The Legend of the Pill




One final—Oh my Muse Mendacity!
One crowning 'crammer' ere the Bard descends
From 'trailing clouds of glory in the sky
(Anglice from the Hills) to baser ends,
To rain-logged reeking plains that 'neath him lie,
To his belongings—children, wives, and friends,
More briefly, ere he leaves his hotel bill
Unpaid, help out the Legend of the Pill!

'The pills are psychological', the worthy vendor wrote
(He wrote low German, and his name sticks in my tuneful throat):
'I send a mixed assortment (see the labels on the boxes)—
Superior kinds—"St. Ursulas", "Brights", "Bradlaughs", "Pitts", and "Foxes".
And others, still more powerful, consult the invoice, please,
And kindly send per P.M.O. two fifty-nine rupees.'

The pills were psychological—ten-grainers, capsuled. They
Stirred up the moral system in a very curious way;
For the soul that they were made from (Do you follow?) changed your soul
Into his or hers for ever—which was pleasant on the whole,
If you took a highly moral pill in water after dinner,
And woke some mediaeval saint and not a modern sinner.

I had my plan, cut, stacked, and dried, for making S—a nice.
But jimp, my Skye, upset the pills while hunting after mice;
And Hussein Buksh, who picked them up, he couldn't understand
That 'Bradlaughs' and 'St Ursulas' are of a different brand;
He oolta-pooltaed everything and mixed the labels too—
That's how I did a lot of things I never meant to do.

There were some 'Hortense Schneiders', I—I really cannot tell;
I meant to give 'St Ursulas' at Paradise Hotel;
I fancy though these latter were administered by me
In the whiskies and the sodas of the Simla U.S.C.,
For they spoilt a pleasant dinner and a lot of rare bons mots,
And Rattley Trapton (sub of ours) tried singing through his nose.

I had a Julius Caesar—I can only hope all's right—
But it seemed as if the C. in C. was very much John Bright.
He sent the Goorkha Guard away; called fighting 'red d—nation';
And I fancy must, by this time, have resigned his situation;
I meant that five-grain 'Bright' for H—e or C—n, but it's queer
That C—n yearns for Egypt and that H—e's a volunteer.

Our V—y I'd have made a Machiavelli, but for Jimp,
(As sure as there's a fresh mistake I'll shoot the little imp!)
It must have been a 'Simsly Sant' or something of the sort,
For H-s E—y carolled to the grand pianoforte
Instead of circumventing Giers. Where did my 'Garrick' go?
A-h D—n M.'s last lecture was a grand success, you know.

'Relations of the Pulpit and Proscenium.' I guess
That those capsules from Vienna will hatch out some ghastly mess.
Thc're six 'Bradlaughs' round Elysium, 'Adah Isaks Menken' (three)
In an ice plate at Peliti's, and a 'W.E.G.'
Somewhere at the back of Jakko. Hunt, Savonarola, Lowe,
Kant, Schopenhauer, Bismarck, Keats, and Harriet Beecher Stowe;

Swinburne, Richter, Poe, Grimaldi, Wainwright, Burke and Hare, and Reynolds,
And half a dozen others which nor memory nor pen holds
In suspension. These are missing! Jimp has swallowed three or four;
And his canine soul seems torn between Von Bulow and Cavour.

It's a very, very awful 'hat' and this is how you see
That none of you are you at all, nor even I am me.
Before Jimp mixed the pills I took a 'Shakespeare' and a 'Dante'.
That is why my verse is perfect. See this ballad seq. et ante!