Harry Graham (poet)

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Jocelyn Henry Clive "Harry" Graham (23 December 187430 October 1936) was an English writer. He was a successful journalist and later, after distinguished military service, a leading lyricist for operettas and musical comedies. He is now best remembered as a writer of humorous verse in the tradition of grotesquerie and black humour, exemplified by the verses of W. S. Gilbert and Hilaire Belloc, in his "Ruthless Rhymes."

Sourced[edit]

Ruthless Rhymes[edit]

Tender-Heartedness[edit]

Billy, in one of his nice new sashes,
Fell in the fire and was burnt to ashes;
Now, although the room grows chilly,
I haven't the heart to poke poor Billy.

Indifference[edit]

When Grandmamma fell off the boat,
And couldn’t swim, and wouldn’t float,
Maria just sat by and smiled -
I almost could have slapped the child!

Compensation[edit]

Weep not for little Leonie,
Abducted by a French Marquis!
Though loss of honour was a wrench,
Just think how it's improved her French.

Calculating Clara[edit]

O'er the rugged mountain's brow
Clara threw the twins she nursed,
And remarked, "I wonder now
Which will reach the bottom first?"

Tragedy[edit]

That morning, when my wife eloped
With James, our chauffeur, how I moped!
What tragedies in life there are!
I'm dashed if I can start the car.

L'Enfant Glacé[edit]

When Baby's cries grew hard to bear
I popped him in the Frigidaire.
I never would have done so if
I'd known that he'd be frozen stiff.
My wife said: 'George, I'm so unhappé!
Our darling's now completely frappé!

Uncle[edit]

Uncle, whose inventive brains
kept evolving aeroplanes,
fell from an enormous height
upon my garden lawn last night.
Flying is a fatal sport,
uncle wrecked the tennis court.

Accident[edit]

"There's been an accident!" they said,
"Your servant's cut in half; he's dead."
"Indeed!" said Mr Jones, "and please
Give me the half that's got my keys."

Other verse[edit]

A Macaronic Poem[edit]

Kaiser Wilhelm II, visiting Brussels, spoke at length with Baron de Haulleville, Director of the Congo Museum, in French, German and English. Harry Graham imagined their conversation.

  • "Guten Morgen, mon ami!
    Heute ist es schönes Wetter!
    Charmé de vous voir ici!
    Never saw you looking better!"
    • Lines 1-4
  • "Ich muss cherchez mon hôtel.
    What a charming Schwätzerei, sir!
    Lebe wohl! Adieu! Farewell!
    Vive le Congo! Hoch der Kaiser!"
    • Lines 13-16

Poetical economy[edit]

  • What hours I spent of precious time,
    What pints of ink I used to waste,
    Attempting to secure a rhyme
    To suit the public taste,
    Until I found a simple plan
    Which makes the lamest lyric scan!

    When I’ve a syllable de trop,
    I cut it off, without apol.:
    This verbal sacrifice, I know,
    May irritate the schol.;
    But all must praise my dev’lish cunn.
    Who realise that Time is Mon.

    • Lines 1-12

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
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