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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Editor’s Song (From a Forthcoming Opera)

Guest Blogger: P. G. Wodehouse. In the first decade of the 20th century, P. G. Wodehouse churned out dozens of light-verse pieces for magazines like Punch and the UK edition of Vanity Fair. Soon he turned his versification to musical theater, taking him from the West End to Broadway, where he famously teamed with Jerome Kern. Here's one of his early pieces.


P. G. Wodehouse
When my correspondent told me
    that the war was at an end,
(One morning in the middle of November)
Though bald as any billiard ball,
    my hair I strove to rend
(A very painful process I remember).

The editorial steak and beer untouched
    I left to lie,
In vain they brought my tea and
    muffins to me,
The office boys all whispered, “He must
    weep or he will die.”
The printers and compositors
    looked gloomy.

But now once more the night has fled.
    The morn of hope has blushed,
Through sorrow’s fog the sun of joy
    shines clearly,
My correspondent wires again, “I said the Boers were crushed
But (my mistake) I should have added, ‘Nearly.’”

I heaved a sigh of rapture deep. My health began to mend,
No more with mental anguish am I troubled.
My steps towards the office door with eagerness I wend,
Prepared to work with energy redoubled.

I probe the misty future far as human eye can see,
And find it full of realistic grimness,
For cordons and alarums and excursions there will be,
With saws and modern instances of Slimness.

So broach the oldest cask of ink, produce the freshest quill,
O! Set the presses clanking ever faster,
And let the yearning public once again enjoy its fill,
Of details of the latest new disaster.

Fun Magazine, June 12, 1901    

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