Lapsus Calami (Apr 1891)/Midsummer

This Robert Browning parody was first published in the Eton Rambler, June 1880, and later included in the "Sincere Flattery" section of Lapsus Calami. Two other parodies of Browning preceded it: "To A. S." and "The Last Ride Together."

3. Midsummer.

Persons at various times have said
That the hot dank steam of a sun-scorched day
Is a thing to thank God for: strike me dead
If I let such a falsehood lack its nay.

When Philip of Spain or our own red Mary
Desired to be rid of an impious man,
Did they freeze him to death? they were not so chary
Of man's worst weapon, the frying pan.

The fire, or the frying pan—well, the adage
Tells us the difference is but small,
And the fact remains that in that last bad age
When man had all torture-tricks at call,

They knew what was best and did it duly,
And broiled those most whom they loved the least.
Man, is it thou that hast proved unruly?
They are broiling thee, thou sinful beast.

Languid and frenzied, most despairing
When least's to despair at, such we grow,
When the sun's rays down on our heads, naught sparing,
Burn and blister. I'd have you know

I have strung together these sad reflections
To prove to my tutor, a stern stark man,
That my chance of a decent place in collections
Drooped and died when the heat began.

Eton Rambler, June 4th, 1880.