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(drawn by Matt Morgan) in condemnation of this senseless and dangerous form of entertainment; it also published the following parody
In 1879 the Editor of The World offered a prize for the best parody on Tennyson's LotusEaters, the chosen subject being “Her Majesty's Ministers at Greenwich."
The prize was awarded to the author of the following parody, which appeared in The World, for September 3rd, 1879:
THE WHITEBAIT EATERS.
A DREAM OF FAIR WOMEN. I READ, before I fell into a doze,
Some book about old fashions-curious tales Of bye-gone fancies~kirtles and trunk hose
Of hoops, and fardingales
Preluded our vile fashions of to-day-
With steel-bound taffeta-
Of Hamlets strutting in their full court suits, Slouch-hatted vlllains of transpontine plays,
All belt and bucket boots
“ COURAGE!" they said, and pointed through the gloom;
“There is a haven in yon fishful clime, At dinner-time they came into a room,
In which it seemed all day dinner-time. All in the midst the banquet rose sublime,
Whose menu excellent no tongue might blame; And round about the board, without their Prime,
Without their prime delight and chiefest fame, The mild-eyed muddle-headed wbitebait-eaters came. They sat them down upon the yellow chairs,
And feasted gaily as in days of yore; And sweet it was to jest of late affairs,
Of Ward and Power and Cat; but evermore Most weary seemed the Session almost o'er,
Weary Hibernian nights of barren seed. Then some one said, “We shall come here no more !"
And all at once they cried, “No more, indeed The ballot shall release; we will no longer lead "
“ Let there be Peace with Honour !" Why should we always toil, when England's trust is dead ?
Let us alone. What pleasure could we have
We have done neither quite.
our song; O rest ye, brother Ministers, we shall not labour long.
AUGUSTO MENSE POETA.
(C. 7. Billson.)
So shape chased shape (as swiftly as, when knocks
Of angry tradesmen bluster at the door,
Boils over on the floor.)
Elbowed the Past from out the PRESENT's way ; And opened in my dream, distinct and plain,
A vision of to-day, Methought that I was on what's called “a spree,"
Yet sadly pensive in the motley throng:
Of idiotic song ;
All common sense, votes decency a bore,
Yells out a loud “Encore"
A form to make the boldest hold his breath,
Plays pitch and toss with Death.
Sensation in the chance of broken necks !
To such a scorn of sex!
The comic muse her false position feels,
Has taken to her heels.
Where Dulness hides behind the mask of Fun,
And lime-light is the sun;
And airy nothings pass for full attire,
And thi only blush, Red Fire !
In the year 1868, when the mania for trapeze performances was at its height, and men and women were nightly risking their lives to please the thoughtless audiences at the music halls, The Tomahawk had some powerful cartoons
Then starting I awoke from my nightmare.
A nightmare ? No! the truth came clear to me. I'd dream'd the truth- bare facts (O much too bare !
And stern reality,
0, rare pale Margaret,
Of pensive thought and aspect pale,
Your melancholy sweet and frail As perfume of the cuckoo-power ?
of “ Locksley Hall," " La Mort D'Arthur," concerning Mechi's steel; and " The Biter Bit.”
“The Biter Bit” is a kind of burlesque continuation of "The May Queen,” the pathos of the original being turned into cynical indifference, whilst preserving a great similarity of style and versification.
O, SLIPshop Mary Ann,
0, draggled Mary Ann,
To beat the mats as with a flail,
To lift with ease that heavy pail ?
What songs the long-legged son of Mars-
O, red-armed Mary, you may tell
You wonder how he has the heart,
In milk for her he loves so well !
You are not quite so plain,
As your twin-sister, Mary Jane,
Not touched with such a grimy hue,
With cold ærially blue,
ALBANY CLARKE. From The Weekly Dispatch, June 25th, 1882.
THE BITER BIT. The sun is in the sky, mother, the flowers are springing fair, And the melody of woodland birds is stirring in the air ; The river, smiling to the sky, glides onward to the sea, And happiness is everywhere, oh mother, but with me! They are going to the church, mother, I hear the marriage
bell : It booms along the upland, oh! it haunts me like a knell ; He leads her on his arm, mother, he cheers her faltering
step, And closely to his side she clings-she does, the demirep ! They are crossing by the stile, mother, where we so oft have
stood, The stile beside the shady thorn, at the corner of the wood; And the boughs, that wont to murmur back the words that
won my ear, Wave their silver blossoms o'er him, as he leads his bridal
fere. He will pass beside the stream, mother, where first my hand
he pressed, By the meadow where, with quivering lip, his passion he
confessed; And down the hedgerows where we've strayed again and yet
again ; But he will not think of me, mother, his broken-hearted
Jane! He said that I was proud, mother,--that I looked for rank
and gold ; He said I did not love him,-he said my words were cold ; He said I kept him off and on, in hopes of higher game, And it may be that I did, mother, but who hasn't done the
same? I did not know my heart, mother, -I know it now too late ; I thought that I without a pang could wed some nobler
mate ; But no nobler suitor sought me,-and he has taken wing. And my heart is gone, and I am left a lone and blighted thing. You may lay me in my bed, mother,-my head is throbbing
sore, And mother, prithee, let the sheets be duly aired before ; And if you'd do a kindness to your poor desponding child, Draw me a pot of beer, mother,--and, mother, draw it mild
It is in the strongly marked individuality of some of Tennyson's early poems that we find the secret of much of his popularity, and the excuse for the vast number of parodies' of his works scattered about in nearly all our humorous literature. Three of his early poems have been especially chosen by parodists as models for imitation; these are '“ The May Queen,” “Locksley Hall," and “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”
In the “Bon Gaultier Ballads,” by Theodore Martin and Professor Aytoun, will be found several parodies of Tennyson, also of Lord Macaulay, Thomas Moore, Bulwer Lytton, Mrs. Browning, and of Leigh Hunt, of whom parodies are somewhat scarce.
