The Literary and Scientific Society
O ye musical nine, who drink the Castalian waters,
Seated on peaks of Olympus (or, if ye prefer it, Olumpos,—
Browning's a far better judge of the matter than yours very truly—),
Pray be so good as to give me assistance,—for, tho' I'm a poet,
I should be glad to receive a certain amount of assistance—,
Give me your help while I sing how Smith, on the 4th of December,
Did us the honour to read a paper entitled "Pompeii,"
In a Society whose name defies the restriction of metre.
Scarce need we tell of his fervour, research, erudition and learning,
These we must all have observed for ourselves, or at all events heard of,
Heard of from President Pashley, our eloquent President Pashley
—Please to observe the effect of a skilfully cooked repetition,
Copied from Homer and Clough and a host of hexameter heroes;
Nor will we trouble our readers with all the particulars,—pictures,
Writings on walls and the like: but this we will say, that Sir Walter,
G. P. R. James and Lord Lytton must yield him the palm in description.
When he described how a skeleton dove had been found at Pompeii,
Found on a skeleton egg, we all of us wept in a chorus.
When he had done, and the weepers had wept, and the stamping was over,
Pashley arose, and he made some remarks in the usual fashion;
"This was an excellent paper, he seldom had heard such a good one,
"Yet there was one little thing he should like to make just one remark on,
"One little point where he did not agree with the reader's opinion,
"One little question on which Mr Smith should have scarcely been silent":
Several more little points, and several more little questions,
Several more little things and so on and so on and so on;
Not that I wish to deny that his speech was exceedingly clever,
Or that we all of us paid him the greatest and deepest attention.
He was immediately followed by Tatham (N.B. to the printer;
Do not omit to put all proper names in capital letters,
Partly because it looks well and smacks of the penny-a-liner,
Partly to comfort our friends when we cannot afford them a Mr):
Much information he gave concerning a building he'd heard of,
Five were its doors and its size 250 x 80.
Jones was the next to arise; and he made us a crushing oration,
Crushing, but pointless withal, like a seventy-ton steam hammer,
(Study that last line well, observe the onomatopoeia),
Crushed Mr Smith with a hint that he had not neglected his Bulwer.
Then Mr Wayte held forth, and his eloquence vied with his learning;
Oh for the tongue, or the pen or the pencil or something of some one,
Some one of fame, who was known from his youth as a friend of the Muses,
Then I might try to depict what was really the speech of the evening.
Now it is useless to try: we will only repeat his suggestion;—
If to Pompeii you go, be sure that you go on a Sunday.
Last Mr Shuckburgh spoke, and his speech was extremely delightful,
Touching on books and the like: we wish we had time to report it.