The Gloomy Victorian by C.J. Dennis

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A learned judge found occasion to refer recently to what he called "the gloomy psychology of Victorians."

Where is this glum Victorian -
   This man of mien forlorn -
Fit butt for some historian 
   To heap with heavy scorn?
I've sought him up an down the street
   Thro' labyrinthine ways,
Wherever men and maidens meet;
By road or rail, or on two feet
   I've searched for him for days.
I've looked for him where business cares
   Weigh down on every rank,
Seeking to catch him unawares
In tears upon the office stairs;
   Yet ever drew a blank
I've sought him in the hinterland
   On Sunny Saturdays.
He smiled a while and waved his hand
   Amid his draughts and drays,
And said, "Excuse me: I must catch
This bus to see a football match,"
   And gaily went his ways. 
In palaces and picture shows
Where e'er a soul for solace goes
I've hunted him; and goodness knows
   He seemed too gay by half;
And neither consciousness of sin
Nor sorrow kept his gladness in;
For, truth to tell, his silly grin
   Fled only for a laugh.

Where is this glum Victorian --
   Man of the brooding eye?
His story, tho' a hoary 'un
   I've failed to verify.
I've sought him on the sandy beach,
Mid shining sheik and perfect peach;
   But he was never there.
I've sought him in the gleaming bush
Mid many a merry hiking push,
   And moaned in my despair.
I've sought him him on the sunlit course
Doing his dough on some slow horse,
   And glimpsed a gloomy note.
But swiftly, moved by some queer force,
He grinned, and backed without remorse
   Another hairy goat ....
Then hopeless, haggard and distraught,
   I met a ragged man
And pitifully him besought
To tell me where he might be caught,
   This glum Victorian.
He looked me up, he looked me down
And, tho' he seemed a sorry clown,
A merry smile replaced his frown
   As thus to me he spoke:
"So far, I ain't met such 'tis true,"
Said he; "but, by the looks of you,
   I reckon you're the bloke."

First published in The Herald, 2 June 1934

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 2, 2013 8:54 AM.

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