Collegia – Ode 44: Abou’ Ben Heppell


(Apologies to Leigh Hunt)

Benjamin Heppell (may his tribe decrease!)
Awoke one night feeling quite ill at ease
To see, clear in the night-light in his room
Making it pale like to the light of doom,
A spectre writing in a book of lead;
Still ill at ease, and rising up in bed,
His eyeballs staring, thus Ben Heppell said,
“What writest thou?!” – The spectre rais’d its head.
And with a leer and quite suggestive smirk,
Answer’d, “The names of those who will not work.”
“And is mine one?” Ben Heppell asked. “Not so,”
Replied the spectre; then Ben Heppell, low
But cheerfully said, “When writing me please call
“My name as one who loves Maths best of all.”
The spectre wrote and vanished. The next night
It came and gave Ben Heppell quite a fright,
And showed the names whom hate of work had blest,
And lo! Ben Heppell’s name led all the rest!

31. 5. 1928