Verses from a letter
to Andrew Lang







I reside at Table Mountain and my name is Truthful James
I am not versed in lecturin' or other sinful games.
You will please refrain from shooting while my simple lyre I twang
To the tale of Mister Haggard and his partner Mister Lang.

They were high toned litterateurs and two most unhappy men
For they started to enlighten our enlightened citizen;
And thanks to the reporter who the interviewing fixed—
Mister Lang with Mister Haggard got inextricably mixed.

Now our sunward-gazing nation gets its information slick
From the daily mornin' journal—an' it reads darnation quick
So if that information be inaccurately wild
Some eighty million citizens are apt to be beguiled.

In the ears of Mister Haggard whom they hailed as Mister Lang
The societies of Boston ethnologically sang
And they spoke of creature-legends, and of totem, myth and sign
And the stricter law of Metre—Mister Haggard answered 'Nein'.

Then emboldened by his silence which was painful and extreme
They discoursed of gnome and kelpie and the imp that steals the cream.
And of pornographic poems (which the same he never knew)
And they bade him chaunt a rondel—Mister Haggard then withdrew.

His subsequent adventures form no part of this concern—
It is to the other person Mister Rangard Hang we turn;
Our sunward-gazing nation fell upon him in a mass
Demanding little stories of his friend Umsloppogas.

The Prohibition Party made him lecture on the fate
Of the female Cleopatra who imbibed her poison straight
While the Theosophic centres were revolving round his knees
And suggesting further volumes on some forty further 'Shes'.

But the straw that broke that camel was Chicago's mild request
For a Zulu dance in character—appropriately dressed
And vain is approbation when the path to glory leads
Through a wilderness of war-whoops and a wardrobeful of beads.

In the 'Iroquois' at Buffalo that partnership broke up
To the melancholy music of a six-shot boudoir Krupp
And the waiters on the staircase counted pistol shot and oath
While the partners argued hotly if the States could hold 'em both.

They collaborate in Yarrup where men know them who from which
And by latest information they are striking of it rich
But when evening lamps are lighted and the evening paper rustles
Still they pick forgotten bullets from each other's gluteal muscles.