July 18, 2002
The Use And Abuse Of Toads

Here is another of A. E. Housman's light verses:

As into the garden Elizabeth ran
Pursued by the just indignation of Ann,
She trod on an object that lay in her road,
She trod on an object that looked like a toad.

It looked like a toad, and it looked so because
A toad was the actual object it was;
And after supporting Elizabeth's tread
It looked like a toad that was visibly dead.

Elizabeth, leaving her footprint behind,
Continued her flight on the wings of the wind,
And Ann in her anger was heard to arrive
At the toad that was not any longer alive.

She was heard to arrive, for the firmament rang
With the sound of a scream and the noise of a bang,
As her breath on the breezes she broadly bestowed
And fainted away on Elizabeth's toad.

Elizabeth, saved by the sole of her boot,
Escaped her insensible sister's pursuit;
And if ever hereafter she irritates Ann,
She will tread on a toad if she possibly can.

For better or worse, I have almost run out of Housman verses. After 'Inhuman Henry, or Cruelty to Fabulous Animals', to be posted later today, there is not much left of interest. Previous posts will be found here and here.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at July 18, 2002 09:26 AM

I have been looking for this poem for 35 years. Bits had been quoted to me about Elizabeth and the Toad by a friend, not deceased, but I never had the reference, only that it had been written by a well known author of serious verse.

Posted by: John Uhlemann on April 9, 2003 09:35 PM