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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 104, January 7, 1893   By:

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JANUARY 7th 1893.





SCENE The Elysian Fields, a flower gemmed bank, by a flowing stream, beneath the sylvan shade of unfading foliage. Mr. PUNCH who is free of all places, from Fleet Street to Parnassus discovered, in Arcadian attire, attempting "numerous verse" on a subject of National importance to wit, the approaching Royal Marriage.

Mr. Punch. Propt on this "bank of amaranth and moly," Beneath the shade of boughs un melancholy, I meditate on Æstas and on Hymen! Pheugh! What a Summer! Torrid drought doth try men, And fields and farms; yet when our Royal MAY Weds in July 'tis fit that Phoebus stay His fiery car to welcome her! By Jove, That sounds Spenserian! Illustrious Love Epithalamion demands, and lo! We've no official Laureate, to let flow, With Tennysonian dignity and sweetness, Courtly congratulation. DRYDEN's neatness, Even the gush of NAHUM TATE or PYE Are not available, so PUNCH must try His unofficial pen. My tablets, TOBY! This heat's enough to give you hydrophoby! Talk about Dog days! Is that nectar iced? Then just one gulp! It beats the highest priced And creamiest champagne. Now, silence, Dog, And let me give my lagging Muse a jog!

[ Writes, with one eye on the portraits of the Duke of YORK and the Princess MAY, the other on the iced nectar cup.

Humph! I do hope the happy Royal Pair (Whose counterfeit presentments front me there, Inspiring, in young manhood and frank beauty) Will think their Laureate hath fulfilled his duty, His labour of most loyal love, discreetly. Compliments delicate, piled not sickly sweetly, Like washy WARTON's, nor so loud thrasonical Like Glorious JOHN's that they sound half ironical! 'Tis hard indeed for loyal love to hit The medium just 'twixt sentiment and wit

[TOBY barks, and a mellifluous voice soundeth, courteously intervenient, as two splendid Shades steal silently through the verdurous shadows.

First Voice. But you have hit it, never missing One!

Second Voice. For fulsome twaddle finds best check in Fun!

Mr. Punch ( with respectful heartiness ). What! Sweet voiced SPENSER! Chivalrous souled SIDNEY!! This is a joy! For heroes of your kidney PUNCH hath a heartier homage, as he hopes, Than the most thundering Swinburnian tropes Could all express!

Spenser ( smiling mildly ). ALGERNON's one of Us! In fierce superlatives, and foam and fuss, He deals o'ermuch, but proof lies in his page. He 's of the true Parnassian lineage, And should be Laureate if he care to be so.

Sidney. Would he but heed what HORACE wrote to PISO! "The singing skill of god APOLLO's giving" Is his, however, and no lyrist living Hath such a stretch of finger, or such tone.

Mr. Punch. Faith, but he sings immortal Fames your own, My PHILIP, latest and not least in strains That thrill our nerves and mount into our brains. If he would study less in GOSSON's "School" (That of "Abuse," o'er which you laid the rule In your "Defence of Poesy"), and stay Less in dim Orcus than Arcadia, Then well, I might have well been spared this task. SPENSER, you penned your own ; now may I ask Epithalamion recipes from you?

Spenser ( smiling ). Yes when you need them! I was Laureate too! There's enough inspiration in those faces [ Pointing to portraits of the Duke of YORK and the Princess MAY. To bring the needful Muses, and the Graces, All to your aid!

Mr. Punch. By Jove! That "takes the cake." You great Elizabethans had the knack Of courtly compliment. Young GEORGE, fair MAY, Shall have your mot upon their marriage day, As a choice wedding gift, to pair with mine!

Spenser and Sidney ( together )... Continue reading book >>

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