Harry Graham: Love's Handicap
From the earliest days,
Ev'ry writer of lays
Has delighted to sing about Passion;
But of rhymes there's a dearth
For the Briton by birth
Who would follow this popular fashion.
For though Love is a theme
That we poets esteem
As unrivalled, immortal, sublime too,
'Tis a word that the bard
Finds it daily more hard
To discover a suitable rhyme to!
For one can't always mention the »stars up above,«
Ev'ry time that one talks about Love!
When the French troubadour
Wants to sing of l'amour
No such lyrical fetters restrain him;
And when making la cour
To his mistress, chaqu' jour,
There's no famine of rhyme to detain him.
He'll describe, sans détours,
How as soft as velours
Is her hand, and her voice like a fiddle;
How they ate petits fours
Till she cried: »Au secours!«
When his arm went autour of her middle!
And there's no need for him to refer to her »glove,«
Just because he's discoursing on Love!
The Venetian signor
Who discusses l'amor'
To his lady-love's balcony climbing,
As he presses her fior'
To his bosom (al' cuor')
Has no trouble at all about rhyming!
When with frenzied furor'
And such fervent calor'
He suggests her becoming his sposa,
What for him does the trick
Is that rhymes are as thick
As the leaves upon fair Vallombrosa;
And he never need liken his dear to a »dove,«
Ev'ry time that he sings about Love!
'Tis the absence of rhymes
That inclines me, at times,
To renounce any mention of Cupid,
And, instead, to write odes
To (say) skylarks or toads,
Though it may seem faint-hearted or stupid.
For it's easy to sing
Of the sunshine or Spring,
And of Pan (or some mythical person),
But to find a fresh rhyme
For the Passion sublime
That we bards are supposed to write verse on –
Well, I'm tempted to give the whole question »the shove«
And to sing no more songs about Love!