Published on Academy of American Poets (

Atra Cura

  Before I lost my five poor wits,
  I mind me of a Romish clerk,
  Who sang how Care, the phantom dark,
  Beside the belted horseman sits.
  Methought I saw the grisly sprite
  Jump up but now behind my Knight.

  And though he gallop as he may,
  I mark that cursed monster black
  Still sits behind his honor's back,
  Tight squeezing of his heart alway.
  Like two black Templars sit they there,
  Beside one crupper, Knight and Care.

  No knight am I with pennoned spear,
  To prance upon a bold destrere:
  I will not have black Care prevail
  Upon my long-eared charger's tail,
  For lo, I am a witless fool,
  And laugh at Grief and ride a mule.


This poem is in the public domain. 

About this Poem

From Ballads and Songs (London: Cassell and Company, 1896).



William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray, born July 18, 1811, was an English writer best known for his novels, particularly The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. (The Mershon Company Publishers, 1852) and Vanity Fair (Bradbury and Evans, 1848). While in school, Thackeray began writing poems, which he published in a number of magazines, chiefly Fraser and Punch. He died on December 24, 1863.

Date Published: 2018-07-12

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