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Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, February 1, 1890   By:

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VOL. 98

FEBRUARY 1, 1890



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

Le Diable Boiteux.


"'MRS. MÆCENAS!' So some would be wit Dubbed the fair dame. The title may not fit With accurate completeness; It soars some shades too high, this modish mot , As 'Mrs. LYON HUNTER' sinks too low; Both nick names fail in neatness.

"The ' acu tetigisti ,' tribute rare, Not oft is earned, in Fleet Street or Mayfair, In these hot days of hurry. Salons , Symposia, both have met their doom, And wit, in the Victorian drawing room, Finds a fell foe in flurry."

So spake the Shadow, with the covert sneer That struck so coldly on the listening ear. Soft was his speech, as muffled By some chill atmosphere surcharged with snow, In unemphatic accents, level, low, Unhasting and unruffled.

"Mrs. MÆCENAS, then, no HORACE finds In all her muster of superior minds, Her host of instant heroes? That's hard!" I said. "She does not greatly care," My guide rejoined. "Behold her seated there! Her court's as full as NERO'S.

"SENECA stands beside her. He's a prim, Sententious sage. If she is bored by him, The lady doth not show it. But there's a furtive glancing of her eye Toward the entry. There comes MARX M'KAY, The Socialistic Poet.

"His lyric theories mean utter smash To all his hostess cares for. Crude and rash, But musically 'precious.' His passionate philippics against Wealth Mammon's own daughters read, 'tis said, by stealth, And vote them 'quite delicious!'

"All that makes life worth living to the throng Of worshippers who mob this Son of Song, Money, Monopoly, Merriment, He bans and blazes at in 'Diræ' dread; But then they know his Muse is merely Red In metrical experiment.

"Well dressed and well to do, the flaming Bard Finds life in theory only harsh and hard. His chevelure looks shaggy, But his black broad cloth's glossy and well brushed, And he'd feel wretched if his tie were crushed, His trousers slightly baggy.

"KARL MARX in metre or LASSALLE in verse, The vampire horde of Capital he'll curse, And praise the Proletariat; But having thus delivered his bard soul, He finds it, practically, nice to loll With DIVES in his chariot.

"Lyrical Communism will not fright Those 'Molochs of the Mart' this Son of Light Keeps his poetic eye on. 'Who takes a Singer au grand sérieux ?' Mrs. MÆCENAS asks. So he's on view, Her Season's latest lion.

"But not alone," I said. "If all this host Are right authentic Leos, she must boast As potent charm as CIRCE'S. What is her wand? Is't wit, or wealth, or both?" "Listen! That's MUMPS the mimic, nothing loth, Rolling out VAMPER'S verses!

"VAMPER looks on and smiles with veiled delight. Boredom's best friends are fellows who recite. None like, not many listen, But all must make believe to stand about And watch a man gesticulate and shout, With eyes that glare and glisten.

"'Tis hard indeed to hold in high esteem The man who mouths out Eugene Aram's Dream In guttural tones and raucous. All these have heard a hundred times before Young Vox, the vain and ventriloquial bore They'd fain despatch to Orcus.

"So have they listened many and many a time To little JINKS, the jerky comic mime, And his facetious chatter. But ill would fare Town's guest if he refused For the five hundredth time to be 'amused' By gush, or cockney patter.

"HORACE'S Piso were a pleasant chum Compared with slangy laureates of the slum. Hist! There's a tenor twitter, A tremulous twangle of the minor strings. 'Tis SERAPHIN, sleek Amateur, who sings, 'Glide where the moonbeams glitter!'

"'To puling girls that listen and adore Your love lorn chants and woful wailings pour!' Sang HORACE to HERMOGENES... Continue reading book >>

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