A Missing Word






Letter to the Editor, the Pioneer, 25 February I886:
'Sir,—A few days ago a correspondent in your columns
wanted to know what happened to an "obnoxious mariner"
in byegone days. He said the playful practice of dropping
the O.M. on a desert island rhymed to something.
So it does—a whole lot of things. Perhaps this may help '—

'The Musical Toon Tree'.


The bold buccaneer, who had scuttled too soon
(Id est, ere obtaining the last, least doubloon)
Smack, brigantine, frigate, yacht, convoy or schoon–
er was held by his crew an incompetent 'coon';
And, though he had brought them through gale and typhoon,
Had given them treasure—and maidens to 'spoon',
They were wont—like mad dogs at the full of the moon—
To bind him and strip him to breeches and shoon;
Then, seeking some 'key' where the blue breakers croon
O'er the coral reef fringing the placid lagoon,
Where the 'pig' men call 'long' is boiled, roasted or stewn
By the innocent native at morn and at noon;
Where life is affliction and death is a boon
(Such islands e'en now o'er the south seas are strewn)
They would drop there the Captain—a hapless Maroon.


L'ENVOI


Shah, Sultan, Prince, Kaiser, King, Negus, or Woon,
You may search, if you like, from December to June,
Rack Roget's Thesaurus and read till you swoon,
But, unless you work in some allusion to 'dune',
I don't think you'll get a fresh rhyme to Maroon.


Rising to the challenge a little late (133 years) the
People of the Kipling List have suggested this sequel
on March 19th 2020:


'Take a swim if you need one, you useless gossoon !'.

So, stripped to his shirt and a torn pantaloon
Saying 'when I escape I will murder that goon
He was probably naught but a third-rate quadroon
Or even, God save us, a mere octaroon,'
With nothing to eat save a stale macaroon
And no green stuff in sight on the flanks of the dune
And fearing a tiger or ravenous baboon,
With a hideous cry like an ailing bassoon.
Aghast at the echoing wails of a loon
Saying 'I must take courage, else I'm a poltroon
There's really no point in appearing jejune'
He went onwards singing a heartening tune.

Imagine his horror to meet a platoon
Of mercenaries led by an ugly Walloon
Who was – evidently – a tiresome buffoon
And had just disembarked from a hot air balloon
With a dire secret weapon, a savage raccoon.



But he'd noticed a stone with a strange ancient rune
Which confirmed his celestial role as Glaroon
So plunging the beast in a handy spitoon
He brandished a perfectly fearful harpoon
Which he happened to find in a nearbye cocoon
Refusing to plead or at worst importune
And assuming French guise (from his schooldays a boon)
To the mercenary crew he declared
Salut! Une
Amie indienne me confirme qu'une belle lune,

(—His grip on the rhythm had gone—) qu'aucune dune
Ne cache au Deccan, ou précisément Pune,
Lui révèle le secret d'un combat sans rancune;
Lui déclare que ce raton laveur (dit "raccoon")
Cédera en vitesse au wombat, dont de Troon
(En Ecosse) j'ai l'adresse—

D'où Monsieur G Hoon* nous envoie LA SOLUTION:
Le wombat Pachoun (c'est son nom) qui arrive,
Vêtu de Paroun, muni d'aloo Bokhara—
[A prune!]
Se proclamera ROI
...Accompagné d'une des Wallonnes.

*Anciennement ministre de la Défense ("Buffoon")