(Apologies to Gray)
Being the Twenty-Fourth of the Black Hole Ballads
‘Twas in the Grammar School’s green yard
Where Sixth Form’s flowers bloomed on the sward,
(The gayest fellows that we know!)
O quaintest of all human kind
Our Gus, looked not before, behind,
But on the lake below.
His fallen face dismay declared;
He stroked what might have been a beard
With nicotine-stained paws;
His coat was open, eke his flies,
His long ears flanked his emeral eyes,
He stood amid applause.
Still had he gazed, but in the tide
Two angel forms were seen to glide,
Harry and Johnnie twain.
One’s frequent spits his traits betrayed,
The other’s face was undismayed,
Than red was red again.
The hapless man with wonder saw
A big spit first and then a claw;
With many an ardent grasp
He stepped in vain upon dry land,
Wishing at length young Pedder’s hand
He fervently could clasp.
Presumptous man! with looks intent
Again he stretched, again he bent,
Nor wist the gulf between –
Malignant Fate sat by and smiled –
The slippery edge his feet beguiled,
He ankle-deep strode in!
He struggled, struggled through the flood
And prayed, perhaps, to Newbold’s god
A speedy aid to send: –
But Harry went, and Johnnie stirred,
His piteous cries went past unheard;
A master has no friend.
Walk on, O Boldgus, undeceived,
Know one false step is ne’er retrieved –
He splashed with manner bold:
Heedless of all the curious eyes
He knew that losers win no prize,
Nor all that wrinkles, old!
2. 6. 1928