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Title: Misrepresentative Women
Author: Graham, Harry, 1874-1936
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    _Misrepresentative Women_

    [Illustration:
        “_For long with horror she has viewed
          The naked Truth for being nude_”
    ]



    MISREPRESENTATIVE WOMEN

    By HARRY GRAHAM


    _Author of “Misrepresentative Men”
    and “More Misrepresentative Men”_

    ILLUSTRATED BY
    DAN SAYRE GROESBECK

    NEW YORK
    DUFFIELD & COMPANY
    MCMVI


    COPYRGHT, 1906, BY
    DUFFIELD & COMPANY
    _Published, September, 1906_

    THE TROW PRESS, NEW YORK



    _Contents_


                                                    PAGE
    PUBLISHERS’ PREFACE                                7
    EVE                                               13
    LADY GODIVA                                       19
    MISS MARIE CORELLI                                27
    MRS. MARY BAKER EDDY                              35
    MRS. GRUNDY                                       41
    MRS. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS                         49
    DAME RUMOR                                        57
    THE CRY OF THE CHILDREN                           63
    THE CRY OF THE ELDERS                             71
    AN EPITHALAMIUM                                   79
    THE SELF-MADE FATHER TO HIS READY-MADE SON        85
    THE AUTHOR TO HIS HOSTESS                         91
    ON THE DECLINE OF GENTILITY AMONG THE YOUNG       97
    “LOCHINVAR”                                      103
    ABBREVIATION’S ARTFUL AID                        111
    AUTHOR’S AFTWORD                                 117



    _List of Illustrations_


    “_Far long with horror she has viewed The naked Truth
      for being   nude_”                                  FRONTISPIECE

                                                           FACING PAGE

    “_Gentle Reader, who so patiently have waited_”               _10_

    “_Her wardrobe, though extremely small, sufficed a somewhat
      simple need_”                                               _14_

    “_At the Heart of her spouse she continued to storm_”         _20_

    “_Were she to mingle with her ink a little milk of human
      kindness_”                                                  _28_

    “_And so be daily left her side to travel o’er the ocean
      far_”                                                       _50_

    “_Where the spinsters at tea are collected, her arrival
      is bailed with delight_”                                    _58_

    “_He is yearning for the chance of reading Gibbon_”           _64_

    “_How glad the happy pair must be that Hymen’s bonds have
      set them free_”                                             _80_

    “_I wonder why they look such frights_”                       _92_

    “_Small wonder she receives a shock each time she views
      thy billycock_”                                             _98_

    “_’She is mine!’ he announces, adjourning to the distant
      horizon afar_”                                             _104_



_Publishers’ Preface_


    Gentle Reader, who so patiently have waited
      For such viands as your poet can provide,
    (Which, as critics have occasionally stated,
      Must be trying to a delicate inside,)
    Once again are opportunities afforded
      Of a banquet, or a _déjeuner_ at least,
    Once again your toleration is rewarded
            By a literary feast!

    You may think that Rudyard Kipling’s work is stronger,
      Or that Chaucer’s may be rather more mature;
    Byron’s lyrics are indubitably longer,
      Robert Browning’s just a trifle more obscure;
    But ’tis certain that no poems are politer,
      Or more fitted for perusal in the home,
    Than  the verses of the unassuming writer
            Of this memorable tome!

    Austin Dobson is a daintier performer,
      Andrew Lang is far more scholarly and wise,
    Mr. Swinburne can, of course, be somewhat warmer,
      Alfred Austin more amusing, if he tries;
    But there’s no one in the world (and well you know it!)
      Who can emulate the bard of whom we speak,
    For the literary methods of _our_ poet
            Are admittedly unique!

    Tho’ he shows no sort of penitence at breaking
      Ev’ry rule of English grammar and of style,
    (Not a rhyme is too atrocious for his making,
      Not a metre for his purpose is too vile!)
    Tho’ his treatment is essentially destructive,
      And his taste a thing that no one can admire,
    There is something incontestably seductive
            In the music of his lyre!

    Gentle Reader, some apologies are needed
      For depositing this volume on your desk,
    Since the author has undoubtedly exceeded
      All the limits of legitimate burlesque,
    And we look with very genuine affection
      To a Public who, for better or for worse,
    Will relieve us of this villainous collection
            Of abominable verse!

    [Illustration:
        “_Gentle Reader, who so patiently have waited_”
    ]



_Eve_


    I always love to picture Eve,
      Whatever captious critics say,
    As one who was, as I believe,
      The nicest woman of her day;
    Attractive to the outward view,
    And such a perfect _lady_ too!

    Unselfish,--that one can’t dispute,
      Recalling her intense delight,
    When she acquired some novel fruit,
      In giving all her friends a bite;
    Her very troubles she would share
    With those who happened to be there.

    Her wardrobe, though extremely small,
      Sufficed a somewhat simple need;
    She was, if anything at all,
      A trifle _under_dressed, indeed,
    And never visited a play
    In headgear known as “matinée.”

    Possessing but a single _beau_,
      With only one _affaire de c[oe]ur_,
    She promptly married, as we know,
      The man who first proposed to her;
    Not for his title or his pelf,
    But simply for his own sweet self.

