Monday, May 12, 2014


He Rolled the Stone of Sisyphus

Thomas Thornley (1855-1949), "Over-Worked," Verses from Fen and Fell (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1919), pp. 53-54:
(A visit to a Government Department)

A gifted friend, I long had known,
Has lately risen to power and place;
I made a pilgrimage of grace,
To see him seated on his throne.

I found him, as my way I picked
Through serried desks, in acid tone,
Complaining through a telephone,
While all around the typers ticked.

He answered with a dreary laugh,
My question how his labour sped,
'If all were done and I were dead,
These words might be my epitaph—

"His labour served but to reveal
A modern type of mountain 'mus,'
He rolled the stone of Sisyphus,
And turned Ixion's useless wheel.

Behind him, whispering bad advice,
An atra-bilious 'Cura' sat—
A care that would have killed the cat
That lapped the milk of Paradise."'

The wine of life, he said, was corked,
The country speeding to the dogs,
The people, foolish as the frogs,
Their log deposed, were now be-storked.

Quoth he 'The wisdom of the day,
Hard on the heels of folly treads,
And thinks, by counting brainless heads,
To charm a nation's ills away.'

He said that no one cared a jot
For aught but his peculiar fad,
There was no balm in Gilead,
Physicians were a wrangling lot;

That things were 'ganging all agley,'
With food, munitions, mice and men,
And, adding 'England is a fen,'
He sighed old Chelsea's 'Ay di mi';

That politicians all were bought,
And trimmed to every wind that blew,
In short, that everyone he knew,
Was doing nothing that he ought.

I let him say his saddening say,
Then, thinking over-work and spleen
Sat on the pulse of his machine,
I softly took myself away.
Oliver Heslop, Northumberland Words, Vol. I (London: English Dialect Society, 1892), p. 23:
AY-DI-MI! a common exclamation expressive of regret or pity, Probably shortened from Ah, dear me! Familiarised by Thomas Carlyle's letters, but often heard as a sigh expressed by old people in Northumberland.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?