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Lauds and libels

Lauds and libels
Category:
Title: Lauds and libels
Release Date: 2018-07-08
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 35
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[i]

LAUDS AND LIBELS

Logo of Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd.

[ii]

BY THE SAME AUTHOR

  • THE HAWARDEN HORACE
  • MORE HAWARDEN HORACE
  • HUMOURS OF THE FRAY
  • PARTY PORTRAITS
  • THE BRAIN OF THE NATION
  • WAR’S SURPRISES

[iii]

LAUDS AND LIBELS

BY
C. L. GRAVES

LONDON
SIDGWICK & JACKSON, LTD.
1918

[iv]


[v]

CONTENTS

MEN, WOMEN, AND BOOKS— PAGE
Piccadilly 9
To “Martin Ross” 11
To Stephen Leacock 14
To “Bartimeus” 16
On Re-reading “Barchester Towers” 18
Bleak House 20
Lines on a New History 22
To my Godson 24
The House-Master 27
The Old Matron 29
Constable Jinks 31
’Twas Fifty Years Ago 33
New Men and Old Studies 36
Remunerative Rhymes 39
WAR WORKERS AND OTHERS—
To Mr. Balfour on his Return 43
The Submerged Leader 45
A Ministerial Wail 47
The Flapper 49
The Feminine Factotum 52
To a New Knight 54
The Tenth Muse 56
[vi]LAYS OF THE LARDER—
Sugar 59
Tea Shortage 62
Margarine 65
A Ballad of Eels 67
A Song of Food-Saving 70
A Queue Song 73
The Imperfect Economist 74
The War Pig: a Palinode 75
VARIA—
Bath 79
In Wild Wales 82
The Little River 84
Six Vile Verbs 86
Some More Bad Words 88
To a Modern Muse 90
Ballade of Free Verse 92
The Strife of Tongues 93
“Jong” 95

NOTE

Acknowledgment is due to the Proprietors and Editor of “Punch”
for their courtesy in allowing me to reprint these pieces.

C. L. G.


[7]

MEN, WOMEN, AND BOOKS

[8]


[9]

PICCADILLY

Gay shops, stately palaces, bustle and breeze,
The whirring of wheels and the murmur of trees;
By night or by day, whether noisy or stilly,
Whatever my mood is—I love Piccadilly.
Thus carolled Fred Locker, just sixty years back,
In a year (’57) when the outlook was black,
And even to-day the war-weariest Willie
Recovers his spirits in dear Piccadilly.
We haven’t the belles with their Gainsborough hats,
Or the Regency bucks with their wondrous cravats,
But now that the weather no longer is chilly
There’s much to enchant us in New Piccadilly.
As I sit in my club and partake of my “ration,”
No longer I’m vexed by the follies of fashion;
The dandified Johnnies so precious and silly—
You seek them in vain in the New Piccadilly.
The men are alert and upstanding and fit,
They’ve most of them done or they’re doing their bit;
With the eye of a hawk and the stride of a gillie
They add a new lustre to Old Piccadilly.
And the crippled but gay-hearted heroes in blue
Are a far finer product than wicked “old Q,”
Who ought to have lived in a prison on skilly
Instead of a palace in mid Piccadilly.
[10]
The women are splendid, so quiet and strong,
As with resolute purpose they hurry along—
Excepting the flappers, who chatter as shrilly
As parrots let loose to distract Piccadilly.
Thus I muse as I watch with a reverent eye
The New Generation sweep steadily by,
And judge him an ass or a born Silly Billy
Who’d barter the New for the Old Piccadilly.

[11]

TO “MARTIN ROSS”

(After reading “Irish Memories.”)

