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England's Alfred Abroad
[M. Alfred Austin, poète-lauréat d’Angleterre, vient d’arriver à Nice, où il a devancé la Reine. Il était, hier, dans les jardins de Monte-Carlo. Sera-ce sous notre ciel qu’il écrira son premier poème?––Menton-Mondain.]
Wrong? are they wrong? Of course they are, I venture to reply; For I bore ‘my first’ (and, I hope, my worst) A month or so gone by; And I can’t repeat it under this Or any other sky. What! has the public never heard In these benighted climes That nascent note of my Laureate throat, That fluty fitte of rhymes Which occupied about a half A column of the Times? They little know what they have lost, Nor what a carnal beano They might have spent in the thick of Lent If only Daniel Leno Had sung them Jameson’s Ride and knocked The Monaco Casino. Some day the croupiers’ furtive eyes Will all be wringing wet; Even the Prince will hardly mince The language of regret At entertaining unawares The famed Alhambra Pet. But still not quite incognito I mark the moving scene, In a tepid zone where (like my own) The palms are ever green, And find myself reported as A herald of the Queen. Here where aloft the heavens are blue, And blue the seas below, I roll my eye and fondly try To get the rhymes to go, As I pace The Garden that I love, Composing all I know. But when my poet-pinions droop, And all the air is wan, I enter in to the courts of sin And put a louis on, And hold my heart and look again, And lo! the thing is gone! Wrong? is it wrong? To baser crafts Has England’s Alfred pandered, Who once to the sign of Phœbus’ shrine With awesome gait meandered, And ever wrote in the cause of right According to his Standard? Nay! this is life! to take a turn On Fortune’s captious crust; To pluck the day in a human way Like men of common dust; But O! if England’s only bard Should absolutely bust! A laureate never borrows on His coming quarter’s pay; And I mean to stop or ever I pop My crown of peerless bay; So I’ll take the next rapide to Nice, And the ’bus to Cimiez.
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