    He loved her madly, at first sight;
      His callow heart was quite upset;
    He thought her nearly, if not quite,
      The sweetest soul he’d ever met;
    She found him charming--for a man,
    And so their young romance began.

    Their wedding was a trifle tame--
      A purely family affair--
    No guests were asked, no pressmen came
      To interview the happy pair;
    No crowds of curious strangers bored them,
    The “Eden Journal” quite ignored them.

    They had the failings of their class,
      The faults and foibles of the youthful;
    She was inquisitive, alas!
      And he was--not exactly truthful;
    But never was there man or woman
    So truly, so intensely _human_!

    And, hand in hand, from day to day,
      They lived and labored, man and wife;
    Together hewed their common way
      Along the rugged path of Life;
    Remaining, though the seasons pass’d,
    Friends, lovers, to the very last.

    So, side by side, they shared, these two,
      The sorrow and the joys of living;
    The Man, devoted, tender, true,
      The Woman, patient and forgiving;
    Their common toil, their common weather,
    But drew them closelier still together.

    And if they ever chanced to grieve,
      Enduring loss, or suff’ring pain,
    You may be certain it was Eve
      Brought comfort to their hearts again;
    If they were happy, well I know,
    It was the Woman made them so.

           *       *       *       *       *

    And though the anthropologist
      May mention, in his tactless way,
    That Adam’s weaknesses exist
      Among our modern Men to-day,
    In Women we may still perceive
    The virtues of their Mother Eve!

    [Illustration:
        “_Her wardrobe, though extremely small, sufficed a
          somewhat simple need_”
    ]



_Lady Godiva_


    In the old town of Coventry, so people say,
      Dwelt a Peer who was utterly lacking in pity;
    Universally loathed for the rigorous way
      That he burdened the rates of the City.
    By his merciless methods of petty taxation,
    The poor were reduced to the verge of starvation.

    But the Earl had a wife, whom the people adored,
      For her kindness of heart even more than her beauty,
    And her pitiless lord she besought and implored
      To remit this extortionate “duty”;
    But he answered: “My dear, pray reflect at your leisure,
    What _you_ deem a ‘duty,’ to _me_ is a pleasure!”

    At the heart of her spouse she continued to storm,
      And she closed her entreaties, one day, by exclaiming:--
    “If you take off the tax, I will gladly perform
      Any task that you like to be naming!”
    “Well, if that be the case,” said the nobleman, “I’ve a
    Good mind just to test you, my Lady Godiva!

    “To your wishes, my dear, I will straight acquiesce,
      On the single condition--I give you fair warning--
    That you ride through the City, at noon, in the dress
      That you wear in your bath of a morning!”
    “Very well!” she replied. “Be it so! Though you drive a
    Hard bargain, my lord,” said the Lady Godiva.

    So she slipped off her gown, and her shoulders lay bare,
      Gleaming white like the moon on Aonian fountains;
    When about them she loosened her curtain of hair,
      ’Twas like Night coming over the mountains!
    And she blushed, ’neath the veil of her wonderful tresses,
    As blushes the Morn ’neath the Sun’s first caresses!

    Then she went to the stable and saddled her steed,
      Who erected his ears, till he looked like a rabbit,
    He was somewhat surprised, as he might be, indeed,
      At the lady’s unusual “habit”;
    But allowed her to mount in the masculine way,
    For he couldn’t say “No,” and he wouldn’t say “Neigh!”

    So she rode through the town, in the heat of the sun,
      For the weather was (luckily) warm as the Tropics,
    And the people all drew down their blinds--except one,
      On the staff of the local “Town Topics.”
    (Such misconduct produced in the eyes of this vile one
    A cataract nearly as large as the Nile one!)

    Then Godiva returned, and the Earl had to yield,
      (And the paralyzed pressman dictated his cable;)
    The tax was remitted, the bells were repealed,
       And the horse was returned to the stable;
    While banners were waved from each possible quarter,
    Except from the flat of the stricken reporter.

    Now the Moral is this--if I’ve fathomed the tale
      (Though it needs a more delicate pen to explain it):--
    You can get whatsoever you want, without fail,
      If you’ll sacrifice _all_ to obtain it.
    You should _try_ to avoid unconventional capers,
    And be sure you don’t write for Society papers.

    [Illustration:
        “_At the heart of her spouse she continued to storm_”
    ]



_Miss Marie Corelli_


    A very Woman among Men!
      Her pæans, sung in ev’ry quarter,
    Almost persuade Le Gallienne
      To go and get his hair cut shorter;
    When Kipling hears her trumpet-note
    He longs to don a petticoat.

    Her praise is sung by old or young,
      From Happy Hampstead to Hoboken,
    Where’er old England’s mother-tongue
      Is (ungrammatically) spoken:
    In that supremely simple set
    Which loves the penny novelette.

    When Anglo-Saxon peoples kneel
      Before their literary idol,
    It makes all rival authors feel
      Depressed and almost suicidal;
    They cannot reach within a mile
    Of her sublime suburban style.

    Her modest, unobtrusive ways,
      In sunny Stratford’s guide-books graven,
    Her brilliance, lighting with its rays
      The birthplace of the Swan of Avon,
    Must cause the Bard as deep a pain
    As his resemblance to Hall Caine.