Two Irish cousins greet us here
From Bushe “the silver-tongued” descended,
Whose lives for close on thirty year
Were indistinguishably blended;
Scorning the rule that holds for cooks,
They pooled their brains and joined their forces,
And wrote a dozen gorgeous books
On men and women, hounds and horses.
They superseded Handley Cross;
They glorified the “hunting fever”;
They purged their pages of the dross,
While bettering the fun, of Lever;
With many a priceless turn of phrase
They stirred us to Homeric laughter,
When painting Ireland in the days
Before Sinn Fein bewitched and “strafed” her.
With them we watched good Major Yeates
Contending with litigious peasants,
With “hidden hands” within his gates,
With claims for foxes and for pheasants;
We saw Leigh Kelway drop his chin—
That precious English super-tripper—
In shocked amazement drinking in
The lurid narrative of Slipper.
[12]
Philippa’s piercing peacock squeals,
Uttered in moments of expansion;
The grime and splendour of the meals
Of Mrs. Knox and of her mansion;
The secrets of horse-coping lore,
The loves of Sally and of Flurry
All these delights and hundreds more
Are not forgotten in a hurry.
Yet the same genial pens that freight
Our memories with joyous magic
Gave us the tale of Francie’s fate—
So vulgar, lovable and tragic;
Just to the land that gave them birth
They showed her smiling, sad and sullen,
And turning from the paths of mirth
Probed the dark soul of Charlotte Mullen.
Alas! the tie, so close, so dear,
Two years ago death rent asunder;
Hushed is the voice so gay and clear
Which moved us once to joy and wonder;
Yet, though they chronicle a loss
Whose pang no lapse of time assuages,
The spirit of brave “Martin Ross
Shines like a star throughout these pages.
Here in her letters may one trace
The generous scorn, the gentle pity,
The easy unaffected grace,
The wisdom that was always witty;
[13]
Here, mirrored in a sister soul,
One sees the comrade, strong yet tender,
Who marched unfaltering to her goal
Through sacrifice and self-surrender.

[14]

TO STEPHEN LEACOCK

(Professor of Political Economy at McGill University, Montreal,and author of “Further Foolishness” and other notable worksof humour.)

The life that is flagrantly double,
Conflicting in conduct and aim,
Is seldom untainted by trouble
And commonly closes in shame;
But no such anxieties pester
Your dual existence, which links
The functions of don and of jester—
High thoughts and high jinks.
Your earliest venture perhaps is
Unique in the rapture intense
Displayed in these riotous Lapses
From all that could savour of sense,
Recalling the “goaks” and the gladness
Of one whom we elders adored—
The methodical midsummer madness
Of Artemus Ward.
With you, O enchanting Canadian,
We laughed till you gave us a stitch
In our sides at the wondrous Arcadian
Exploits of the indolent rich;
We loved your satirical sniping,
And followed, far over “the pond,”
The lure of your whimsical piping
Behind the Beyond.
[15]
In place of the squalor that stretches
Unchanged o’er the realist’s page,
The sunshine that glows in your Sketches
Is potent our griefs to assuage;
And when, on your mettlesome charger,
Full tilt against reason you go,
Your Lunacy’s finer and Larger
Than any I know.
The faults of ephemeral fiction,
Exotic, erotic or smart,
The vice of delirious diction,
The latest excesses of Art—
You flay in felicitous fashion,
With dexterous choice of your tools,
A scourge for unsavoury passion,
A hammer for fools.
And yet, though so freakish and dashing,
You are not the slave of your fun,
For there’s nobody better at lashing
The crimes and the cant of the Hun;
Anyhow, I’d be proud as a peacock
To have it inscribed on my tomb:
“He followed the footsteps of Leacock
In banishing gloom.”

[16]

TO “BARTIMEUS”

(From a grateful Landsman.)

Although the movements of the sea
Have always been a grief to me
And still at times disastrously
Affect my corpus vile,
Sailors of high and low degree
I long have honoured highly.
But now we honour them far more
Than ever in the days of yore
For all they’re doing in the War
To guard and shield and free us;
And this is where the man on shore
Can learn from “Bartimeus.”
For lately, when I couldn’t stick
A “fearless” book which made me sick
And positively long to kick
The author to the ceiling,
By luck I chanced on your Long Trick
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