Misrepresentative Men by Graham, Harry
[Illustration: "_He might be seen, in any weather, In what is called 'the altogether.'_" _Page 34_]
By HARRY GRAHAM ("COL. D. STREAMER")
_Author of "Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes," etc., etc._
ILLUSTRATED BY F. STROTHMANN
NEW YORK FOX, DUFFIELD & COMPANY MCMV
COPYRIGHT, 1904, BY FOX, DUFFIELD & COMPANY _Published, September, 1904_ PRINTED IN AMERICA
_These Verses are Gratefully Dedicated to_
"_From quiet home and first beginning, Out to the undiscovered ends, There's nothing worth the wear of winning, But laughter and the love of friends._"
My verses in Your path I lay, And do not deem me indiscreet, If I should say that surely they Could find no haven half so sweet As at Your feet. Unworthy little rhymes are these, Tread tenderly upon them, please!
One single favour do I crave, Which is that You regard my pen As Your devoted humble slave. Most fortunate shall I be then Of mortal men; For what more happiness ensures Than work in service such as Yours?
Should You be pleased, at any time, To dip into this shallow brook Of simple, unpretentious rhyme, Or chance with fav'ring smile to look Upon my book; Don't mention such a fact out loud, Or haply I shall grow too proud!
Accept these verses then, I pray, Disarming press and public too, For what can hostile critics say? What else is left for them to do, Because of You, But view with kindness this collection, Which bears the seal of Your protection?
THEODORE ROOSEVELT 17
JOAN OF ARC 39
WILLIAM TELL 51
SIR THOMAS LIPTON 63
_List of Illustrations_
"_He might be seen in any weather In what is called the altogether_" FRONTISPIECE
"_The politician's grip of steel_" 18
"_At six A.M. he shoots a bear_" 22
"_When Eve appeared upon the scene_" 36
"_On concert platforms he perform_" 48
"_Altho' he raised a rasping voice To persons who his view obstructed_" 58
"_But Charlotte Corday came along, Intent to right her country's wrong_" 70
All great biographers possess, Besides a thirst for information, That talent which commands success, I mean of course Imagination; Combining with excessive Tact A total disregard for Fact.
Boswell and Froude, and all the rest, With just sufficient grounds to go on, Could only tell the world, at best, What Great Men did, and thought--and so on. But I, of course, can speak to you About the things they didn't do.
I don't rely on breadth of mind, On wit or pow'rs of observation; Carnegie's libraries I find A fruitful source of inspiration; The new Encyclopædia Brit. Has helped me, too, a little bit.
In any case I cannot fail, With such a range of mental vision, So deep a passion for detail, And such meticulous precision. I pity men like Sidney Lee; How jealous they must be of me!
'Tis easy work to be exact, (I have no fear of contradiction), Since it has been allowed that Fact Is stranger far than any Fiction; But what demands the truest wit Is knowing what one should omit.
Carlyle, for instance, finds no place Among my list of lucubrations; Because I have no wish to face The righteous wrath of his relations. Whatever feud they have with Froude, No one can say that _I_ was rude.
This work is written to supply A long-felt want among Beginners; A handbook where the student's eye May read the lives of saints and sinners, And learn, without undue expense, The fruits of their experience.
A book to buy and give away, To fill the youthful with ambition, For even they may hope, some day, To share the Author's erudition; So not in vain, nor void of gain, The work of his colossal brain.
Alert as bird or early worm, Yet gifted with those courtly ways Which connoisseurs correctly term The _tout-c'qu'-il-y-a de Louis seize_; He reigns, by popular assent, The People's peerless President!
Behold him! Squarely built and small; With hands that would resemble Liszt's, Did they not forcibly recall The contour of Fitzsimmons' fists; Beneath whose velvet gloves you feel The politician's grip of steel.
Accomplished as a King should be, And autocratic as a Czar, To him all classes bow the knee, In spotless Washington afar; And while his jealous rivals scoff, He wears the smile-that-won't-come-off.
[Illustration: "_The politician's grip of steel._"]
In him combined we critics find The diplomatic skill of Choate, Elijah Dowie's breadth of mind, And Chauncey's fund of anecdote; He joins the morals of Susannah To Dr. Munyon's bedside manner.
