Dick!" he said in a bellow
Young apprentice Scrooge appeared with his fellow
"Dick Wilkins" said Scrooge to the Ghost "Bless me”
There he is. He was much attached to me was Dicky"
"Yo ho, boys!" said Fezziwig. "No more work to-night.
Its Christmas Eve, Dick. Christmas, Ebeneezer all right”
“So Let's have the shutters up," old Fezziwig cried
"Before you can say Jack Robinson,” he said with pride
The two boys went about their task with great vigor
Pursued by the exuberant Fezziwigs jovial figure
He skipped about offering the occasional “Hilli- ho”
Or even a “Chirrup” whereever the boys had to go
The room was completely cleared of every moveable
Floor swept, lamps trimmed and fire made as desirable
Then no sooner was the room snug and warm in there
In came a fiddler with music and climbed upon a chair
Then came Mrs. Fezziwig, smiling vast and substantial
In came the three Miss Fezziwigs, beaming and lovable
And the daughters suitors and then friends of the family
The cook and housemaid and various other employees
Until eventually the large room was full to overflowing
And the music began in earnest, which led to dancing
There was cold roast and boiled meat and beer a plenty
And the Fezziwigs danced as if they were only twenty
Shining in every part of the dance like stars in heaven
Then the ball broke up when the clock struck eleven
Either side of the door the Fezziwig took up stations
And shook hands with all offering seasons felicitations
When all the guests had departed from the premises
They wished the same to their two young apprentices
As the Fezziwigs made off chatting like they’d never stop
The lads went to their beds, which were in the back-shop
During the whole time of the unfolding merriment
His heart and soul were with his former embodiment
He corroborated everything, remembered everything
Enjoyed it all, but his agitation was the strangest thing
It was only went the boys bright faces turned away
That he remembered the spirit who lighted the way
"A small matter," it said "To fill them with gratitude."
"Small matter!" echoed Scrooge in a bemused attitude
The Spirit signed to him to listen to the two apprentices
Who were pouring out their hearts to Fezziwigs praises
Then the spirit added, "Why! Is it so praise worthy!
He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money
"It isn't that spirit" said Scrooge, heated by the remark
Speaking unconsciously like his former self as a clerk
"It isn't that, He has the power to make us happy or not
To make our working life light or burdensome in out lot
A pleasure or a toil. His words and looks could entune
The happiness he gives, is as great as if it cost a fortune"
He felt the Spirit's glance upon him and went silent
"What is the matter?" asked the Ghost in amusement
"Nothing in particular," said Scrooge quite abruptly
"Something, I think?" said the apparition insistently
"No," said Scrooge, "No. I should like to be able to
Speak to my clerk now that's all Just a word or two”
As the younger Scrooge turned down the lamps light
The older and the Ghost stood side by side in the night
"My time grows short," observed the Spirit. "Quick!"
Then were once again removed like in a magic trick
VERSE 5 – SWEET YOUNG BELLE
Again Scrooge saw himself a young man but older
A man in the prime of life but His face was harsher
It did not wear the rigid lines that his own face did
But there were signs of avarice that could not be hid
He was not alone, but sat beside a girl young and fair
Tears filled her eyes and light sparkled on them there
"It matters little," she said, softly. "Very little to you”
“Another idol has displaced me clearly in your view
And if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come
As I would have tried to do, then your idol is welcome
I have no just cause to grieve. For what you have done"
"What Idol?" he demanded she replied "A golden one."
The younger Scrooge turned away from the girl smartly
"This is the great hypocrisy of life!" he said sharply
"There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty
Yet condemns pursuit of wealth with such severity”
"You fear the world too much," she answered, gently
"All your other hopes have merged together singly
I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one
Until now Gain possessed you as It has now done?"
"What then? Even if I have grown much wiser,” he said
“I am not changed towards you." She shook her head
"Am I?" his question hung unanswered in the air
For a few moments she sat thoughtfully silent there
She said, "Our contract is an old one made long ago
Made when we were both poor and content to be so,
Until in good season we could” she continued softly
“Improve our worldly fortune by our patient industry”
You are changed. For when our contract was made
You were another man entirely Ebeneezer I’m afraid
"I was a boy," he said impatiently. “We were children”
“But you are different now to what you were then
Your own feelings tell you that this is indeed true
With all this understood Ebeneezer I can release you."