    Mere ordinary mortals ask,
      With no desire for picking quarrels,
    Who gave her the congenial task
      Of judging other people’s morals?
    Who bade her flay her fellow-men
    With such a frankly feline pen?

    And one may seek, and seek in vain.
      The social set she loves to mention,
    Those offspring of her fertile brain,
      Those creatures of her fond invention.
    (She is, or so it would appear,
    Unlucky in her friends, poor dear!)

    For tho’, like her, they feel the sway
      Of claptrap sentimental glamour,
    And frequently, like her, give way
      To lapses from our English grammar,
    The victims of her diatribes
    Are not the least as she describes.

    To restaurants they seldom go,
      Just for the sake of over-eating;
    While ladies don’t play bridge, you know,
      Entirely for the sake of cheating;
    And husbands can be quite nice men,
    And wives _are_ faithful, now and then.

    Were she to mingle with her ink
      A little milk of human kindness,
    She would not join, I dare to think,
      To chronic social color-blindness
    An outlook bigoted and narrow
    As that of some provincial sparrow.

    But still, perhaps, it might affect
      Her literary circulation,
    If she were tempted to neglect
      Her talent for vituperation;
    Since work of this peculiar kind
    Delights the groundling’s curious mind.

    For while, of course, from day to day,
      Her popularity increases,
    As, in an artless sort of way,
      She tears Society to pieces,
    Her sense of humor, so they tell us,
    Makes even Alfred Austin jealous!

    Yet even bumpkins, by and by,
      (Such is the spread of education)
    May view with cold, phlegmatic eye
      The fruits of her imagination,
    And learn to temper their devotion
    With slight, if adequate, emotion.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Dear Miss Corelli:--Should your eyes
      Peruse this page (’tis my ambition!),
    Be sure that I apologize
      In any suitable position
    For having weakly imitated
    The style that you yourself created.

    I cannot fancy to attain
      To heights of personal invective
    Which you, with subtler pen and brain,
      Have learnt to render so effective;
    I follow dimly in your trail;
    Forgive me, therefore, if I fail!

    [Illustration:
        “_Were she to mingle with her ink
          A little milk of human kindness_”
    ]



_Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy_


    Have you a pain all down your back?
      A feeling of intense prostration?
    Are you anæmic, for the lack
            Of proper circulation?
    With bloodshot eye and hand unsteady?
    Pray send at once for Mrs. Eddy.

    The Saint and Prophetess is she
      Of what is known as Christian Science;
    And you can lean on Mrs. E.
            With absolute reliance;
    For she will shortly make it plain
    That there is no such thing as pain.

    The varied ailments on your list
      Which cause you such extreme vexation
    Are nothing more, she will insist,
            Than mere imagination.
    ’Tis so with illness or disease;
    Nothing exists ... except her fees!

    A friend of mine had not been taught
      This doctrine, I regret to say.
    He fell downstairs, or so he thought,
            And broke his neck, one day.
    Had Mrs. Eddy come along,
    She could have shown him he was wrong.

    She could have told him (or his wraith)
      That stairs and necks have no existence,
    That persons with sufficient faith
            Can fall from any distance,
    And that he wasn’t in the least
    What local papers called “deceased.”

    Of ills to which the flesh is heir
      She is decidedly disdainful;
    But once, or so her friends declare,
            Her teeth became so painful
    That, tho’ she knew they couldn’t be,
    She had them taken out, to see.

    Afflictions of the lame or halt,
      Which other people view with terror,
    To her denote some moral fault,
            Some form of mental error.
    While doctors probe or amputate,
    She simply heals you while you wait.

    My brother, whom you may have seen,
      Possessed a limp, a very slight one;
    His leg, the left, had always been
            Much shorter than the right one;
    But Mrs. Eddy came his way,
    And ... well, just look at him to-day!

    At healing she had grown so deft
      That when she finished with my brother,
    His crippled leg, I mean the left,
            Was _longer_ than the other!
    And now he’s praying, day and night,
    For faith to lengthen out the right.

    So let it be our chief concern
      To set diseases at defiance,
    Contriving, as the truths we learn
            Of so-called Christian Science,
    To live from illnesses exempt,--
    Or else to die in the attempt!



_Mrs. Grundy_


    When lovely Woman stoops to smoke
      (A vice in which she often glories),
    Or sees the somewhat doubtful joke
            In after-dinner stories,
    Who is it to her bedroom rushes
    To hide the fervor of her blushes?

    When Susan’s skirt’s a trifle short,
      Or Mary’s manner rather skittish,
    Who is it, with a fretful snort
            (So typically British),
    Emits prolonged and startled cries,
    Suggestive of a pained surprise?

    Who is it, tell me, in effect,
      Who loves to centre her attentions
    On all who wilfully neglect
            Society’s conventions,
    And seems eternally imbued
    With saponaceous rectitude?

    ’Tis Mrs. Grundy, deaf and blind
      To anything the least romantic,
    Combining with a narrow mind
            A point of view pedantic,
    Since no one in the world can stop her
    From thinking ev’rything improper.

    The picture or the marble bust
      At any public exhibition
    Evokes her unconcealed disgust
            And rouses her suspicion,
    If human forms are shown to us
    _In puris naturalibus_.

    The bare, in any sense or shape.
      She looks upon as wrong or faulty;
    Piano-legs she likes to drape,
            If they are too décoll’té;
    For long with horror she has viewed
    The naked Truth, for being nude.

