The Excursion






My college cap is perched upon my head,
My stomach fortified with College dinner,
I wander with both hands coat-pocketed,
A Lower-Third-form sinner,
Full to the brim of that which boys call cheek,
(I think the other name is self-assertion)
Out for a desultory stroll to seek
Some method of diversion.

I chase their stilt-legged offspring from the mares,
Hurl sundry rocks at sundry wretched ponies,
Disturb some rodents (which were really hares,
But verse will have them 'conies;')
Beguiled the sheep with scraps of bread and smiling,
Then scared their simple souls with stones and sticks:—
A sure and certain method of beguiling
The time from two to six.

Watched in the wind the long reeds shake and quiver,
Grew cold with watching, therefore watched no more,
Walked till I reached the mud banks on the river,
Thence into Appledore.

The tide was out, the weeds smelt very strongly,
And in among the pools the gobies played;
Here asked my way and got directed wrongly
By a mischievous maid,
Digging for bait in shortest of short dresses,
A tin to capture and a knife to slay,
An old straw hat strapt over sun-bleached tresses
With ribbons bleached as they.
I looked sometime and then continued walking,
And left her limpet-catching on the beach,
She wasn't pretty and she sniffed while talking,
And mixed the parts of speech.
Turning towards the river bank I strayed there
For nearly half an hour, found a hut
Some enterprising Colleger had made there,
Smashed it for fun, and cut.

Retraced my steps, and reached again the houses
Where people fold their arms and live at ease,
The streets, where every step an echo rouses,
And children swarm like bees.
Got nearly strangled by a damsel skipping
Who threw some tarry oakum round my throat,
Escaped at length and criticised the shipping,—
Two colliers and one boat.

Felt hungry, turned towards the College slowly,
Thought of my tea, and hurried up a bit,
Refreshed myself, then wrote in rhyme unholy
This story:—study it!