A Peter Pindaric to and of the Fog

from Punch

Impartial Fog!
Imperial Smellfungus!
Great Cacafogo! High (and low) Mundungus!
Wherever born,—
Whether in Allan's or in Holland's bog,
Or where the wakeful Morn
Dresses herself by starlight—at the Pole,
Nature's impassable goal;
Or whether born and bred on agueish Essex' shore,
With stagnant waters greenly mantled o'er;—
Thou least-illustrious visitor!
Poking thy foreign way along,
Link-led and stumbling,
Blind-led and fumbling,
And always in the wrong;
Thou great unsung of song!
Inimical to light as an inquisitor,
But not so blood-ferocious,
Dark-hooded, and atrocious;
For, give thee undisturb'd thy gloomy way,—
Uninterrupted, let thee clap
A dark extinguisher on lightsome Day,
On early Morning a night-cap,
And 'tis remarkable how easy,
Though somewhat queasy,
Thou slumberest—how Session-long thy stay!
And very marvellous how
Innocuously quiet!
Passive as Daniel in the lions' den—
The living Daniel—flung to rav'nous men,—
(Delicious picking,
Although no chicken!)
Who lick their longing chaps, and get a precious licking!—
Daniel, who dreads that any row
Should spring up anywhere, and he not breed the riot!
All hail, great Fog! not but a leetle rain—
A small, slight drizzling of natural, moist sorrow—
Would make our dark perplexities more plain,
And give us hopes of seeing a to-morrow!
Dear Fog, abate the vigour
Of your full-volumed breath!
Day was a dingy white
Till you "put out the light,"
Like black Othello
When stifling his dear wife to death;
And, here, you've gone and made the comely fellow
A pretty figure,—
A horrid Nigger!
Hear me, if you're a hearkener!—
An English day at best is but a darkener
At any time o' year;
(It costs housekeepers many
A pretty pound and penny
To see that clear.)
Look through the lustrous city,
And you will think 'tis pity
That Phœbus—
So shrewd a god, good at a rhyme
And rebus—
Should waste his precious time
In trying to look down
Upon this independent town;
And pertinaciously keep poking—
(While all the city wags are joking
At his egregious folly
And failure melancholy)—
Poking his ineffectual beams between the clouds,
Hovering sootily over it in crowds
To intercept his rays,
And turn them other ways.
He ought by this time to have known—
(His chaste, night-wandering sister,
Who does contrive to glister,
She should have told him)—that London, day and night,
Is better lit by gas than by his sultry light.
Come, brighten up, great Fog, and don't look gloomy
While I can see you—for these eyes grow rheumy!
Clear up, for Heaven's and dear London's sakes:
For, while you're groping here, there's sad mistakes
Making in every possible direction,
And some without detection!
There's some one, as I've struggled through the Strand,
Has had his hand
In my coat-pocket more than half a minute,
Though there is nothing but one sonnet in it!
La! bless me! well, how odd! why, I declare
It is my own hand I've detected there!—
I think that wasn't me that trod upon my toes?
There—dear me! why I've hit some other person's nose!
Lord! how the Simpson swears,
And hits about, and tears,
While I keep snug, and leave the angry ass
Just room enough to let his passion pass,
And laugh to hear him give himself such ultra-Donkey airs!
Madam, I really beg a person of your charms
A thousand pardons
For running so unbidden to your arms!
"Och! for five fardens
Your honour's wilcum as the flowers in May
To call agin there any day!
And p'r'aps it's you don't want a basket-woman?"—
Kitty Malone, by all that's Irish-human!—
"Och! long life to your honour! May your eyes
Be iver jist as bright as the Green Island's skies,
And niver foggy!"
I add—"Nor groggy;
Ay, Katty?"
"'Od dra't ye!"
For if to Kate some female errors fall,
Pay her gin-score, and you whitewash them all.
Now, which way should I turn to escape the Strand?