    On modern manners that efface
      The formal modes of introduction
    She is at once prepared to place
            The very worst construction,--
    And frowns, suspicious and sardonic,
    On friendships that are termed Platonic.

    The English restaurants must close
      At twelve o’clock at night on Sunday,
    To suit (or so we may suppose)
            The taste of Mrs. Grundy;
    On week-days, thirty minutes later,
    Ejected guests revile the waiter.

    A sense of humor she would vote
      The sign of mental dissipations;
    She scorns whatever might promote
            The gaiety of nations;
    Of lawful fun she seems no fonder
    Than of the noxious _dooblontonder_!

    And if you wish to make her blench
      And snap her teeth together tightly,
    Say something in Parisian French,
            And close one optic slightly.
    “Rien ne va plus! Enfin, alors!”
    She leaves the room and slams the door!

    O Mrs. Grundy, do, I beg,
      To false conclusions cease from rushing,
    And learn to name the human leg
            Without profusely blushing!
    No longer be (don’t think me rude)
    That unalluring thing, the prude!

    No more patrol the world, I pray,
      In search of trifling social errors,
    Let “What will Mrs. Grundy say?”
            No longer have its terrors;
    Leave diatribe and objurgation
    To Mrs. Chant and Carrie Nation!



_Mrs. Christopher Columbus_


    The bride grows pale beneath her veil,
      The matron, for the nonce, is dumb,
    Who listens to the tragic tale
      Of Mrs. Christopher Columb:
    Who lived and died (so says report)
    A widow of the herbal sort.

    Her husband upon canvas wings
      Would brave the Ocean, tempest-tost;
    He had a cult for finding things
      Which nobody had ever lost,
    And Mrs. C. grew almost frantic
    When he discovered the Atlantic.

    But nothing she could do or say
      Would keep her Christopher at home;
    Without delay he sailed away
      Across what poets call “the foam,”
    While neighbors murmured, “What a shame!”
    And wished their husbands did the same.

    He ventured on the highest C’s
      That reared their heads above the bar,
    Knowing the compass and the quays
      Like any operatic star;
    And funny friends who watched him do so
    Would call him “Robinson Caruso.”

    But Mrs. C. remained indoors,
      And poked the fire and wound the clocks,
    Amused the children, scrubbed the floors,
      Or darned her absent husband’s socks.
    (For she was far too sweet and wise
    To darn the great explorer’s eyes.)

    And when she chanced to look around
      At all the couples she had known,
    And realized how few had found
      A home as peaceful as her own,
    She saw how pleasant it may be
    To wed a chronic absentee.

    Her husband’s absence she enjoyed,
      Nor ever asked him where he went,
    Thinking him harmlessly employed
      Discovering some Continent.
    Had he been always in, no doubt,
    Some day she would have found him out.

    And so he daily left her side
      To travel o’er the ocean far,
    And she who, like the bard, had tried
      To “hitch her wagon to a star,”
    Though she was harnessed to a comet,
    Got lots of satisfaction from it.

    To him returning from the West
      She proved a perfect anti-dote,
    Who loosed his Armour (beef compress’d)
      And sprayed his “automobile throat”;
    His health she kept a jealous eye on,
    And played PerUna to his lion!

    And when she got him home again,
      And so could wear the jewels rare
    Which Isabella, Queen of Spain,
      Entrusted to her husband’s care,
    Her monetary wealth was “far
    Beyond the dreams of caviar!”

           *       *       *       *       *

    A melancholy thing it is
      How few have known or understood
    The manifold advantages
      Of such herbaceous widowhood!
    (What is it ruins married lives
    But husbands ... not to mention wives?)

    O wedded couples of to-day,
      Pray take these principles to heart,
    And copy the Columbian way
      Of living happily apart.
    And so, to you, at any rate,
    Shall marriage be a “blessèd state.”

    [Illustration:
        “_And so he daily left her side
          To travel o’er the ocean far_”
    ]



_Dame Rumor_


    I should like to remark that Dame Rumor
      Is the most unalluring of jades.
    She has little or no sense of humor,
      And her fables are worse than George Ade’s.
    (Or rather, I mean, if the reader prefers,
    That the fables of Ade are much _better_ than hers!)

    Her appearance imbues one with loathing,
      From her jaundiced, malevolent eyes
    To the tinsel she cares to call clothing,
      Which is merely a patchwork of lies.
    For her garments are such that a child could see through,
    And her blouse (need I add?) is the famed Peek-a-boo!

    She is wholly devoid of discretion,
      She is utterly wanting in tact,
    She’s a gossip by trade and profession,
      And she much prefers fiction to fact.
    She is seldom veracious, and always unkind,
    And she moves to and fro with the speed of the wind.

    She resembles the men who (’tis fabled)
      Tumble into the Packingtown vats,
    Who are boiled there, and bottled, and labelled
      For the tables of true democrats:
    Pickled souls who are canned for the public to buy,
    And (like her) have a finger in every pie!

    With a step that is silent and stealthy,
      Or an earsplitting clamor and noise,
    She disturbs the repose of the wealthy,
      Or the peace which the pauper enjoys.
    And, however securely the doors may be shut,
    She can always gain access to palace or hut.

