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And tastes divergent served the end in view;
J. M. Lowry, 1884.
The plot of the Idyll, “ Gareth and Lynnette," was given, in burlesque style, by Mr. Martin Wood in “ The Bath and Cheltenham Gazette" shortly after the appearance of the original.
“The Quest of the Holy Poker,” a parody in blank verse appeared in Punih, March 5, 1870.
Three long Idyllic parodies, entitled “ Willie and Minnie" appeared in Kottabos, a Trinity College magazine, published in Dublin by Mr. W. McGee, in 1876.
The St. Paul's Magazine of January, 1872, contained a most amusing political Idyll, entitled " The Latest Tournament”. an Idyll of the Queen (respectfully inscribed to Alfred Tennyson, Esq., Poet. Laureate). This parody, which consists of nearly 400 lines, describes, in a mock-heroic style, all the principal political celebrities of the day, its satire being aimed at the supposed Republican tendencies of the Liberal party.
"The Prince's Noses," a modern Idyll, by W. J. Linton, a parody of Tennyson's blank verse, appeared in Scribner's Monthly Magazine, April, 1880.
Punch, May 27, 1882, contained a poem entitled “On the Hill; or, Tennysonian Fragments, picked up near the Grand Stand.” This was an imitation of style only.
“Tory Revels" (slightly altered from Tennyson) in Punch, August 26, 1882, commenced thus:“Sir Gypes TOLLODDLE, all an Autumn day, Gave his broad, breezy lands, till set of sun, Up to the Tories." and described a Conservative political picnic. It concluded :“ Then there were fireworks; and overhead SIR GYPES TOLLODDLE's aisles of lofty limes Made noise with beer and bunkum, and with squibs."
The Wheel World, October, 1882, contained a long parody, entitled “ London to Leicester ; a Bicycling Idyl, by Talfred Ennyson (Poet Laureate to the Mental Wanderers, B.C.)” This is written in very blank verse, and is chiefly interesting to 'Cyclists.
Pastime, June 29, 1883, contained " TENNIS, a Fragment of the Lost Tennisiad,” and July 27, 1883, “ The Lay of the Seventh Tournament, both being parodies of Tennyson's "Idylls of the King."
The small detached poems which Lord Tennyson has written for the magazines of late years, have been the cause of numerous and very unflattering parodies.
The following “ Prefatory Poem,” by Alfred Tennyson, appeared in the first number of the "Nineteenth Century," published in March, 1877, by Messrs. Henry S. King and Co., London:
Those that of late had fleeted far and fast
In seas of Death and sunless gulss of Doubt.
“I felt sure on reading the above lines that I had seen among my papers something nearly as prosy. The following is, I consider, not only quite as still as the foregoing, but it seems to me to prove beyond question that the one was suggested by the other. Whether the Poet Laureate or the author of 'The Last Hat' is the plagiarist, I leave others to decide.
THE LAST HAT LEFT.
The Citi MONTENEGRO. (One More Sonnet for ihe Laureate's New Book). (A propos of the hideous obstruction which marks the site of old Temple Bar, and remarkable as being a very close parody of Tennyson's sonneton "Montenegro," which appeared in the Nineteenth Century, May, 1877). I ROSE to show them a half-sovran tail,
To turn to chaff their “freedom” on this height,
With dauntless hundreds struggling main and might
To cross,--the one policeman out of sight,And reach this haven where the strongest quail.
0, smallest among steeples! Precious throne
or Freedom! Why, I merely swell the swarm That surge and seethe in curses and in tears ! Great Gog and Magog! Never since thine own
Odd dodges drew the cloud and brake the storm, Have you produced a mightier crop of jeers !
Punch, December 11, 1880.
The Nineteenth Century for November, 1881, contained a very uncomfortable kind of poem, by Tennyson, entitled “ DESPAIR, a Dramatic Monologue.” The argument of the poem was that “a man and his wife having lost faith in a God, and hope of a life to come, and being utterly miserable in this, resolve to end themselves by drowning. The woman is drowned, but the man is rescued by a minister of the sect he had abandoned.”
The Fortnightly Review of the following month contained a parody which not only turned inside out the arguments of the original poem, but was so exquisitely worded as a burlesque that it was by many attributed to the pen of no less a poet than Mr. A. C. Swinburne,
DISGUST: A DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE. (A woman and her husband, having been converted from free thought to Calvinism, and being utterly miserable in consequence, resolve to end themselves by poison. The man dies, but the woman is rescued by application of the stomach-pump).