Of the parodies of Tennyson, “ Caroline " and “The Laureate” have already been quoted ; the others are “The Lay of the Lovelorn” and “ The Dirge of the Drinker,” both in imitation
THE MAY QUEEN CORRECTED—MAY, 1879. They must wrap and cloak me warmly, cloak me warmly,
mother dear, For to-morrow is the iciest day of all the sad new year. Of all the sad new year, mother, the snowiest, blowiest day, And I'm to be Queen of the May, mother, I'm to be Queen
of the May.
CARTED AWAY. (A Farewell Ode to the Brompton Boilers.) You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear, There's a work I wouldn't miss for worlds, a sight my heart
does cheer : Well, I know you'll not believe, mother, a word of what I
say; But they're carting the boilers away, mother, they're carting
the boilers away. There's many a black eye, of course, a moral one I mean, Has been exchanged about them, for many a fight they've
seen ; But no more need of cavil now, the fact's as plain as day. They're carting the boilers away, mother, they're carting the
boilers away. Good taste had slept so sound, mother, I thought 'twould
never wake, But the Press, at last, has given it a most decided shake ! Yes, at length its up and doing, oh, and isn't Brompton gay While they're carting its boilers away, mother, they're carting
its boilers away!
The following appeared in The Referee in 1882:
“Chief Justice May has scandalously prejudged the Land League case, and in common decency' he should not be allowed to try it. A fair trial is impossible after the partisanship which, in the vilest possible taste, this person has displayed. It is not the practice even now in Ireland to hang people first and try them afterwards, and May may congratulate himself upon having done the very worst thing in his power for the Government brief, which, sitting in judge ment, he had the effrontery to flaunt in the face of the accused."
The MAY OF THE QUEEN.
(The Land League Boy to his Mother). You must wake and call me early ; call me early, mother
dear; To-morrow will be the saddest time of Ireland's sad new
year. of all this threat'ning year, mother, the blackest, foulest,
day, For I'm to be tried by Judge May, mother, I'm to be tried
by Judge May. There's many a black, black crime, mother, they charge
against your lad ! There's Boycotting and murder, and everything that's bad And I'm bound to be convicted, though innocent, they say, For I'm to be tried by Judge May, mother, I'm to be tried
by Judge May. You know I wasn't there, mother, when all the row was
made; I never made a wicked speech, or led a Land League raid ; But the judge has made up his mind to put your boy away For I'm to be tried by Judge May, mother, I'm to be tried
by Judge May. So wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear, For at ten o'clock, before the Court, I'm summoned to
appear. There's little chance of justice, he's a partisan they say This fierce and biassed judge, mother, this Lord Chief
THE PLAY KING. (Not included in Mr. Tennyson's New Volume). You may take and bill me early, bill me early Henry dear ; I'm going to make the biggest hit of all the coming year ; Of all the coming year, HENRY, the safest spec to pay ; For I'm going to write you a play, HENRY, I'm going to
write you a play. There's lots of blank, blank verse, you know, but none so
neat as mine; There's GILBERT, and there's Wills, and-well, some
others in their line ; But none of them are Laureates, though clever in their way ; So I'm going to write you a play, HENRY, I'm going to
write you a play. 'Twill be all right at night, HENRY, on that my name I'll
stake : I've got a good Egyptian plot, that's safe, I'm told, to take. You're poisoned in a temple, Miss Terry dies at bayI am writing you such a play, HENRY, I am writing you such
So please call me very early-Oh! I mean it-mother dear, For I wouldn't miss the sight for worlds, it's such a bright
idea ; They're nearly done-a pole or two will go and then
hooray! The boilers are carted away Mother, are carted for ever
As I came towards the theatre, whom think ye I should see. But Messrs. Hare and KENDAL, looking sorrowful at me? They were thinking of The Falcon I wrote but yesterday, And they didn't ask me for a play, Henry, they didn't ask
me for a play. I know your ghost draws well, Henry, but don't be in a
fright, My forte isn't stage-effect ; when I write plays, I write, You'll have five pages at a time, - as much as you can say ; But a Poet is writing your play, Henry, a Poet is writing
your play. Some critics tell me that my place is not behind the scenes ; That if I must descend I might stop short at magazines. But as Queen Mary from the doors the money turned away, You must lɔng for another big play, Henry, you must long
for another big play, For fads and fancies grow, HENRY, to wither like the grass,The latest, culture;- and for that, my name doth current
pass, So that's why though I can't construct, and you feel all
astray, You've asked me to write you a play, HENRY, you've asked
me to write you a play. So take and bill me early, bill me early HENRY, dear ; I'm going to make the biggest hit of all the coming year ; Of all the coming year, Henry :-and if it shouldn't pay :Still I shall have written your play, HENRY, I shall have written your play!