The rugged virtues of his race He softens with a Dewey's tact, Combining Shafter's easy grace With all Bourke Cockran's love of fact; To Dooley's pow'rs of observation He adds the charms of Carrie Nation.
In him we see a devotee Of what is called the "simpler life" (To tell the naked Truth, and be Contented with a single wife). Luxurious living he abhors, And takes his pleasures out of doors.
And, since his sole delight and pride Are exercise and open air, His spirit chafes at being tied All day to an official chair; The bell-boys (in the room beneath) Can hear him gnash his serried teeth.
In summertime he can't resist A country gallop on his cob, So, like a thorough altruist, He lets another do his job; In winter he will work all day, But when the sun shines he makes Hay.
And thus, in spite of office ties, He manages to take a lot Of healthy outdoor exercise, Where other Presidents have not; As I can prove by drawing your Attention to his _carte du jour_.
At 6 a.m. he shoots a bear, At 8 he schools a restive horse, From 10 to 4 he takes the air,-- (He doesn't take it all, of course); And then at 5 o'clock, maybe, Some colored man drops in to tea.
At intervals throughout the day He sprints around the house, or if His residence is Oyster Bay, He races up and down the cliff; While seagulls scream about his legs, Or hasten home to hide their eggs.
[Illustration: "_At six A. M. he shoots a bear._"]
A man of deeds, not words, is he, Who never stooped to roll a log; Agile as fond gazelle or flea, Sagacious as an indoor dog; In him we find a spacious mind, "Uncribb'd, uncabin'd, unconfin'd."
In martial exploits he delights, And has no fear of War's alarms; The hero of a hundred fights, Since first he was a child (in arms); Like battle-horse, when bugles bray, He champs his bit and tries to neigh.
And if the Army of the State Is always in such perfect trim, Well-organized and up to date, This grand result is due to him; For while his country reaped the fruit, 'Twas he alone could reach the Root.
And spite of jeers that foes have hurled, No problems can his soul perplex; He lectures women of the world Upon the duties of their sex, And with unfailing courage thrusts His spoke within the wheels of trusts.
No private ends has he to serve, No dirty linen needs to wash; A man of quite colossal nerve, Who lives _sans peur et sans reproche_; _In modo suaviter_ maybe, But then how _fortiter in re_!
A lion is his crest, you know, Columbia stooping to caress it, With _vi et armis_ writ below, _Nemo impune me lacessit_; His motto, as you've read already, _Semper paratus_--always Teddy!
In far Elizabethan days (Ho! By my Halidome! Gadzooks!) Lord Bacon wrote his own essays, And lots of other people's books; Annexing as a pseudonym Each author's name that suited him.
All notoriety he'd shirk, Nor sought for literary credit, Although the best of Shakespeare's work Was his. (For Mrs. Gallup said it, And she, poor lady, I suppose, Has read the whole of it, and knows.)
Such was his kind, unselfish plan, That he allowed a rude, unshaven, Ill-educated actor man To style himself the Bard of Avon; Altho' 'twas _he_ and not this fellow Who wrote "The Tempest" and "Othello."
For right throughout his works there is A cipher hid, which makes it certain That all Pope's "Iliad" is his, And the "Anatomy" of Burton; There's not a volume you can name To which he has not laid a claim.
He is responsible, I wot, For Euclid's lucid demonstrations, The early works of Walter Scott, And the Aurelian "Meditations"; Also "The House with Seven Gables" And most of Æsop's (so-called) Fables.
And once, when he annoyed the Queen, And wished to gain the royal pardon, He wrote his masterpiece; I mean That work about her German Garden; And published, just before his death, The "Visits of Elizabeth."
Yet peradventure we are wrong, For just as probable the chance is That all these volumes may belong To someone else, and not to Francis. I think,--tho' I may be mistaken,-- That Shakespeare wrote the works of Bacon.
If you approach the Mosque of Fame, And seek to climb its tallest steeple, Just lodge a literary claim Against the works of other people. And though the Press may not receive it, A few old ladies will believe it.
For instance, I of proof could bring Sufficient to convince the layman That I had written ev'rything Attributed to Stanley Weyman. In common justice I should pocket The royalties of S. R. Crockett.
And anyone can plainly see, Without the wit of Machiavelli, That "Hall Caines look alike to me," Since I am Ouida and Corelli. Yes, I am Rudyard Kipling, truly, And the immortal Mr. Dooley.
