Thursday, 20 January 2011


Oh, have you seen the Tattlesnake and have you seen what's in it,
About - dear me! Tut! What's his name? I'll tell you in a minute.
Thwaites? No, not Thwaites. McCorquodale? No, Gillingwater? Coutts?
The man who wears a high-crowned hat and patent-leather boots.

In philanthropic circles he is known as 'Ready Bob;
I think he lives out Kilburn way and rides a chestnut cob.
He gets it in the Tattlesnake! I wonder how he feels
When all his friends their shoulders shrug and turn upon their heels.

We thought him such a thoroughbread! And now it's all found out,
They'd hardly dare to write like that, if there were any doubt.
Besides, twixt you and me, there was a something queer
About his early history, I think I used to hear.

You don't remember? Well, I do; although I could not say
Precisely what the story was, at such a distant day.
These things will always hang about a fellow's after-life,
Oh, now I know! Yes. Was there not some talk about his wife?

Or else it was his sister, or his mother, or his aunt;
Though if I'm asked to give the facts, I frankly say I can't.
But get the Tattlesnake, my boy; you'll find it worth the money,
Unless, of course, you're one of those, who don't find scandal funny.

That class of writing lacks, I own, the literary zeal
To add a charm to Addison, or polish put on Steele,
Between the Tattlesnake and them it's not a case of choosing;
But personality, if dull, is in its way amusing;

Although the way's not that of wit, nor graciousness, nor grammar,
You would not have a rapier-point upon a blacksmith's hammer!
But what of that? On certain ears wit blunted tells the best,
And satire glads the public heart when as a libel dressed.

Of course, I don't defend the thing: It's bad in many ways;
But is not this 'the golden age'? And I suppose it pays.
So get the Tattlesnake.  -  It's dead? Bless me! You don't mean that?
Well, after all, I'm not surprised. I thought it rather flat.

By chance I saw it once or twice, and then I found it slow;
That shameful article I read about a month ago.

But still some dirt will always stick; and long as he may live,
That that same dirt had not been flung a thousand pounds he'd give;  -

When all his old acquaintance cut and every urchin hoots
The man who wears the high-crowned hat and patent-leather boots.

Godfrey Turner

Writer and Journalist