The Scarlet Gown Part 5

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I love the inoffensive frog, 'A little child, a limber elf,'

With health and spirits all agog, He does the long jump in a bog Or teaches men to swim and dive.

If he should be cut up alive, Should I not be cut up myself?

So I intend to be straightway An Anti-Vivisectionist; I'll read Miss Cobbe five hours a day And watch the little frogs at play, With no desire to see their hearts At work, or other inward parts, If other inward parts exist.


Beloved Peeler! friend and guide And guard of many a midnight reeler, None worthier, though the world is wide, Beloved Peeler.

Thou from before the swift four-wheeler Didst pluck me, and didst thrust aside A strongly built provision-dealer

Who menaced me with blows, and cried 'Come on! Come on!' O Paian, Healer, Then but for thee I must have died, Beloved Peeler!


Here, where the thoroughfares meet at an angle Of ninety degrees (this angle is right), You may hear the loafers that jest and wrangle Through the sun-lit day and the lamp-lit night; Though day be dreary and night be wet, You will find a ceaseless concourse met; Their laughter resounds and their Fife tongues jangle, And now and again their Fife fists fight.

Often here the voice of the crier Heralds a sale in the City Hall, And slowly but surely drawing nigher Is heard the baker's bugle call.

The baker halts where the two ways meet, And the blast, though loud, is far from sweet That with breath of bellows and heart of fire He blows, till the echoes leap from the wall.

And on night just after eleven, When the taverns have closed a moment ago, The vocal efforts of six or seven Make the corner a place of woe.

For the time is fitful, the notes are queer, And it sounds to him who dwelleth near Like the wailing for cats in a feline heaven By orphan cats who are left below.

Wherefore, O Bejant, Son of the Morning, Fresh as a daisy dipt in the dew, Hearken to me and receive my warning: Though rents be heavy, and bunks be few And most of them troubled with rat or mouse, Never take rooms in a corner house; Or sackcloth and ashes and sad self-scorning Shall be for a portion unto you.


The rain had fallen, the Poet arose, He pa.s.sed through the doorway into the street, A strong wind lifted his hat from his head, And he uttered some words that were far from sweet.

And then he started to follow the chase, And put on a spurt that was wild and fleet, It made the people pause in a crowd, And lay odds as to which would beat.

The street cad scoffed as he hunted the hat, The errand-boy shouted hooray!

The scavenger stood with his broom in his hand, And smiled in a very rude way; And the clergyman thought, 'I have heard many words, But never, until to-day, Did I hear any words that were quite so bad As I heard that young man say.'


Thrice happy are those Who ne'er heard of Greek Prose-- Or Greek Poetry either, as far as that goes; For Liddell and Scott Shall c.u.mber them not, Nor Sargent nor Sidgwick shall break their repose.

But I, late at night, By the very bad light Of very bad gas, must painfully write Some stuff that a Greek With his delicate cheek Would smile at as 'barbarous'--faith, he well might.

For when it _is_ done, I doubt if, for one, I myself could explain how the meaning might run; And as for the style-- Well, it's hardly worth while To talk about style, where style there is none.

It was all very fine For a poet divine Like Byron, to rave of Greek women and wine; But the Prose that I sing Is a different thing, And I frankly acknowledge it's not in my line.

So away with Greek Prose, The source of my woes!

(This metre's too tough, I must draw to a close.) May Sargent be drowned In the ocean profound, And Sidgwick be food for the carrion crows!


How many the troubles that wait On mortals!--especially those Who endeavour in eloquent prose To expound their views, and orate.

Did you ever attempt to speak When you hadn't a word to say?

Did you find that it wouldn't pay, And subside, feeling dreadfully weak?

Did you ever, when going ahead In a fervid defence of the Stage, Get checked in your n.o.ble rage By somehow losing your thread?

Did you ever rise to reply To a toast (say 'The Volunteers'), And evoke loud laughter and cheers, When you didn't exactly know why?

Did you ever wax witty, and when You had smashed an opponent quite small, Did he seem not to mind it at all, But get up and smash you again?

If any or all of these things Have happened to you (as to me), I think you'll be found to agree With yours truly, when sadly he sings:

'How many the troubles that wait On mortals!--especially those Who endeavour in eloquent prose To expound their views, and orate.'



O swallow-tailed purveyor of college sprees, O skilled to please the student fraternity, Most honoured publican of Scotland, Milton, a name to adorn the Cross Keys; Whose chosen waiters, Samuel, Archibald, Helped by the boots and marker at billiards, Wait, as the smoke-filled, crowded chamber Rings to the roar of a Gaelic chorus-- Me rather all those temperance hostelries, The soda siphon fizzily murmuring, And lime fruit juice and seltzer water Charm, as a wanderer out in South Street, Where some recruiting, eager Blue-Ribbonites Spied me afar and caught by the Post Office, And crimson-nosed the latest convert Fastened the odious badge upon me.


The Scarlet Gown Part 5

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The Scarlet Gown Part 5 summary

You're reading The Scarlet Gown Part 5. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: R. F. Murray already has 280 views.

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