    Where the spinsters at tea are collected,
      Her arrival is hailed with delight;
    She is welcomed, adored, and respected
      In each newspaper office at night;
    For her presence imprints an original seal
    On an otherwise commonplace journal or meal.

    She has nothing in common with Virtue,
      And with Truth she was never allied;
    If she hasn’t yet managed to hurt you,
      It can’t be from not having tried!
    For the poison of adders is under her tongue,
    And you’re lucky indeed, if you’ve never been stung.

    Are you statesman, or author, or artist,
      With a perfectly blameless career?
    Are your talents and wits of the smartest,
      And your conscience abnormally clear?
    “He’s a saint!” says Dame Rumor, and smiles like the Sphinx.
    “He’s a hero!” (She adds:) “What a pity he drinks!”

    Gentle Reader, keep clear of her clutches!
      O beware of her voice, I entreat!
    Be you journalist, dowager duchess,
      Or just merely the Man in the Street.
    And I beg of you not to encourage a jade
    Who, if once she is started, can _never_ be stayed.

    [Illustration:
        “_Where the spinsters at tea are collected,
          Her arrival is hailed with delight_”
    ]



_The Cry of the Children_

    [On the subject of infant education it has been suggested that
    more advantageous results might be obtained if, instead of
    filling children’s minds with such nonsense as fairy-tales,
    stories were read to them about Julius Cæsar.]


    O my Brothers, do you hear the children weeping?
    Do you note the teardrops tumbling from their eyes?
    To the school-house they reluctantly are creeping,

      Discontented with the teaching it supplies.
    At the quality of modern education
      Little urchins may with justice look askance,
    Since it panders to a child’s imagination,
        And encourages romance.

    Do you see that toddling baby with a bib on,
      How his eyes with silent misery are dim?
    He is yearning for the chance of reading Gibbon;
      But his teachers give him nothing else but Grimm!
    What a handicap to infantile ambition!
      ’Tis enough to make the brightest bantling fume,
    To be gammoned with an Andrew Lang edition,
        When he longs for Hume, sweet Hume!

    See that tiny one, what boredom he expresses!
      What intolerance his frequent yawns evince
    Of the fairy-tales where beautiful princesses
      Are delivered from a dragon by a prince!
    How he curses the pedantic institution
      Where he can’t obtain such volumes as “Le Cid,”
    Or that masterpiece on “Social Evolution”
        By another kind of Kidd!

    Do you hear the children weeping, O my Brothers?
      They are crying for Max Müller and Carlyle.
    Tho’ Hans Andersen may satisfy their mothers,
      They are weary of so immature a style.
    And their time is far too brief to be expended
      On such nonsense as their “rude forefathers” read;
    For they know the days of sentiment are ended,
        And that Chivalry is dead!

    Oh remember that the pillars of the nation
      Are the children that we discipline to-day;
    That to give them a becoming education
      You must rear them in a reasonable way!
    Let us guard them from the glamour of the mystics,
      Who would throw a ray of sunshine on their lives!
    Let us feed each helpless atom on statistics,
        And pray Heaven he survives!

    Let us cast away the out-of-date traditions,
      Which our poets and romanticists have sung!
    Let us sacrifice the senseless superstitions
      That illuminate the fancies of the young!
    If we limit our instruction to the “reals,”
      We may prove to ev’ry baby from the start,
    The futility of cherishing ideals
        In his golden little heart!

    [Illustration:
        “_He is yearning for the chance of reading Gibbon_”
    ]



_The Cry of the Elders_

    [With steady but increasing pace the world is approaching a
    point at which the cleverness of the young will amount to a
    social problem. Already things are getting uncomfortable for
    persons of age and sobriety, whose notion of happiness is to
    ruminate a few solid and simple ideas in freedom from
    disturbance.--_Macmillan’s Magazine._]


    O my Children, do you hear your elders sighing?
    Do you wonder that senility should find
      Your encyclopædic knowledge somewhat trying
          To the ordinary mind?
    In the heyday of a former generation,
      Some respect for our intelligence was shown;
        And it’s hard for us to cotton
        To the fact that _you’ve_ forgotten
          More than _we_ have ever known!

    O my Children, do you hear your elders snoring,
      When the “chassis” of your motors you discuss?
    Do you wonder that your “shop” is rather boring
          To such simple souls as us?[1]
    Do you marvel that your dreary conversation
      Should evoke the yawns that “lie too deep for tears,”
        When you lecture to your betters
        About “tanks” and “carburettors,”
          About “sparking-plugs” and “gears”?

    O my Children, in the season of your nonage,
      (Which delightful days no longer now exist!)
    We could join with other fogeys of our own age
        In a quiet game of whist.
    _Now_, at bridge, our very experts are defeated
      By some beardless but impertinent young cub,
        Who converts our silent table
        To a very Tow’r of Babel,
          At the Knickerbocker Club!

    O my Children, we no longer are respected!
      ’Tis a fact we older fellows must deplore,
    Whose opinions and whose judgments are neglected,
          As they never were before.
    We may tender good advice to our descendants;
      We may offer them our money, if we will;
        Lo, the one shall be forsaken,
       And the other shall be taken
         (Like the women at the mill!).

