Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads/The Man Who Could Write
THE MAN WHO COULD WRITE
Shun—shun the Bowl! That fatal, facile drink
Has ruined many geese who dipped their quills in't.
Bribe, murder, marry, but steer clear of Ink
Save when you write receipts for paid-up bills in't.
There may be silver in the "blue-black"—all
I know of is the iron and the gall.
Boanerges Blitzen, servant of the Queen,
Is a dismal failure—is a Might-have-been.
In a luckless moment he discovered men
Rise to high position through a ready pen.
Boanerges Blitzen argued therefore—"I,
With the selfsame weapon, can attain as high."
Only he did not possess when he made the trial,
Wicked wit of C-lv-n, irony of L—l.
[Men who spar with Government need, to back their blows,
Something more than ordinary journalistic prose.]
Never young Civilian's prospects were so bright,
Till an Indian paper found that he could write:
Never young Civilian's prospects were so dark,
When the wretched Blitzen wrote to make his mark.
Certainly he scored it, bold, and black, and firm—
In that Indian paper made his seniors squirm—
Quoted office scandals, wrote the tactless truth—
Was there ever known a more misguided youth?
When the Indian paper praised his plucky game,
Boanerges Blitzen felt that this was fame:
When the men he wrote of shook their heads and swore,
Boanerges Blitzen only wrote the more;
Posed as Young Ithuriel, resolute and grim,
Till he found promotion didn't come to him;
Till he found that reprimands weekly were his lot,
And his many Districts curiously hot.
Till he found his furlough strangely hard to win,
Boanerges Blitzen didn't care a pin:
Then it seemed to dawn on him something wasn't right—
Boanerges Blitzen put it down to "spite."
Languished in a District desolate and dry;
Watched the Local Government yearly pass him by;
Wondered where the hitch was; called it most unfair.
That was seven years ago—and he still is there.