Once I aspired to control my reputation and the image I projected. Once I was young and I’d have joined this intrepid team of learners by putting forth the elegance of Shelley in “Ozymandias.” But now I seek refuge in low forms of verbal art and leave those I meet (for I cannot tweet) to wonder whether I’m a fool, foolish, or flawed by the poverty of my public education. This altitude (with a wave to Mrs Malaprop) is metaphorically connected to our readings and discussions. But as Alice finds through the looking glass, the characters she meets provide the answers and she must guess the riddles. So, no Shelley bring I to this round of wit, but recitation from a Gentleman’s Magazine, first making the rounds of the United States in the period of World War I, an event that destroyed the very concept of the gentleman.
Sometimes old pal in the morning, when the dawn is cold and grey,
I lie on the perfumed feathers, thinking thoughts I dare not say.
Then I think of the stunts of the night before and I smiles a feeble smile,
And I says to myself, “old-timer, was it really worth the while.”
But then I pick up the morning paper and read where some saintly man,
Who’s never been soused in his whole life or thrown in a smelly can.
Who’s never stayed out till the break of day, or jollied a gay sobriquet,
But he’s preached against the evils of drinking, cards, and the vile cigarette.
Lost in the midst of a useful life, the headlines glibly say,
He’s been snatched by the grim grey reaper, he has crossed the broad highway.
They buried him deep while a few friends weep, and the world goes on with a sigh,
That saintly man is forgotten soon, even as you and I.
Then I rise and attach an ice-ban to the brow of my battered hat,
And I saunters forth for a cold gin fizz, it’s a good old world at that.
Then I go on my way rejoicing, what’s the use to complain and sigh,
Go the route, old scout and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.