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Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, February 8, 1890   By:

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOL. 98.

FEBRUARY 8, 1890.

[Illustration: ]

UNTILED; OR, THE MODERN ASMODEUS.

"Très volontiers," repartit le démon. "Vous aimez les tableaux changeans: je veux vous contenter."

Le Diable Boiteux.

XIX.

"A Late Symposium! Yet they're not engaged In compotations. Argument hath raged Four hours by the dial; But zealotry of party, creed, or clique Marks not the clock, whilst of polemic pique There's one unvoided vial."

So smiled the Shade. Dusk coat and gleaming head, Viewed from above, before my gaze outspread Like a black sea bespotted With bare pink peaks of coral isles; all eyes Were fixed on one who reeled out rhapsodies In diction double shotted.

A long and lofty room, with pillars cold, And spacious walls of chocolate and gold; The solid sombre glory Of tint oppressive and of tasteless shine, Dear to the modern British Philistine, Saint, sceptic, Whig, or Tory.

"No Samson strength of intellect or taste Shall bow the pillars of this temple chaste Of ugliness and unction. What is't they argue lengthily and late? The flame of patriot passion for the State Fires this polemic function.

"A caitiff Government has done a thing To make its guardian angel droop her wing In sickened indignation: That is, has striven to strengthen its redoubts, Perfidious 'Ins,' to foil the eager 'Outs.' Hence endless execration.

"Hence all Wire pullerdom is up in arms; With clarion toned excursions and alarms The rival camp is ringing. Hence perky commoners and pompous peers, 'Midst vehement applause and volleying cheers, Stale platitudes are stringing.

"The British Public some five hundred strong Is here to 'strangle a Gigantic Wrong,' So MARABOUT is saying. Watch his wide waistcoat and his wandering eyes, His stamping boots of Brobdingnagian size, Clenched hands, and shoulders swaying.

"A great Machine man, MARABOUT! He dotes On programmes hectographed and Party votes. For all his pasty pallor And shifty glance, he has the mob's regard, And he is deemed by council, club, and ward A mighty man of valour.

"A purchased henchman to a Star of State? Perhaps. But here he'll pose and perorate, A Brutus vain and voluble. And who, like MARABOUT, with vocal flux Of formulas, can settle every crux That wisdom finds insoluble?

"'Hear! hear!' That shibboleth of shallow souls Around his ears in clamorous cadence rolls; He swells, he glows, he twinkles; The sapient Chairman wags his snowy pate, Whilst cynic triumph, cautious yet elate, Lurks laughing in his wrinkles.

"And there sits honest zeal, absorbed, intent, And cheerfully credulous. MARABOUT has bent To the Commercial Dagon He publicly derides; but many here Will toast 'his genuine grit, his manly cheer,' Over a friendly flagon.

"Look on him later! There he snugly sits With his rich patron. Were it war of wits That wakes their crackling chuckles, They scarce were heartier. It would strangely shock MARABOUT'S worshippers to hear him mock The 'mob' to which he truckles.

"Truckles in platform speech. In club room chat With WAGSTAFF, shrewd wire puller, flushed and fat, Or DODD, the rich dry salter, You'd hear how supply he can shift and twist, How BRUTUS with 'the base Monopolist' Can calmly plot and palter,"

"Whilst MARABOUTS abound, O Shade," I cried, "What wonder men are 'Mugwumps?'" Then my guide Laughed low. "The æsthetic villa Finds Shopdom's zeal on its fine senses jar; Yet the Mugwumps Charybdis stands not far From the Machine man's Scylla.

"Culture derides the Caucus for its heat, Its hate its absence of the Light and Sweet, So jays might flout the vulture. Partisan bitterness and purblind haste? Come, view the haunts of dilettante Taste, The coteries of Culture!

"Here Savants wrangle o'er a fossil bone, CHAMPER, with curling lip and caustic tone, At RUDDIMAN is railing... Continue reading book >>


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