    O my Children, note the moral (like a kernel)
      I have hidden in the centre of my song!
    Do not contradict a relative maternal,
          If she happens to be wrong!
    Be indulgent to the author of your being;
      Never show him the contempt that you must feel;
        Treat him tolerantly, rather,
        Since a man who is _your_ father
          Can’t be wholly imbecile!

    O my Children, we, the older generation,
      At whose feet you ought (in theory) to sit,
    Are bewildered by your mental penetration,
          We are dazzled by your wit!
    But we hopefully anticipate a future
      When the airship shall replace the motor-’bus,
        And _your_ children, when they meet you,
        Shall inevitably treat you
          Just as you are treating us!

    [1] “As us” is not grammar.--Publishers’ Reader.
        “As we” is not verse.--H. G.



_An Epithalamium_

LONGWORTH--ROOSEVELT, FEBRUARY 17TH, 1906


    Hail, bride and bridegroom of the West!
      Your troth irrevocably plighted!
    Your act of Union doubly blest,
          Your single States United,
    With full approval and assent
    Of populace and President!

    Let Spangled Banners wave on high,
      To greet the maiden as she passes!
    See how the proud Proconsul’s eye
          Grows dim behind his glasses!
    How fond the heart that beats beneath
    Those pleated Presidential teeth!

    The bishop has received his cheque,
      The final slipper has been thrown;
    With rice down each respective neck,
          The couple stand alone.
    To them, at last, the fates provide
    A privacy so long denied.

    Letters and wires, from near and far,
      Lie thickly piled on ev’ry table;
    The peaceful message from the Czar,
          The Kaiser’s kindly cable;
    The well-expressed congratulations
    From Heads of all the Sister Nations.

    Rich gifts, as countless as the sand
      That cloaks the desert of Sahara,
    From fish-slice to piano (grand),
          From toast-rack to tiara,
    Still overwhelm the lucky maid
    (With heavy duties to be paid!).

    See, hand-in-hand, the couple stand!
      (The guests their homeward journey take,
    Concealing their emotion--and
          Some lumps of wedding cake!)
    How glad the happy pair must be
    That Hymen’s bonds have set them free!

    Free of the curious Yellow Press,
      Free of the public’s prying gaze,
    Of all the troubles that obsess
          The path of fiancés!
    Alone at last, and safely screen’d
    From onslaughts of the kodak-fiend!

    The Bride, who bore without demur
      The wiles of artists photographic,
    Of vulgar crowds that gaped at her,
          Congesting all the traffic,
    Can shop, once more, in perfect peace,
    Without the help of the police.

    Arrayed in stylish trav’lling dress,
      Behold, with blushes she departs!
    The free Republican Princess
          A captive Queen of Hearts!
    (Captive to Cupid, need I say?
    But Queen in ev’ry other way!)

    And this must surely be the hour
      For Anglo-Saxons, ev’rywhere,
    With cousinly regard, to show’r
          Good wishes on the pair;
    Borne on the bosom of the breeze,
    Our blessings speed across the seas!

    Hail, Bride and Bridegroom of the West!
      (Pray pardon my redundant lyre)
    May your united lives be blest
          With all your hearts’ desire!
    Accept the warm felicitations
    Of fond, if distant, blood-relations!

    [Illustration:
        “_How glad the happy pair must be
          That Hymen’s bonds have set them free_”
    ]



_The Self-Made Father to His Ready-Made Son_

(AN OPEN LETTER)


    My Offspring:--Ere you raise the glass,
      To irrigate your ardent throttle;
    Ere once again you gladly pass
                  The bottle;
    Take heed that your prevailing passion
    Be not completely out of fashion.

    No longer does the Prodigal
      Expend his nights in drunken frolic;
    Or pass his days in revels al-Coholic;
    For, nowadays, a glass _de trop_
    Is not considered _comme il faut_.

    No longer do the youthful fall,
      Like leaf or partridge in October;
    For they, if anything at all,
                  Are sober.
    (I mean the boys,--don’t be absurd!
    And not the foliage or the bird.)

    No longer arm-in-arm they roam,
      Despite constabulary warning,
    Declaring that they won’t go home
                  Till morning!
    With bursts of bacchanalian song,
    And jokes as broad as they are long.

    No more they wander to-and-fro,
      Exchanging incoherent greetings--
    The kind in vogue at Caledo-
                  -Nian Meetings
    (Behavior that we all condemn,
    Especially at 3 a. m.).

    Yes; fashions change--and well they may!
      No longer, at the dinner-table,
    Do persons drink as much as they
                  Are able;
    And seek the hospitable floor,
    When they have drunk a trifle more.

    My nasal hue, incarnadine,
      Shall not, perhaps, be wholly wasted,
    If sons of mine but leave their wine
                  Untasted;
    And vanquish, with deserving merit,
    The varied vices they inherit.

    Yes, Offspring, I rejoice to think
      That, shunning my example truly,
    You never may be led to drink
                  Unduly.
    It is indeed a blessèd thought!
    Now, will you kindly pass the port?