In History he holds a place Unique, unparalleled, sublime; "The First of all the Human Race!" Yes, that was Adam, all the time. It didn't matter if he burst, He simply _had_ to get there first.
A simple Child of Nature he, Whose life was primitive and rude; His wants were few, his manners free, All kinds of clothing he eschewed,-- He might be seen in any weather, In what is called "the Altogether!"
The luxuries that we enjoy He never had, so never missed; Appliances that we employ For saving work did not exist; He would have found them useless too, Not having any work to do.
He never wrote a business note; He had no creditors to pay; He was not pestered for his vote, Not having one to give away; And, living utterly alone, He did not need a telephone.
The joys of indolence he knew, In his remote and peaceful clime, He did just what he wanted to, Nor ever said he "hadn't time!" (And this was natural becos He had whatever time there was.)
His pulse was strong, his health was good, He had no fads of meat or drink, Of tonic waters, Breakfast Food, Or Pills for Persons who are Pink; No cloud of indigestion lay Across the sunshine of his day.
And, when he went to bed each night, He made his couch upon the soil; The glow-worms gave him all his light, (He hadn't heard of Standard Oil);-- At dawn he woke,--then slept again, _He_ never had to catch a train!
[Illustration: "_When Eve appeared upon the scene._"]
A happy, solitary life! But soon he found it dull, I ween, So thought that he would like a wife,-- When Eve appeared upon the scene. * * * And we will draw a kindly veil Over the sequel to this tale.
Ye Bachelors, contented be With what the future holds for you; Pity the married man, for he Has _nothing_ to look forward to,-- To hunger for with bated breath!-- * * * (Nothing, that is to say, but Death!)
_Joan of Arc_
From Pimlico to Central Park, From Timbuctoo to Rotten Row, Who has not heard of Joan of Arc, His tragic tale who does not know? And how he put his life to stake, For Principle and Country's sake?
This simple person of Lorraine Had thoughts for nothing but Romance, And longed to see a king again Upon the battered throne of France; (With Charles the Seventh crowned at Rheims, He realized his fondest dreams.)
Then came the fight at Compiègne, Where he was captured by the foe, And lots of vulgar foreign men Caught hold and wouldn't let him go. "Please don't!" he begged them, in despair, "You're disarranging all my hair."
Unmoved by grace of form or face, These brutes, whose hearts were quite opaque, At Rouen, in the market-place, Secured him tightly to a stake; (Behaviour which cannot be viewed As other than extremely rude.)
Poor Joan of Arc, of course, was bound To be the centre of the show, When, having piled the faggots round, They lit him up and let him go. (Which surely strikes the modern mind As thoughtless, not to say unkind.)
But tho' he died, his deathless name In Hist'ry holds a noble place, And brings the blush of conscious shame To any Anglo-Saxon face. Perfidious truly was the nation Which caused his premature cremation!
* * *
I showed these verses to a friend, Inviting him to criticise; He read them slowly to the end, Then asked me, with a mild surprise, "What was your object," he began, "In making Joan of Arc a man?"
I hastened to the library Which kind Carnegie gave the town, Searched Section B. (Biography.) And took six bulky volumes down; Then studied all one livelong night, And found (alas!) my friend was right.
I'm sorry; for it gives me pain To think of such a waste of rhyme. I'd write the poem all again, Only I can't afford the time; It's rather late to change it now,-- I can't be bothered anyhow.
While other men of "note" have had A certain local reputation, They never could compare with Pad,-- (Forgive this terse abbreviation),-- Loot: Orpheus may have been All Right; Cap: Paderewski's Out of Sight!
No lunatic, competing in The game of Arctic exploration, Can ever really hope to win More pleasures of anticipation Than he who fixes as his goal So satisfactory a Pole.
The grand piano is his forte, And when he treads upon its pedals, Weak women weep, and strong men snort, While Cuban veterans (with medals) Grow kind of bleary-eyed and soppy; And journalists forget their "copy."
And as he makes the key-board smart, Or softly on its surface lingers, He plays upon the public's heart, And holds it there beneath his fingers; Caresses, teases, pokes or squeezes,-- Does just exactly as he pleases.
