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Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Guest Blogger Dept.: We turn again to Harry Graham, whose thoughtful volumes of slim verse proved somewhat scandalous in his oh-so-innocent, fin-de-siècle days!


JOHN, across the broad Atlantic,
Tried to navigate a barque,
But he met an unromantic
And extremely hungry shark.

John (I blame his childhood’s teachers)
Thought to treat this as a lark,
Ignorant of how these creatures
Do delight to bite a barque.

Said “This animal’s a bore!” and,
With a scornful sort of grin,
Handled an adjacent oar and
Chucked it underneath the chin.

At this unexpected juncture
Which he had not reckoned on,
Mr. Shark he made a puncture
In the barque—and then in John.

Sad am I, and sore at thinking
John had on some clothes of mine;
I can almost see them shrinking,
Washed repeatedly in brine.

I shall never cease regretting
That I lent my hat to him,
For I fear a thorough wetting
Cannot well improve the brim.

Oh! to know a shark is browsing,
Boldly, blandly on my boots!
Coldly, cruelly carousing
On the choicest of my suits!

Creatures I regard with loathing
Who can calmly take their fill
Of one’s Jæger underclothing: —
Down, my aching heart, be still!

– Col. D. Streamer (Harry Graham), Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes,
R. H. Russell, New York, 1901

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