Smith is a very stupid man; He lives next door to me; He has no settled scheme or plan Of domesticity. He does not own a gramophone, Nor rush for morning trains; His garden paths are overgrown, He seldom entertains. In all our staid suburban street He strikes the one false note. He goes about in slippered feet, And seldom wears a coat. I don't know how he earns his bread; 'Tis said he paints or writes; And frequently, I've heard it said, He works quite late at nights. She's quite a pretty girl, his wife. Our women-folk declare It is a shame she spoiled her life By wedding such a bear. And yet she seems quite satisfied With this peculiar man; And says, with rather foolish pride, He is Bohemian. He will not join our tennis club, Nor come to may'ral balls, Nor meet the neighbours in a rub At bridge, nor pay them calls. He just delights to scoff and sneer, And feigns to be amused At everything we hold most dear -- What wonder he's abused? Although he's ostracized a deal He never makes a fuss; I sometimes think he seems to feel He ostracizes us! But that, of course, is quite absurd; And, risking the disgrace, I sometimes say a kindly word When I pass by his place. But still, although one likes to keep One's self a bit select, And not be, so to speak, too cheap, I'm broad in that respect. So oft, on sultry summer eves, I waive all diffidence, And chat across the wilted leaves That garb our garden fence. But, oh, his talk is so absurd! His notions are so crude. Such drivel I have seldom heard; His mode of speech is rude. He mentions "stomach" in a bark You'd hear across the street. He lacks those little ways that mark A gentleman discreet. Good books he seldom seems to read; In Art all taste he lacks. To Slopham's works he pays no heed; He scorns my almanacks -- Framed almanacks! It's simply rot To hear the fellow prate About Velasquez, Villon, Scott, And such folk out of date. He lacks all soul for music, too; He hates the gramophone; And when we play some dance-tune new I've often heard him groan. He says our music gives him sad, Sad thoughts of slaughtered things. I think Smith is a little mad; Nice thoughts to me it brings. Now, I have quite a kindly heart; Good works I do not stint; Last week I spoke to Smith apart, And dropped a gentle hint. He will be snubbed, I told him flat, By neighbours round about, Unless he wears a better hat On Sundays, when he's out. Last Sunday morn he passed my place About the hour of four; A smile serence was on his face, And rakishly he wore A most dilapidated hat Upon his shameless head. "This ought to keep 'em off the mat,' He yelled. I cut him dead.
The Bulletin, 10 December 1914, p47
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-06|