"Have I ever sought release?" Angrily he turned on her
She returned in equal measure "In words? No. Never."
"In what, then?" "In a changed nature and a spirit altered
In another different atmosphere of life” she answered
“In everything that made my love of value in your sight
And In everything that made your love of me feel right
Tell me Ebeneezer If this had never been between us,"
The girl said looking mildly at him but with steadiness
"Would you seek me out and try to win me now? Ah, no!"
He seemed to agree with her but he tried not to show
After a moments thought "You think not?" he countered
"I would gladly think otherwise if I could," she answered
"Heaven knows. When I have learned a Truth like this
I know how strong and irresistible it must be to resist.
But if you were free to-day, to-morrow, yesterday,
Can I believe you would choose a dowerless girl, say?
You who weigh everything by gain would not rebuff
In choosing her, if for a moment you were false enough
To your one guiding principle to do so, do I not know
That your repentance and regret would surely follow?”
Then she said sadly “I do; and I release you Ebeneezer
With a full heart, for the love of him you once were."
He was about to speak; but with her head turned away
She resumed. "You may have pain in this yes you may
But only for the briefest time, and then it will seem
Its memory will be dismissed as an unprofitable dream
From which it happened well that you had awoken.
So may you be happy in the life you have chosen."
Then She left him, and he stood gazing at the floor
"Spirit!" said Scrooge; "I beg you show me no more!
Conduct me home, why do you delight to torture me?"
The ghost then exclaimed "One more shadow to see!"
"No more!" cried Scrooge! “I don't wish to see it!
Show me no more! I beg of you oh merciful spirit"
VERSE 6 – MATRONLY BELLE
Despite his appeals the spirit would have none
And they were once again removed and it was done
They were then in another scene and place, in a room
Not very large or handsome, but a comfort filled room
Near to the winter fire sat the beautiful girl again
Though not so young the signs of beauty still remain
Scrooge recognized Belle the instance that he saw her
Though she was a comely matron sat with her daughter
There were other children all making the noise of forty
All was happy the mother and daughter laughed heartily
The scene was then disturbed by a knocking at the door
And such a rush immediately ensued across the floor
Then the flushed and boisterous group returned rather
Louder than ever, just in time to greet their father
Who came home attended amid the great excitements
By a man laden with Christmas toys and presents
Then the shouting and struggling began in earnest
Under the onslaught the poor porter did his best
To stand his ground and to repel their advances
As they tried to separate him from his packages
A good time was had by all in the family parlor
As the noise was lowered to an acceptable roar
"Belle," said the husband, turning to his wife smiling,
"I saw an old friend of yours this afternoon darling"
"Who was it?" she asked "Guess!" was his only reply
"Oh I don’t know,” she said exasperated “How can I?”
“Just Guess Belle” The laughing husband urged her
“Oh I really don’t know” Belle began in despair
Then almost in the same breath as she shook her head
And laughing as he laughed she suddenly said
"Mr. Scrooge" and laughed again “Oh I don’t know”
"Mr. Scrooge it was. I passed by his office window
As it was not shuttered and he had his candle lit
I could see him clear and was curious I must admit
His partner Marley lies on the point of death, I hear
And there he sat quite alone I do believe my dear"
"Spirit!" said Scrooge his voice breaking slightly
"Remove me from this place." He said pleadingly
"The shadows are of things that have been you see,"
"That they are what they are, do not blame me!"
"Remove me!" Scrooge exclaimed, "I cannot bear it!"
He turned round to the Ghost “Remove me please spirit
Then he turned upon the ghost “Haunt me no longer”
As he noticed the spirits light was glowing stronger
Scrooge seized the extinguisher cap from the spirit
And tried to put out the light that shone bright from it
The spirit was covered but he could not dim the light
Which now spilled upon the ground both left and right
He was overcome by exhaustion and a sense of doom
And was vaguely aware of being in his own bedroom
He gave the cap a final squeeze to push the spirit deep
Then he reeled to his bed and sank into a heavy sleep