From Punch, December 4th, 1880. These verses had reference to the announcement that the Poet Laureate was writing a tragedy to be produced at the Lyceum Theatre. This was The Cup, which was indeed a greater success than most of Mr. Tennyson's previous dramatic productions, but it owed its popularity to the acting, and to the magnificent mise-en-scene, far more than to its merits as a play, beautiful as it was as a poem. duced on the 19th February, 1881.
And ere he went to bed, J. B.
His aged ma did kiss ;
Did softly warble this:
dearTo-morrow 'll be the happiest time of all this famous year ; Of all this famous year, mother, the grandest, jolliest day, For look on our Queen we may, mother, look on our Queen
we may. There is many a loyal heart, they say, but none so true as
mine, There's Sandy and there's Dougal, across the Border line; But none so true as Johnny, not e'en by Alum Bay, So look on my Queen I may, mother, look on my Queen I
may. All the Strand, dear mother, will be gay with flag and green ; And they're selling seats in windows for gold to see the
Queen ; O long shall Johnny remember the Law Courts' opening
day, When look on the Queen he may, mother, look on the Queen
In London when the Queen was low,
Did loyalty fade rapidly.
Through arches, flags and greenery.
And all was joy and revelry. Then shook the sky with thunder riven, For never heartier cheers were given, As through the streets the Queen was driven,
Attended by her soldiery.
It was pro
In The Referee for December 2, 1882, the following parodies were published. It will be noticed that the first part imitates Cowper's John Gilpin, the second part Tennyson's May Queen, and the third part Campbell's Hohenlinden.
“I beg very humbly to submit a poem to the Royal “Family, the Bench, the Bar, and the British Public on the “opening of the new Law Courts.”
A MEDLEY FOR MONDAY,
Of credit and renown,
Of famous London town.
Though living here we've been
Have never seen the Queen.
Our sovereign does repair ?"
Dear mother, we'll be there."
Tennyson's longest and most important work is the collection of Arthurian Idyls, known as the Idyls of the King. These were originally published in detached parts, in somewhat irregular order, but in recent editions the Author has striven to arrange them in a consecutive, and more connected form.
The first to appear in order of date was the Morte d'Arthur, which was published in the 1842 volume, in the later arrangement of the poems this has been absorbed into the last Idyl, entitled “ The Passing of Arthur.” In the original it commenced thus
“So all day long the noise of battle rollid
Sir Bedivere, the last of all his knights,
Barrow-in-Furness, with a ruined church
Then spoke King Guillaume to Sir Donald C. :
Then bold Sir Donald took Exbrummagem,
So spake he, thinking of constituents, And kept Exbrummagem for future use,
take Excalibur, And fling him far into the middle mere :
Watch what thou seest, and lightly bring me word." This mission was distasteful to Sir Bedivere, who exclaims :
" And if indeed I cast the brand away,
Saying, King Arthur's sword, Excalibur."" Thus much of the original must indeed be in one's thoughts ere the Voyage de Guillaume can be appreciated ; it recounts the holiday trip of the Prime Minister to the north in September, 1883. It will be remembered that Mr. Gladstone was the guest of Sir Donald Currie, on board the Pembroke Castle, and that Alfred Tennyson was also one of the party.
Voyage de GUILLAUME.—A FRAGMENT. To the Editor of the St. James's Gazette.
SIR,—I have received the following lines from North Britain. Evidently it was not without reason that the Prime Minister was accompanied on his cruise by the Poet Laureate.-I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Then came Sir Donald, gave the King his arm, And brought him to the margin of the sea. And at his call there hove a roomy barge, Manned with a gallant crew from stem to stern ; And so they entered, and put off, and reached The stately Pembroke Castle, and were ware That all the decks were deose with manly forms In naval caps and jackets, and with these Three dames in yachting suits; and from them rose A cheer of greeting, and they stretched their hands Took him on board, and laughed, and petted him.
And so they sailed; and while the sea was calm They talked, and sang, and feasted much, and had, In Yankee parlance, “quite a high old time.” But when the wind blew, and the waves arose, It sometimes happened that the grand old face Was white and colourless, and cries of “Steward !" Proceeded from the lips of eloquence. And like a prostrate oak-tree lay the King Wrapped in a shepherd's plaid and mackintosh : Not like that Guillaume who, with collars high, From brow to boot a meteor of debate, Shot through the lists at Westminster, and charged The serried ranks of bold Conservatives,
The St. James's Gazette. September 19th, 1883.
In the 1842 voiume also appeared “Godiva," " Locksley Hall," " Break, Break, Break," and