I. Pills ? talk to me of your pills? Well, that, I must say is
cool. Can't bring my old man round ? he was always a stubborn
old fool. If I hadn't taken precautions--a warning to all that wiveHe might not have been dead, and I might not have been alive.
II. You would like to know, if I please, how it was that our
troubles began ? You see, we were brought up Agnostics, I and my poor old
RIZPAH, 1883 (Written expressly for this collection). Railing, railing, railing, the crowd from town and lea, When William's voice was heard, “ O poet a peer to be!” “Why should he call me, I wonder, in that high-born house For my politics won't bear searching, and my creed's rather
mixed, you know? “We should be laughed at, my William, 'twould be the jest
of the town; Even the knights would jeer, and the press sure to cry it
down. Why, I can but rule my own land ; when I tried awhile for I only drew empty houses, in this cynical latter age. “Anything failed again ? Nay, what is there left to fail ?'Harold,' or 'Mary,' or ' May,' or even the ‘Lover's Tale?' What am I saying, and why ? fails !- that must be a lie ! Fails--what fails ?- not my faith in play writing, not I. “Why will you call up here?—who are you ?—what have you
heard That you all sit so solemn and quiet ?—nobody's spoken a
word. 0, to make of me-yes, his lordship ! none of the scribbling Have crept in by their rhymes before, as I have dared to do. “Ah! you that have lived so soft, what do you know of the
spite, The cutting and slashing critiques that the wretched papers
write ? I have known it ; when you were amused in the stalls the
first night of a play, And chattered and gossipped together, and forgot it the very
next day. “Nay, but it's kind of you, William, to gild my
declining life, And make me a peer, a baron, above all this petty strife ; But I haven't left off scribbling, and shall not—no, not I; But I'll write whenever I will, for the public's sure to buy. “I whipt Miss Bulwer for jeering, and gave it him, slightly
riled, For inocking at me, or my poems, has always driven me
wild. To be idle-I couldn't be idle—I do not write for a whim, And a guinea a line is better than a short “ Italian Hymn.” “So, William, I thank you gladly; I think you meant to be
kind; And I will not heed the mob, whilst they'll very quickly
find The poems will read as well by a Lord as ever they did
before, And the publishers sell more copies, and more, and more,
and more. See how it reads for yourself, to be stuck up on every wall, Lord Tennyson's Poems complete, in a specially printed Vol.”
And we got some idea of selection and evolution, you knowProfessor Huxley's doing-where does he expect to go!
III. Well, then came trouble on trouble on trouble—I may say, a
peckAnd his cousin was wanted one day on the charge of forging
a chequeAnd his puppy died of the mange-my parrot choked on its
perch. This was the consequence, was it, of not going weekly to church?
IV. So we felt that the best if not only thing that remained to be
done On an earth everlastingly moving about a perpetual sun, Where worms breed worms to be eaten of worms that have
eaten their bettersAnd reviewers are barely civil—and people get spiteful
lettersAnd a famous man is furgot ere the minute hand can tick
nineWas to send in our P.P.C., and purchase a packet of strychnine.
V. Nay--but first we thought it was rational-only fairTo give both parties a hearing—and went to the meeting
XI. I meant of course to go with him-as far as I pleased - but
first To see how my old man liked it, I thought perhaps he
might burst. I didn't wish it-but still it's a blessed release for a wifeAnd he saw that I thought so—and grinned in derision-
and threatened my life If I made wry faces--and so I took just a sip—and heWell-you know how it ended-he didn't get over me.
XII. Terrible, isn't it? Still, on reflection, it might have been
He might have been the unhappy survivor, and followed my
hearse. “Never do it again ?" Why, certainly not. You don't Suppose I should think of it, surely? But anyhow-there
At the curve of the street that runs from the Stag to the old
Blue Lion. “ Little Zion” they call it-a deal more
"little" than “ Zion.”
VI. And the preacher preached from the text, “Come out of
her.” Hadn't we come? And we thought of the Shepherd in Pickwick—and fancied
a flavour of rum Balmily borne on the wind of his words—and my man said,
“ Well, Let's get out of this, my dear--for his text has a brimstone smell."
VII. So we went, O God, out of chapel-and gazed, ah God, at
the sea. And I said nothing to him. And he said nothing to me.
