Sunday, December 20, 2009
Parodies of Housman
What - still alive at twenty-two,In a letter to his brother (September 19, 1925), Housman called Kingsmill's parody "the best I have seen."
A clean, upstanding chap like you?
Sure, if your throat is hard to slit,
Slit your girl's, and swing for it.
Like enough you won't be glad,
When they come to hang you, lad:
But bacon's not the only thing
That's cured by hanging from a string.
So, when the spilt ink of the night
Spreads o'er the blotting-pad of light,
Lads whose job is still to do
Shall whet their knives, and think of you.
Other parodies include Ezra Pound, Mr. Housman's Message:
O woe, woe,and this one by Humbert Wolfe:
People are born and die,
We also shall be dead pretty soon
Therefore let us act as if we were dead already.
The bird sits on the hawthorn tree
But he dies also, presently.
Some lads get hung, and some get shot.
Woeful is this human lot.
Woe! woe, etcetera....
London is a woeful place,
Shropshire is much pleasanter.
Then let us smile a little space
Upon fond nature's morbid grace,
Oh, Woe, woe, woe, etcetera....
When lads have done with labour
In Shropshire, one will cry
"Let's go and kill a neighbour,"
And t'other answers "Aye!"
So this one kills his cousins,
And that one kills his dad;
And, as they hang by dozens
At Ludlow, lad by lad,
Each of them one-and-twenty,
All of them murderers,
The hangman mutters: "Plenty
Even for Housman's verse."