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Ballad Of A Bun, A

Owen Seaman 1861 – 1936

'I am sister to the mountains now,
And sister to the sun and moon.'
'Heed not belletrist jargon.'

From Whitsuntide to Whitsuntide,
That is to say, all through the year,
Her patient pen was occupied
With songs and tales of pleasant cheer.
But still her talent went to waste
Like flotsam on an open sea;
She never hit the public taste,
Or knew the knack of Bellettrie.
Across the sounding City's fogs
There hurtled round her weary head
The thunder of the rolling logs;
"The Critics' Carnival!" she said.
Immortal prigs took heaven by storm,
Prigs scattered largesses of praise;
The work of both was rather warm;
"This is," she said, "the thing that pays!"
Sharp envy turned her wine to blood,
I mean it turned her blood to wine;
And this resolve came like a flood,
"The cake of knowledge must be mine!
"I am in Eve's predicament,
I sha'n't be happy till I've sinned;
Away!" She lightly rose, and sent
Her scruples sailing down the wind.
She did not tear her open breast,
Nor leave behind a track of gore,
But carried flannel next her chest,
And wore the boots she always wore.
Across the sounding City's din
She wandered, looking indiscreet,
And ultimately landed in
The neighbourhood of Regent Street.
She ran against a resolute
Policeman standing like a wall;
She kissed his feet and asked the route
To where they held the Carnival.
Her strange behaviour caused remark;
They said, "Her reason has been lost;"
Beside her eyes the gas was dark,
But that was owing to the frost.
A Decadent was dribbling by;
"Lady," he said, "you seem undone;
You need a panacea; try
This sample of the Bodley bun.
"It is fulfilled of precious spice,
Whereof I give the recipe;,
Take common dripping, stew in vice,
And serve with vertu; taste and see!
"And lo! I brand you on the brow
As kin to Nature's lowest germ;
You are sister to the microbe now,
And second-cousin to the worm."
He gave her of his golden store,
Such hunger hovered in her look;
She took the bun, and asked for more,
And went away and wrote a book.
To put the matter shortly, she
Became the topic of the town;
In all the lists of Bellettrie
Her name was regularly down.
"We recognise," the critics wrote,
"Maupassant's verve and Heine's wit;"
Some even made a verbal note
Of Shakespeare being out of it.
The seasons went and came again;
At length the languid Public cried:
"It is a sorry sort of Lane
That hardly ever turns aside.
"We want a little change of air;
On that," they said, "we must insist;
We cannot any longer bear
The seedy sex-impressionist."
Across the sounding City's din
This rumour smote her on the ear:
"The publishers are going in
For songs and tales of pleasant cheer!"
"Alack!" she said, "I lost the art,
And left my womanhood foredone,
When first I trafficked in the mart
All for a mess of Bodley bun.
"I cannot cut my kin at will,
Or jilt the protoplastic germ;
I am sister to the microbe still,
And second-cousin to the worm!"
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

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Owen Seaman

Sir Owen Seaman, 1st Baronet was a British writer, journalist and poet. He is best known as editor of Punch, from 1906 to 1932. more…

All Owen Seaman poems | Owen Seaman Books

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