Sonntag, 26. März 2017

Harry Graham (22)

Aus »More Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes«:
Harry Graham: Presence of Mind

When, with my little daughter Blanche,
   I climbed the Alps, last summer,
I saw a dreadful avalanche
   About to overcome her;
And, as it swept her down the slope,
   I vaguely wondered whether
I should be wise to cut the rope
   That held us twain together.
              *     *    *
I must confess I'm glad I did,
But still I miss the child – poor kid!

Sonntag, 19. März 2017

Harry Graham (21)

Ein Jagdgedicht aus »The Motley Muse« (glücklicherweise mehr Lehrer als Löns):

Harry Graham: The Sporting Spirit
[»The emotional surprise and the unexpected suddenness in the rise of game require great accuracy, rapidity, and nerve control, and experience is in my favour that there are some who are improved in these essentials of good shooting by a little alcohol at lunch.«—Dr. T. Claye Shaw in the Times.]

It once was my habit to miss ev'ry rabbit
At which I might happen to fire;
I wasted each cartridge despatching some partridge
To die in a neighbouring shire.
By nature ungainly, I struggled, but vainly,
A duck or a woodcock to kill,
And cut a poor figure when pressing the trigger
With far greater vigour than skill,
Until, all at once, I discovered a tonic,
And now (so to speak) my adroitness is chronic!

A flask of old brandy I always keep handy,
And, after an opportune nip,
My wits are collected, my aim is corrected,
My weapon with firmness I grip.
I notice, untroubled, that all things are doubled;
Two outlines I hazily trace
Of ev'ry cock-pheasant, and shooting grows pleasant
When each single bird is a brace;
Each teal has a twin, ev'ry black-cock a brother,
And so I am bound to hit one or the other!

My methods may flurry those neighbours in Surrey
Whose eyes I persistently wipe,
And startle the Vicar whom once, when in liquor,
I shot, in mistake for a snipe;
At Bolton or Belvoir my faithful retriever
Retrieves more than any dog there;
No bag is so heavy as that which I levy
At Welbeck, so what do I care?
Sustained by old brandy, in covert or stubble,
My fame (and my game) I can daily redouble!

Sonntag, 12. März 2017

Harry Graham (20)

Aus »The Motley Muse«:
Harry Graham: Police Court Sense

['The evidence that I heard totally failed to satisfy me that he was drunk at all in what, for want of a better definition of the term, I may call the Police Court sense.'—Mr. Chester Jones.]

When Uncle Edward comes to dine,
He drinks such quantities of wine,
You never know
How far he'll go,
Or what he'll leave unsaid;
He frequently insults his host,
And quotes things from the Winning Post,
Until, with sighs,
His friends arise
And bear him off to bed.
But as they leave him in his bunk,
With what a joy intense
They realise he is not drunk—
In the Police Court sense!

He played bezique with me, one day,
To find that, at the close of play,
He'd lost each game;
The total came
To three pounds seventeen.
He never paid a cent of that,
And took away my new top-hat,
Leaving behind
A hideous kind
Of gibus, old and green.
But still it filled me with relief,
Observing his offence,
To think that he was not a thief—
In the Police Court sense!

The details of his private life,
The way he treats his luckless wife,
Make all aware
That he can care
For nothing but himself;
But what on earth is she to do,
Though snubbed and beaten black and blue?
To sue, of course,
For a divorce
Would be a waste of pelf.
Yet, all the same, my aunt avows,
It saves her much expense
To feel she has a faithful spouse—
In the Police Court sense! 

Sonntag, 5. März 2017

Harry Graham (19)

Ein Frühlingslied aus »The Motley Muse«:

Harry Graham: Spring
When the hand of ev'ry Briton, 'spite of glove or woolly mitten,
By the frost severely bitten, grows as frigid as a stone,
When he scuttles like a lizard through the bitter biting blizzard,
Which benumbs his very gizzard and which chills him to the bone;
When the constable stands scowling, where the hurricane is howling,
Or goes miserably prowling, with no shelter from the storm,
And the working-man, half-fuddled, jug to bosom closely cuddled,
In each public-house is huddled, in his efforts to get warm;
Then the poet (known as 'minor') deems it suitable to sing
That there's nothing much diviner than the pleasures of the Spring!

When the maiden, matinéeing, from some playhouse portals straying
(Where her favourite is playing), grows as crusty as a crab,
While her fiancé ungainly—so unlike dear Harry Ainley!—
In the snow is seeking vainly (ah! how vainly!) for a cab;
When he cusses and she fusses, as they note how full each 'bus is
Of that crowd of oafs and hussies it refuses to disgorge,
Till they hail some passing taxi, with expressions wild and waxy
(Like the language Leo Maxse always uses of Lloyd George)!
With her windswept skirt she battles, to his hat he tries to cling,
While the poet sweetly prattles of the pleasures of the Spring!

Though I hate to be pedantic, and it may seem unromantic,
I am driven nearly frantic when I hear the praises sung
Of those ruthless vernal breezes which engender coughs and sneezes
And disseminate diseases in the ranks of old and young.
So, although it sounds like treason, when I celebrate this season,
I will mix my rhymes with reason, and substantiate, I trust,
That there's nought so uninviting, so depressing, and so blighting,
As the time of which I'm writing with such genuine disgust.
As I hover round the fender, and for fuel loudly ring,
I decline to see the splendour or the witchery of Spring!