And oh! the hair upon his head! Hay-coloured, with a touch of Titian! He's under contract, so 'tis said, To keep it in this wild condition; All those who wish for thatch like Pad's Should buy-- (This space To Let for Ads.)
On concert platforms he performs, Where ladies, (matrons, maids or misses), Surround his feet in perfect swarms, And try to waft him fat damp kisses; Till he takes refuge in his hair, And sits serenely smiling there.
He draws the tear-drop to the eye Of dullest dude or quaintest Quaker; The instrument he plays is by The very best piano-maker, Whose name, I hope you won't forget, Is-- (Once again, this space To Let.)
[Illustration: "_On concert platforms he performs._"]
Before the style of his technique, The science of his execution, The blackest criminal grows weak And makes a moral resolution; Requiring all his strength of will Before he even robs a till.
Rough soldiers, from the seat of war,-- (I never understood what "seat" meant)-- Have ceased to swear or hit the jar After a course of Rooski's treatment. 'Tis more persuasive and as sure As (shall we say?) the Water-cure!
Thus on triumphantly he goes,-- A long succession of successes,-- And nobody exactly knows Just how much income he possesses; He makes sufficient (if not more) To keep the wolf from the stage-door.
And when he plays a "Polonaise," (His own unrivalled composition), The entertainment well repays The prices charged one for admission; But still, as ladies all declare, His crowning glory is his hair!
All persons who, by way of joke, Point loaded guns at one another, (A state of things which ends in smoke, And murder of an aunt or brother,) Will find that it repays them well To note the tale of William Tell.
He was a patriotic Swiss, Whose skill was such with bow and arrow, He never had been known to miss A target, howsoever narrow; His archery could well defy The needle or the camel's eye.
And when the hated Austrian Invaded his belovéd country, This simple man at once began To treat the foe with calm effront'ry, And gave a sporting exhibition, To which he charged ten cents admission.
He set his son against a tree, Upon his head an apple placing, Next measured paces thirty-three, And turned about, his offspring facing, Then chose an arrow, drew his bow,-- (And all the people murmured "Oh!")
No sound disturbed the morning air, (You could have heard a tea-tray falling,) Save in the virgin forest, where A chipmunk to his mate was calling, Where sang the giddy martingale, Or snaffle woo'd the genial quail.
But, drowning cry of beast or bird, There rose the hush of expectation; No whispered converse, not a word From the surrounding population; A tactful silence, as of death, While people held each other's breath.
The bow rang out, the arrow sped! Before a man could turn completely, All scatheless shone the offspring's head, The apple lay divided neatly! The ten-cent public gave a roar, And appleplectic shrieked "En-_core_."
They kissed the hero, clasped his hand, In search of autographs pursued him, Escorted with the local band, Cheered, banqueted and interviewed him, Demanding how he shot so well; But simple William would not Tell.
The Austrians, without a word, Retired at once across the border, And thence on William they conferred Two medals and a foreign order, (And tactfully addressed the bill "Hereditary Arch-Duke Will.")
And, in the piping times of peace, Such luxury his life was wrapt in, He got the chief-ship of police, (And made his son a Precinct Captain), Wore celluloid white cuffs and collars, And absolutely rolled in dollars.
Still, to the end, whenever Will With fiscal problems had to grapple, He called to mind his offspring's skill At balancing the homely apple, And made him use his level head At balancing accounts instead.
He stopped inside a tub, from choice, But otherwise was well-conducted, Altho' he raised a rasping voice To persons who his view obstructed, And threw a boot at anyone Who robbed him of his patch of sun.
And thus he lived, without expense, Arrayed in somewhat scant apparel, His customary residence The limits of an empty barrel; (His spirits would perforce be good, Maturing slowly "in the wood.")
With lamp alight he sought at night For honest men, his ruling passion; But either he was short of sight, Or honest men were out of fashion; He never found one, so he said;-- They probably were all in bed.
[Illustration: "_Altho' he raised a rasping voice to persons who his view obstructed._"]
At last, when he was very old, He got abducted by a pirate, And to a man of Corinth sold, At an exorbitantly high rate; His owner called him "Sunny Jim," And made an indoor pet of him.
And soon, as one may well suppose, He learnt the very choicest manners, Could balance sugar on his nose, Or sit right up and smoke Havanas, Or swim into the pond for sticks,-- There was no limit to his tricks.
