June 16, 2002
More Housman

A. E. Housman was a man of many talents, remembered as a poet, a scholar (one of the greatest Latinists of the last two centuries), and the subject of Tom Stoppard's recent play The Invention of Love. Besides his serious poems, he also wrote children's verse of the usual English semi-sadistic variety. They are not easily found collected in one place. Here are a couple of examples:

Amelia mixed the mustard,
She mixed it good and thick;
She put it in the custard
And made her Mother sick,
And showing satisfaction
By many a loud huzza
'Observe' said she 'the action
Of mustard on Mamma.'

On the death of a female Officer of the Salvation Army

'Hallelujah!' was the only observation
That escaped Lieutenant-Colonel Mary Jane,
When she tumbled off the platform in the station,
And was cut in little pieces by the train.
Mary Jane the train is through yer,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!
We will gather up the fragments that remain.

That is about as much as the copyright laws will allow me to quote right now.

Finally, fans should know that his name was not pronounced 'Houzeman', like John the actor, but 'House-man' with a hard S.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at June 16, 2002 11:05 PM