'Oh drop your notes' the Viceroy said,
'Let be the script and scrawl;
No longer shall debates be read
In Legislative Hall.
By unassisted verbal skill
Into the Act shall bud the Bill.'
The fiat passed. The notes were dropped;
The script was laid aside.
Incontinent the speakers stopped,
The long discussion died.
D-rb-ngha drooped, and, so 'tis sung,
E'en fluent IIbert held his tongue.
With 'hems' and 'haws' and 'ahs' and 'ohs',
And 'wells' and 'buts' and 'thens'
The torrent trickled to its close;
The stenographic pens
Ceased from their penning—ceased no less
Reports throughout the Indian Press.
The Senior Member winked one eye,
In Legislative style;
And o'er his visage crept, forebye,
A Legislative smile:—
'Habent', he murmured. 'Oh my friends
Methinks the Rent Bill struggle ends.'
And so it did. With break and pause,
With gasp and groan and snort,
They shovelled off each weighty clause,
(Mnemonics weren't their forte).
The ghost was laid. The Members wept;
And like a child our V-e-r-y slept.