VIII. And there, you see, was an end of it all. It was obvious, in
fact, That, whether or not you believe in the doctrine taught in a
tract, Lise was not in the least worth living. Because, don't you
see? Nothing that can't be, can, and what must be, must. Q.E.D. And the infinitesimal sources of Infinite Unideality Curve' in to the central abyss of a sort of a queer Personality. Whose refraction is felt in the nebulæ strewn in the pathway
of Mars Like the pairings of nails Æonian--clippings and snippings
of starsShavings of suns that revolve and evolve and involve-and
at times Give a sweet astronomical twang to remarkably hobbling rhymes.
IX. And the sea curved in with a moan—and we thought how
once-before We fell out with those atheist lecturers-once, ah, once and
no more, We read together, while midnight blazed like the Yankee
flag, A reverend gentleman's work—the Conversion of Colonel
Quagg. And out of its pages we gathered this lesson of doctrine
pureZephaniah Stockdolloger's gospel-a word that deserves to
endure Infinite millions on millions of Infinite ons to come “Vocation,” says he, “is vocation, and duty duty. Some."
X. And duty, said I, distinctly points out-and vocation, said he, Demands as distinctly—that I shouid kill you, and that you
should kill me. The reason is obvious- we cannot exist without creeds-who
can ? So we went to the chemist's- 5-a highly respectable church.
going manAnd bought two packets of poison. You wouldn't have done so.
Wait. It's evident, Providence is not with you, ma'am, the same
thing as Fate. Unconscious cerebration educes God from a fog, But spell Gol backwards, what then? Give it up ? the
answer is, dog. (I don't exactly see how this last verse is to scan, But that's a consideration I leave to the secular man).
There still remain a great many parodies of Tennyson's poems to be quoted, and every day increases their number. It will, therefore, be necessary to return to this author in some future part of this collection; the following references are given to some of the more easily accessible parodies, which space will not now permit me to quote in full :
“ Edinburgh Sketches and Miscellanies.” By Eric. Edinburgh and Glasgow : John Menzies and Company, 1876, contains Codger's Hall, a long and humorous parody of Locksley Hall; Once a Week, Echoes from the Clubs, and The Weekly Dispatch, October 19, 1884, also contained parodies of the same poem,
Lady Clara Vere de Vere was the subject of an advertising parody, of which the best verse ran :
“Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
You wore last year at Maidenhead ?
Now “velveteen” is all the go ;
Is not more ancient than that dress." whilst the Charge of the Light Brigade was thus imitated by a Birmingham tea-dealer :
“Half a League ! Half a League !
Walk many hundred.
Say many hundred !
Find they have blundered.”
“ The Song of the 'Skyed' one, as sung at the Academy on the first Monday in May,” was a parody, in ten verses, commencing: AWAKE I must, and early, a proceeding that I hate, And cab it to Trafalgar Square, and ascertain my fate; For to-morrow's the Art-Derby, the looked-for opening day Of the Fire Art Exhibition, yearly shown by the R.A.
This appeared in Punch, May 11, 1861.
The May Queen was also imitated in a poem contained in Modern Society, March 29, 1884. It was entitled “ Baron Honour," and was a very severe, and rather vulgar, skiton Lord Tennyson's adulation of the Royal Family.
In The Weekly Dispatch, September 9, 1883, five parodies were printed in a competition to anticipate the Poet Laureate's expected poem in commemoration of the late John Brown; a subject on which, however, Lord Tennyson has not as yet published a poem. In the same newspaper six parodies of Hands All Round were inserted on April 2, 1882.
These were very entertaining, and were severally entitled : “ Pots all Round ;" “ Tennysonian Toryism Developed ;" “ Drinks all Round ;" Cheers all Round;" “ Hands all Round (with the mask off)"; and “Howls all
Truth, February 14, 1884, contained a parody entitled “ In Memoriam ; a Collie Dog." Punch also had a parody with the title “ In Memoriam" on July 9, 1864.
“ The Two Voices, as heard by Jones of the Treasury about Vacation time,” was the title of a long parody in Punch, September 7, 1861.
There was also a political parody, on the same original, in Punch, May 11, 1878.
" Recollections of the Stock Exchange," a long parody of Recollections of the Arabian Nights, and dealing with the topic of Turkish Stocks, appeared in Punch, December 18, 1875
“The Duchess's Song,"after Tennyson, was in Punch, September 3, 1881; and British Birds, by Mortimer Collins (1878), contained, amongst others, a capital parody of Tennyson.
Bards, pour your benison on Baron Tennyson,
Who vulgarised the art of rhyming,
In endless jingle-jangle chiming :
Recitative and Aria : Lord Tennyson.