_The Author to His Hostess_

(AN OPEN LETTER)

    [Very few English men of letters enjoy a desirable social
    position. To be sure, they are frequently invited to functions,
    where they are treated with insistent affability by persons
    belonging to the higher classes; but the sort of position to be
    obtained in this way is insecure, and unpleasant to any save
    those of adamantine cheek.--_Current Magazine._]


    Dear Lady,--When you bade me come
    To grace your crowded “Kettledrum,”
      And mingle in the best society;
    When Melba sang, and Elman played,

    And waiters handed lemonade
      (Tempering music with sobriety),
    I never had the least suspicion
    Of my precarious position.

    But now, with opened eyes, I leap
    To this conclusion, shrewd and deep,
      (What cerebral agility!):
    Your compliments were insincere,
    Your hospitality was mere
      “Insistent affability!”
    And I, a foolish man of letters,
    Who thought to mingle with his betters!

    Ah me! How pride precedes a fall!
    That one who haunted “rout” or ball,
      When invitations were acquirable,
    Should see himself as others see,
    Becoming suddenly, like me,
      A social “undesirable”;
    Invading the selectest clique
    With truly adamantine cheek!

    How proud an air I used to wear!
    When titled persons turned to stare,
      I blushed like a geranium.
    When lovely ladies softly said:

    “Oh, Duchess, did you see his head?”
      “What a capacious cranium!”
    “Yes; isn’t that the man who writes?”
    “I wonder why they look such frights!”

    I used to bridle coyly when
    Some schoolmate, of the Upper Ten
      (They were not over-numerous!),
    Would slap my back, and shout “By Jove!
    “Ain’t you a literary cove?”
      (As tho’ ’twere something humorous!)
    “Those books of yours are grand, you bet!
    What? No, I haven’t read them yet.”

    But now I realize my fate;
    A stranger at the social gate
      (Tho’ treated with civility);
    The choicest circles I frequent
    Must be the ones my brains invent,
      With fictional futility;
    The only Royalties I know
    Are those my publisher can show!

    The garden-party, and the tea,
    Are surely not for men like me
      (O Vanity of Vanities!);
    Such entertainments are taboo,

    And might debase my talents to
      Additional inanities.
    The Poet has no business there:
    _Que ferait-il dans cette galère?_

    Ah, lonely is the Author’s lot!
    Assuming, if he hath it not,
      A suitable humility.
    For when his daily work is done,
    He must inevitably shun
      The homes of the Nobility,
    As, with dejected steps, he passes
    To supper with the middle classes!

    [Illustration:
        “_I wonder why they look such frights_”
    ]



_On the Decline of Gentility Among the Young_

(SUGGESTED BY MR. MAX BEERBOHM)


    O youth uncouth, who slouchest by,
      Along the crowded public street,
    An eyeglass in thy languid eye,
          Brown boots upon thy feet,
    A loose umbrella in thy grip,
    A toothpick pendent from thy lip.

    Much I deplore thy clumsy gait,
      Thy drab sartorial display,
    So wholly inappropriate
          To this august highway;
    How can a man in such attire
    Set any spinster’s heart on fire?

    Thou art in dress no epicure,
      By weight of fashions overladen;
    Thy tawdry togs do not allure
          The soul of every maiden;
    They sound no echoing color-note
    To her tempestuous petticoat.

    Her stylish skirt, her dainty blouse,
      Are crêpe-de-chine, or bombazine[2];
    Compare the texture of thy trous:
          With _their_ chromatic sheen;
    To what abysm of taste we reach
    By the Observance of thy Breech!

    Think what she pays her _modiste_ for
      Those hats of questionable shapes,
    Surmounted by a seagull or
          Some imitation grapes!
    Small wonder she receives a shock
    Each time she views thy “billycock”!

    Observe how like an autumn leaf
      The colors of the male canary,
    The garb of each New Zealand chief
          Who woos his Little Maori;
    The savage mind has thus designed
    A dress to please its womankind.

    And tho’ I would not have thee go
      As far as primal man or beast,
    To lovely woman thou should’st show
          _Some_ deference at least,
    And give a thought of what to wear
    Upon the public thoroughfare.

    And should’st thou wish to walk aright,
      Let Mr. Beerbohm be thy mould;
    Sedate yet courtly, and polite
          As any beau of old;
    Yea, plant thy footsteps in the tracks
    Of our inimitable Max!

    Enclose thy larynx in a stock
      (As though afflicted with the fever);
    And in the place of “billycock”
          Procure a bristling “beaver”;
    And practise, not I hope in vain,
    The “conduct of a clouded cane.”

    If thou consentest thus to act,
      In scorn of popular convention,
    Thy bearing shall indeed attract
          Much feminine attention;
    As day by day, in brilliant hue,
    Thy figure fills Fifth Avenue.

    [2] Impossible.--Publishers’ Reader.
        These ones were.--H. G.

    [Illustration:
        “_Small wonder she receives a shock each time she views
          thy billycock_”
    ]



“_Lochinvar_”

(WITH APOLOGIES TO SCOTT AND SWINBURNE)


    When the shadow-shapes shone like a shaddock,
      Where the sunset had kissed them to flame,
    On his palfrey, the pick of the paddock,
      With his sword in its scabbard, he came!
    In the glamour of amorous passion
      He would blaze like a seasoned cigar;
    And he fought in a similar fashion,
          Did Young Lochinvar!

