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Madam, I beg your pardon! I think that you mean to be kind, But I cannot hear what you say for my Willy's voice in the

windThe snow and the sky so bright-he used but to call in the

dark, And he calls to me now from the church and not from the

gibbet-for hark! Nay-you can hear it yourself—it is coming-shaking the

walls Willy—the moon's in a cloud-Good night. I am going. He calls.

Alfred Tennyson

26

THE BORE 1

IT chanced that I, the other day,

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T chanced that I, the other day,

Was sauntering up the Sacred Way,
And musing, as my habit is,
Some trivial random fantasies,
That for the time absorbed me quite,
When there comes running up a wight,
Whom only by his name I knew;
“Ha! my dear fellow, how d'ye do?"
Grasping my hand, he shouted. “Why,
As times go, pretty well," said I;
“And

you, I trust, can say the same.”
But after me as still he came,
“Sir, is there anything," I cried,
“You want of me?" "Oh," he replied,
"I'm just the man you ought to know;
A scholar, author!” “Is it so?
For this l'll like you all the more!”
Then, writhing to evade the bore,

i Satire IX. Translated by Sir Theodore Martin.

I quicken now my pace, now stop, And in my servant's ear let drop Some words, and all the while I feel Bathed in cold sweat from head to heel. “Oh, for a touch,” I moaned in pain, "Bolanus, of thy madcap vein, To put this incubus to rout!” As he went chattering on about Whatever he descries or meets, The crowds, the beauty of the streets, The city's growth, its splendor, size. “You're dying to be off,” he cries; For all the while I'd been stock dumb. "I've seen it this half hour. But come, Let's clearly understand each other; It's no use making all this pother. My mind's made up, to stick by you; So where you go, there I go, too.” "Don't put yourself," I answered, "pray, So very far out of your way. I'm on the road to see a friend, Whom you don't know, that's near his end, Away beyond the Tiber far, Close by where Cæsar's gardens are." "I've nothing in the world to do, And what's a paltry mile or two? I like it so I'll follow you!” Down dropped my ears on hearing this, Just like a vicious jackass's, That's loaded heavier than he likes; But off anew my torment strikes, "If well I know myself, you'll end With making of me more a friend

Than Viscus, ay, or Varius; for
Of verses who can run off more,
Or run them off at such a pace?
Who dance with such distinguished grace?
And as for singing, zounds!” said he,
"Hermogenes might envy me!”
Here was an opening to break in.
“Have you a mother, father, kin,
To whom your life is precious?” “None;-
I've closed the eyes of every one.”
Oh, happy they, I inly groan.
Now I am left, and I alone.
Quick, quick, dispatch me where I stand,
Now is the direful doom at hand
Which erst the Sabine beldam old,
Shaking her magic urn, foretold
In days when I was yet a boy:
“Him shall no poisons fell destroy,
Nor hostile sword in shock of war,
Nor gout, nor colic, nor catarrh.
In fullness of the time his thread
Shall by a prate-apace be shred;
So let him, when he's twenty-one,
If he be wise, all babblers shun.”

Now we were close to Vesta's fane. 'Twas hard on ten, and he, my bane, Was bound to answer to his bail, Or lose his cause if he should fail. “Do, if you love me, step aside One moment with me here!” he cried. “Upon my life, indeed, I can't, Of law I'm wholly ignorant;

And

you know where I'm hurrying to.” "I'm fairly puzzled what to do. Give you up, or my

cause?''

“Oh, me, Me, by all means!" "I won't!" quoth he; And stalks on, holding by me tight. As with your conqueror to fight Is hard, I follow. “How,”—anon He rambles off,—"how get you on, You and Mæcenas? To so few He keeps himself. So clever, too! No man more dexterous to seize And use his opportunities. Just introduce me, and you'll see, We'd pull together famously; And, hang me then, if, with my backing, You don't send all your rivals packing!” “Things in that quarter, sir, proceed In very different style, indeed. No house more free from all that's base, In none cabals more out of place. It hurts me not if others be More rich, or better read than me. Each has his place!” “Amazing tact! Scarce credible!” “But 'tis the fact." “You quicken my desire to get An introduction to his set.“With merit such as yours, you need But wish it, and you must succeed. He's to be won, and that is why Of strangers he's so very shy.” “I'11

spare no pains, no arts, no shifts! His servants I'll corrupt with gifts. To-day though driven from his gate, What matter? I will lie in wait,

To catch some lucky chance; I'll meet
Or overtake him in the street;
I'll haunt him like his shadow. Nought
In life without much toil is bought.”

Just at this moment who but my
Dear friend Aristius should come by?
My rattlebrain right well he knew.
We stop. “Whence, friends, and whither to?
He asks and answers.

Whilst we ran
The usual courtesies, I began
To pluck him by the sleeve, to pinch
His arms, that feel but will not Alinch,
By nods and winks most plain to see
Imploring him to rescue me.
He, wickedly obtuse the while,
Meets all my signals with a smile.
I, choked with rage, said, “Was there not
Some business, I've forgotten what,
You mentioned, that you wished with me
To talk about, and privately?”
“Oh, I remember! Never mind!
Some more convenient time I'll find.
The Thirtieth Sabbath this! Would you
Affront the circumcised Jew?”
“Religious scruples I have none."
“Ah, but I have. I am but one
Of the canaille-a feeble brother.
Your pardon. Some fine day or other
I'll tell you what it was.” Oh, day
Of woeful doom to me! Away
The rascal bolted like an arrow,
And left me underneath the harrow;

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