He never tasted wine nor meat, But ate, in full and plenteous measure, Grape-Nuts and Force and Shredded Wheat, Pretending that they gave him pleasure. At length, at eighty-nine, he died, Of a too strenuous inside.
Had but this worthy cynic been A member of _our_ favoured nation, Niagara he might have seen, And realised a new sensation, If he had set himself the task To brave the Rapids in his cask.
Or if his ghost once more began, With lighted lamp, his ancient mission, And searched the city for a man Whose honesty outsoared suspicion, We could provide him, in New York, A nice (if somewhat lengthy) walk.
Tho' thumping tubs is easy work, With which no critic cares to quarrel, There may be charms about a Turk, Policemen even may be moral; And, tho' they never get found out, There are _some_ honest men about.
_Sir Thomas Lipton_
Of all the sportsmen now afloat Upon the waters of this planet, No better ever manned a boat, (Or paid another man to man it,) And won a kindly public's heart Like dear Sir Thomas Lipton, Bart.
Behind a counter, as a child, He woo'd Dame Fortune, fair but fickle, Until at last one day she smiled Upon his spices and his pickle; And all the world rejoiced to see Plain Thomas Lipton made "Sir Tea."
He won the trade, his name was made; In country-house or London gutter, All classes found his marmalade A perfect "substitute for butter." His jam in loudest praise was sung, His sauces were on ev'ry tongue.
He built a yacht; that is to say, He paid another man to build it; With all the patents of the day, Regardless of the cost, he filled it; And hired, which was expensive too, At least three Captains and a crew.
And, being properly brought up, A member of that sober nation, Which ever loves to raise the cup That cheers without inebriation, He saw an op'ning if he took His lifting pow'rs to Sandy Hook.
And there his hospitality Was always welcome to the masses; As on the good ship "Erin" he Provided luncheons for all classes; Where poets, publicans and peers, Retained his spoons as souvenirs.
But tho' each boat of his that sailed Was like the last one, only better, To lift the cup she always failed,-- Because the Yankees wouldn't let her. (A state of things which was not quite, What Englishmen would term, polite!)
His efforts were alas! in vain, He couldn't beat the pot defender, Again he tried, and yet again,-- He might as well have sailed a tender! At last he cried "I give it up! America can keep her cup!"
"For She, and she alone, has got The proper breed of modern Yachtsmen! If only _I_ had hired a lot Of Swedes, Norwegians and Scotsmen, I might have met, with calm defiance, The crew on which _She_ placed Reliance.
"But, as the matter stands, instead Of knowing what a well-fought fight is, I'm fêted, dined and banqueted, Until I get appendicitis! And probably shall end my life By marrying a Yankee wife!
"I felt it when the line was crost, I hold it true, whate'er befall, 'Tis better to have luffed and lost, Than never to have luffed at all! My shareholders must be content With such a good advertisement."
It is impossible to do Three diff'rent kinds of things at once; A fact that must be patent to The brain-pan of the dullest dunce; Yet Marat somehow never knew it, And died in an attempt to do it.
A Revolutionist was he; The People's Friend,--they called him so,-- And many such there used to be In France, a hundred years ago. (For further notice see Carlyle,-- If you can grapple with his style.)
His manners were so debonnair, He took a hip-bath ev'ry day; Would sit and write his letters there, In quite an unselfconscious way; And, if you wished to interview him, His housekeeper would take you to him.
[Illustration: "_But Charlotte Corday came along, Intent to right her country's wrong._"]
But Charlotte Corday came along, A Norman noble's nobler daughter, Intent to Right her Country's Wrong, And put an end to ceaseless slaughter; In Marat she descried a victim,-- So bought a knife and promptly pricked him!
Poor Marat, who (as was his wont) Was planning further Revolutions, The while he washed, exclaimed, "Oh, don't! "You're interrupting my ablutions! "I can't escape; it isn't fair! "A sponge is all I have to wear!"
But Charlotte firmly answered "Bosh!" (How could she so forget good breeding?) "While you sit there and calmly wash, The noblest hearts in France are bleeding!" Then jabbed him in those vital places Where ordinary men wear braces!
So perished Marat. In his way To prove a lesson, apt and scathing, From which young people of to-day May learn the dangers of mixed bathing, And shun the thankless operation Of sponging on a rich relation.