"Fait', then, it's handy—turn to your right hand!"
'Gad! I'm so posed, I know not left from right;
But, here goes—anywhere! Oh, guide me, Sight!
Heaven bless me! what
Is this I've run against, and fix'd it to the spot?
Bless the dear child! you really shouldn't stand
In people's way
In such a day.
Dear me! I've stunn'd her so, she cannot speak,
Not even shriek!
How pale she turns—white as a Greenland ghost!
Oh, horror! what a hue!
What shall I—can I do!
Her face is frozen-cold—her eyes all whites!
Here, help! watch! murder! lights! oh, lights!——
Zounds! what a fool I am! Why, here have I
Been wasting all this morbid sympathy—
This tenderness and pity—on a post!
Come, that is strange and laughable enough!
Talk of the drolleries of "Blind-man's buff,"
And "Catch who can,"
This is as laughable,
And chaffable,
To a good-humour'd man!—
(Between parentheses, and just by way
Of taking breath—sub rosá, I will say
That I like Blind-man's buff, and I confess it,
Bless it!
For, in that playful sport, if you 're inclined,
And your hand sees, though both your eyes are blind,
You may, perhaps, catch the petticoat of Miss
Some one or other,
Or her still-handsome mother,
And snatch a kiss,
Which taken impromptu in that lively way.
In pure Platonic play,
Is pleasant—very!
And makes one merry,
And very easily finds ready pardon.)
Well, by this time, I must be near the Garden?
Yes, there's the smell eternal
Of cabbages infernal,
Those flatulencies vernal!
And there's the Hummums—(which my dear friend Stubbs,
Who speaketh through his nose, calls the Hubbubs!)—
Yes, and although the fog's
Perplexing in th' extreme, this must be Mogg's?
And this the Arcade which the dear Cockneys call
"Pie-hay-sir,"—sounds not like the sounds at all!
Corruption villanous! I here denounce it,
And pronounce it
And rhyme it to "Buy hat, sir!"
And there's the Theatre where solemn Siddons,
And that great "last of all the Romans," Kemble,
Made you for pity weep, or with touch'd passion tremble!
And this is Robins's—Robins, whose Darwin powers
In making his poetic flowers
(See his advertisements and auctions) tell—
(While those for sale upon the florists' leads.
Hard by,
"Hide their diminished heads,"
And, envious, die)—
Are known so well!
So far, so good. Hah! here is Gliddon's!
And now I am no longer at a loss
Which way to go;
So, here I'll shoot across
Quick as a fool's bolt from his bow.
'Sblood! what a bump—
Not named in Spurzheim—
This cursed, confounded, and confounding pump,
With its large handle stretch'd out to the nor'ward,
Has suddenly developed on my forehead,
Which nothing hurts him!
How I should like to give some one a thumping!
You little scoundrel! night or day,
Whene'er I pass this way,
You d—d young rascal, you are always pumping!
Take that—and that—and that!—
Och, murder! if I haven't kick'd
(For which I shall get lick'd)
A stout, broad-shoulder'd, five-foot-seven Pat,
Just the unlikeliest chap
To take a given rap!
"Fly, Fleance, fly!" Don't stop to "take
Your change," for Heaven's and England's sake!
Well run, for forty-seven!—a tolerable foot-race!
And now I calmly recollect the place,
Its ins and outs,
And roundabouts,
A batter'd nose and broken shin
Are not too much to pay to win.
What's that?
Something that moves soft and slow,
Like graceful dancer in a furbelow!—
What are you? Ho!
A walking Vestris, with a leg to show?
So be it!
Come, come, you all-engrossing Fog,
You're "going the whole hog,"
And hoggishly won't let me see it!
Pit-pat again! encore pit-pat!
Oh, disappointment dire! a vagabond tom-cat!
Here, Paddy that I kick'd, if you can see,
Kick this great mousing brute in lieu of me!
Well, if again I go out in a fog,
May I be call'd a blind man's stupid dog,
A bat, a beetle, "a good-nater'd fellar!"
Headlong I dive—out of it—into the Cider-cellar!

November, 1837.