A newspaper correspondent recently made the rather rash statement that the present writer might be chosen in place of Mr Rudyard Kilping to write an ode for Victoria's War Memorial Shrine. As an alternative, the correspondent made the still rasher suggestion that, were a competition to be made of it, Mr Kipling might come off second best.
This is a case in which I think I might reasonably cry, "Save me from my friends!" without any suggestion of false modesty.
The thing has troubled me so persistently since the question was mooted (I disapprove or people who moot things) and my mind has been so obsessed by the mere thought of such a terrible ordeal that I actually dreamed the other night that the contest had been arranged, and was in the course of happening - not, as might be thought, at our various study desks, but in a queer sort of boxing ring with highbrow seconds in either corner and a referee whom the somewhat crude spectators referred to as "Bill," but who bore a remarkable resemblance to William Shakespeare.
At the first sound of the gong, Rud. Kipling hopped in and socked me on the jaw with a sonnet. I tried to counter with a dirty elegiac stanza, but he came in with his left and landed me again with an Alexandrine verse to the heart that fairly rocked me on my metric feet.
For obvious reason, I don't remember much more of that round, nor of the next; for he launched his sudden attack again and got me a beauty with a piece of anapestic verse just above the belt. I tried to reply rather weakly, with a hendecasyllabic rhyming; but the man suddenly became a whirlwind, got in several quick dactylic cadences, a couple of hexametres, and finally sent me down for the count with an octosyllabic jolt to the jaw.
Ruddo Kipling had my measure from the very start; and, when eventually I awoke, I decided that, if the contest ever did really happen, I would go forearmed to the fray with a rhyming dictionary in one glove and a thesaurus in the other.
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-04|