    By the fences and fens unaffrighted,
      And unstopt by the stream in its spate,
    In a lather, at last, he alighted,
      And he knocked at the Netherbys’ gate.
    ’Twas too late! (As he doubtless had dreaded.)
      He perceived his particular “star”
    To a blackguard about to be wedded,
          Did Young Lochinvar!

    But he passed through the portal so proudly
      To the room where the gifts were displayed,
    That old Netherby called to him loudly
      (For the bridegroom, poor fool, was afraid).
    “Is it blood you are bent upon shedding?
      With a murder this marriage to mar?
    Or to waltz do you wish at the wedding,
          My Young Lochinvar?”

    He replied, “Tho’ ’twere useless to smother
      My love for the maid at your side;
    Tho’ my Helen be bound to another,
      I shall trust to the turn of the tied.
    As I drink to her squint and her freckles,
      I’ll remark how few ladies there are
    Who would shrink from a share of the shekels
          Of Young Lochinvar.”

    Then he pledged her in port, so politely
      (Tho’ her mother lamented his taste),
    And she smiled at him ever so slightly,
      As he settled his arm round her waist.
    When he drew her direct to the dancers,
      The Bohemian band struck a bar,
    And she found herself leading the Lancers
          With Young Lochinvar!

    Oh, the beauty and grace are so vivid
      Of this perfectly parallel pair,
    That the parents grow purple and livid,
      And the bridegroom is tearing his hair;
    While the bridesmaids talk ten to the dozen,
      Saying: “Goodness, what gabies we are,
    Not to marry our exquisite cousin
          To Young Lochinvar!”

    Then the girl by her partner is beckoned
      To the door, where a charger they find;
    To the saddle he springs in a second,
      And he lifts her up lightly behind;
    “She is mine!” he announces, adjourning
      To the distant horizon afar,
    “Till the cattle to roost are returning!”[3]
          Says Young Lochinvar.

    O the tumult! The tumbling of tables!
      O the stress of the scene that succeeds!
    O the stir on the stairs,--in the stables!
      O the stamping and saddling of steeds!
    But the bride has eluded them surely;
      In the room of some kind Registrar,
    She is now being wedded securely
          To Young Lochinvar!

    [3] “Till the cows come home”: an old English saying, denoting
        eternity.

    [Illustration:
        “‘_She is mine!’ he announces, adjourning To the
           distant horizon afar_”
    ]



_Abbreviation’s Artful Aid_


    The Bard, at times
    Is stumped for rhymes,
      Without the least excuse.
    He can defy
    Such moments by
      Abbreviation’s use,
    And gain the grat:
      Of friend or neighb:
    Without an at:
      Of extra lab:

    So simp: a rule
    May seem pecul:
      And make the crit: indig:
    What matter if
    The scans: is diff:
      The meaning too ambig:?
    The net result,
      Lacon: and punct:
    Is worth a mult:
      Of needless unct:

    We long for sile:
    From folks who pile
      Their worldly Pel: on Oss:
    Extremely nox:
    And quite intox:
      By their exhub: verbos:
    We curse their imp:
      In manner dras:
    And fail to symp:
      With their loquac:

    In House of Rep:
    Applause is tep:
      For periphrastic Pol:
    Reviewers sniff
    At auth: prolif:
      With semiannual vol:
    But we can pard:
      However peev:
    The minor bard
      Who will abbrev:

    With pen and ink
    In close propinq:
      The Poet, lucky fell:!
    Avoiding troub:
    May give his pub:
      The cred: for some intell:
    And like an orph:
      In pose recumb:
    In arms of Morph:
      Securely slumb:

    Let corks explode:
    With brand: and sod:
      Ye wearers of the mot:!
    Decant the cham:
    (What matt: the dam:?)
      And empt: the flowing bott:!
    And ne’er surren:
      The Laureate’s palm,
    His haunch of ven:
      And butt of Malm:!



_Author’s Aftword_


    How I have labored, night and day,
      Just like the hero of a novel,
    To drive the hungry wolf away
          From my baronial hovel,
    To keep the bailiffs from my home,
    By finishing this bulky tome.

    To such a trying mental strain
      My intellect is far from fitted,
    Tho’ if I had an ounce more brain
          I should be quite half-witted,
    And when I wander in my mind
    I am most difficult to find.

    The sort of life for which I care
      Is one combining Peace and Plenty
    With _laisser aller_, _laisser faire_,
          And _dolce far niente_.
    (The heart of ev’ry Bridge-fiend jumps:
    _Dolce_ ... ’tis sweet to make “No Trumps.”)

    I shrink from work in any shape,--
      Too clearly do these pages show it,--
    But work is what one can’t escape
          And be a Minor Poet;
    And critics I may well defy
    To find a minor bard than I.

    I ought to live out ’Frisco way,
      Where working is considered silly,
    As Greeley (Horace) used to say,--
          Or was it Collier (Willie)?--
    “Go West, young man” (I understand),
    “Go West and blow up with the land!”

    Were I as full of zeal and fun
      As Balzac, who could drudge so gaily,
    Or diligent as Peter Dunne,
          I might accomplish daily
    An ode of Pleasure or of Passion
    In Ella Wheeler Wilcox fashion;

    But, as it is, I sit and toil,
      Consuming time and ink and curses
    And pints of precious midnight oil
          To perpetrate these verses.
    If _writing_ them be dull indeed,
    Alas! what must they be to _read_!





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