Time does not tarry ever

but change and growth is not in all things and places alike. J. R. R. TOLKIEN, The Fellowship of the Ring

We do seem to harbour a desire for Time to stand still – notably when we are having a particularly happy day, and wish it might never end. One poem I recall from childhood expresses this by yet another different personification of Time.

TIME, you old gipsy man,
Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
Just for one day?

All things I’ll give you 5
Will you be my guest,
Bells for your jennet
Of silver the best,
Goldsmiths shall beat you
A great golden ring, 10
Peacocks shall bow to you,
Little boys sing,
Oh, and sweet girls will
Festoon you with may.
Time, you old gipsy, 15
Why hasten away?

Last week in Babylon,
Last night in Rome,
Morning, and in the crush
Under Paul’s dome; 20
Under Paul’s dial
You tighten your rein—
Only a moment,
And off once again;
Off to some city 25
Now blind in the womb,
Off to another
Ere that’s in the tomb.

Time, you old gipsy man,
Will you not stay, 30
Put up your caravan
Just for one day?

( Ralph Hodgson.)

This is an altogether jollier idea of the mysterious entity called Time. Travelling about the world (although surely if time is anywhere, it is everywhere at once?) and apparently capable of enjoying the good things of human life, including friendship and rest. What would happen to everywhere else if Time settled down for a day in one location?

Is that a scratching sound I hear, of fellow-fantasists jotting that down for -er- future reference?

Gypsy Vanner Horse pulling Gypsy caravan or vardo up hillside
Gypsy Vanner Horse pulling Gypsy caravan or vardo up hillside
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