When morning sees the groaning board
With my baronial breakfast spread
With bacon crisp and snow-white bread,
I thrill as with a lightning shock
Make dark to me the opening day,
And sonnet, ode, and roundelay
At each delivery they throng,
While any hour may bring along
Each with its laudatory ode
In peace ; I vow that from today
I'll have them carted straight away
The contract signed, I breathe again.
Finale : Chorus of Toetasters.
Dares he treat our yerses thus?
Of a poetaster's “cuss ?”
Epigrams, satiric skits?
Also shine as would-be wits.
British taxpayers are we;
Don't we stand his salary?
To some other, blander bard,
Uppish, arrogant, and hard.
Won't treat brother poets thus.
Doubtless he'll appreciate us ;
Our effusions every one.
THE POETASTERS : A DRAMATIC CANTATA.
Chorus of Poetasters.
Till every cobbler's turned a poet,
In justice to be made to know it.
The Reverend Charles Wolfe.
Since the June and July parts were published containing parodies on “ The Burial of Sir John Moore," Truth has had a Parody Competition with that poem as the selected original. The Editor of Truth published no less than twentyfour parodies, many of whicii were very amusing.
Some of the best are given complete, with a few extracts from the remainder :
Slowly and smoothly we glided out
Of the station so grim and so gritty;
ORCHIS. THE BURIAL OF MY FELLOW LODGER'S BANJO. Not a “strum” was heard, not a tune or a note,
As his chords to the damp earth I hurried ;
O'er the grave where the banjo I buried.
The sods with a fire shovel turning.
And revenge in my heart fiercely burning.
Not as much as once did I sound it, But I laid it gently down to its rest,
With a Daily Nerus wrapped round it.
PARODIES OF “THE BURIAL OF SIR JOHN MOORE.”
THE DEATH OF THE “ CHILDERSES."
Quickly and gladly I laid it down
To a place where no more it could worry, • I stirred not a twine and I raised not a tone, But I silently left in my glory.
Nor half-sovereigns were we, but ten-shilling bits,
The thin, jaundiced children of Childers ; To name us the public were put to their wits,
As some called us “ Guilders,” some “Gilders."
And were sparingly sed by our nurses ;
Abuse, imprecations, and curses.
To those who so coldly received us :
Till sweet death in his mercy relieved us.
And they were brief snatches of sorrow ;
We were only for idiots to borrow.
Of the fun we should have when grown older ;
"“ golder. Lightly they talked of our humble alloy,
And how we were base and degraded ; And tried in all possible ways to annoy
Our lives, which already were faded. Though half our heavy blows and kicks,
We never thought once of returning ; We passed over the “Styx” without passing the “ Pyx,
Or the wonders of life ever learning.
We made room for the use of our betters ;
THE FATE OF GENERAL GORDON. Not a drum was heard, not a martial note,
As our Gordon to Khartoum was hurried ; But into the desert our hero we shot,
And there in the desert he's buried. No useful soldiers were with him sent,
Neither horseman nor footman we found him ; But alone, on a camel, our warrior went,
With the soe and the desert all round him, Few and short were the prayers he made,
Not a word of complaint or of sorrow; But we coldly declined to give him our ait,
And told him to wait - till “to-morrow !" And he thought as he lay on his anxious bed,
Or the foe-threatened city defended : " 'Tis plain that the men who are over my head
Have ideas I've not quite comprehended.” And lightly men talk of his fanatic ways,
Because life and wealth he nought reckons ; But little he recks of their blame or their praise,
And goes straight where his own honour beckons.
That of " rescuing and retiring
And thousands upon him are firing.
'Tis a mean and pitiful story ; God grant we mayn't have to carve on his stone, "England left him alone in his glory.”
GUINEA PIG. THE FUNERAL OF ONE MORE VICTIM AT
MONTE CARLO, Not a franc he had, not a louis nor note,
As forth from the tables he hurried ; Resolved to discharge one fatal shot,
And leave his corpse to be buried. They buried him deeply at dead of night,
The soil with their mattocks turning ; When the sinking moon resused her light,
And the lamps had ceased from burning.
“drum " was given, nor dance of note; From the "course at sair Goodwood we'd hurried ; Not a soul here but uttered farewell, and shot
Out of town, looking jaded and worried.
And lightly they'll talk of the “Master” that's gone,
Ani o'er his own “ Hashes” abuse him ; But little he'll reck, if they'll let him sail on
In the yacht which was built to amuse him ! But half of our heavy trunks were down,
When the clock struck the hour for departing ; And we heard the distant discordant groan
Of the engine ready for starting !