Ye democrats, who plan and plot Schemes to decapitate your betters, Remember that a bath is not The proper place for writing letters; Nor one which Providence intends For interviews with lady-friends.
When Golf was in its childhood still, And not the sport that now it is; When no-one knew of Bunker Hill, Or spoke of Boston tee-parties; One man there was who played the game, And Ananias was his name.
But little else of him we know, Save that his grasp of facts was slack, And yet, as circumstances show, He was a golfomaniac, And thus biographers relate The story of his tragic fate:--
He occupied his final scene, (In golfing parlance so 'tis said), In "practising upon the _green_," And, after a "bad lie," "lay dead;" Then came Sapphira,--she, poor soul, After a worse "lie," "halved the hole."
The portrait that I seek to paint Is of no ordinary hero, No customary plaster saint,-- For nothing of the sort was Nero. (He was an Emperor, but then He had his faults like other men.)
And first, (a foolish thing to do), He turned his hand to matricide, And straight his agéd mother slew, The poor old lady promptly died! ('Tis surely wrong to kill one's mother, Since one can hardly get another.)
He was a hearty feeder too, And onto his digestion thrust All kinds of fatty foods, and grew Robust--with accent on the _Bust_. ("Sweets are"--I quote from memory-- "The Uses of Obesity!")
He married twice; two ladies fair Agreed in turn to be his wife, To board his slender barque and share His fate upon the stream of Life. (Forgive me if I mention this As being true Canoebial bliss!)
His talent on the violin He was for ever proud of showing; The tone that he produced was thin, Nor could one loudly praise his "bowing;" But persons whom he played before Were almost sure to ask for more.
For he decreed that any who Did not encore him or applaud, Should be beheaded, cut in two, Hanged, flayed alive, and sent abroad. (So it was natural that they Who "came to cough remained to pray.")
He felt no sympathy for those Who had not lots to drink and eat, Who wore unfashionable clothes, And strove to make the two ends meet; (They drew no tears, "the short and sim- Ple flannels of the Poor," from him.)
To Christians he was far from kind, They met with his disapprobation; The choicest tortures he designed For folks of their denomination. (And all Historians insist That he was no philanthropist.)
To lamp-posts he would oft attach A Jew, immersed in paraffine, Apply a patent safety match, And smile as he surveyed the scene. ('Twas possible in Rome at night To read a book by Israelight.)
And when occurred the famous fire, Of which some say he was the starter, He roused the Corporation's ire By playing Braga's "Serenata"; ('Tis said that, when he changed to Handel, The "play was hardly worth the scandal."[A])
He crowned his long career at last By one supreme and final action, Which, after such a lurid past, Gave universal satisfaction; And not one poor relation cried When he committed suicide.
The feast is ended! (As we've seen.) 'Tis time the vacant board to quit. By "vacant bored" I do not mean My host of readers, not a bit! For they, the mentally élite, Are stimulated and replete.
The fare that I provide is light, But don't, I pray, look down upon it! Such verse is just as hard to write As any sentimental sonnet. It looks a simple task, maybe,-- Well--try your hand at it, and see!
Don't fancy too that I dispense With study, or eschew research; Sufficient books of reference I have, to fill the highest church. I've no dislike of work, I swear,-- It's _doing it_ that I can't bear!
Abuse or praise me, as you choose, There is no limit to my patience; My verse the _London Daily News_ Once styled "Mephitic exhalations"! I lived that down,--(don't ask me how,)-- And nothing really hurts me now.
For while my stricken soul survived, With wounded pride and dulled ambition, My humble book of verses thrived And quite outgrew the old edition! So now I have exhaled some more,-- Mephitically, as before!
The book is finished! With a sigh, My pen upon the desk I lay; The weary task is o'er, and I Am off upon a holiday, To Paris, lovely Paris, where I have a little _ventr'-à-terre_.[B]
And tho' my verses may be weak, And call for your severest strictures, The illustrations are unique,-- I really never saw such pictures! (At times, in my unthinking way, I almost hope I never may.)
[A] NOTE.--"_Lors, dit-on, quand il jouait Handel Le jeu ne valait pas la chandelle._"
[B] PUBLISHER'S READER--"_Pied-a-terre_"? AUTHOR--Shut up!
Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.