Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 1/Once a Week


ADSUMUS. With no pregnant words, that tremble
With awful Purpose, take we leave to come:
Yet, when one enters where one’s friends assemble,
’Tis not good manners to be wholly dumb.
So, the bow made, and hands in kindness shaken,
Accept some lightest lines of rhyme, to speak
Our notion of the work we’ve undertaken,
Our new hebdomadal—our Once a Week.


Of two wise men, each with his saw or saying,
Thus sprouts the wisdom those who like may reap:
“This world’s an Eden, let us all go Maying.”
“This world’s a Wilderness, let’s sit and weep.”
Medio tutissimi—extremes are madness—
In Hebrew pages for discretion seek:
“There is a time for mirth, a time for sadness.”
We would “be like the time” in Once a Week.


Yet, watching Time at work on youth and beauty,
We would observe, with infinite respect,
That we incline to take that branch of duty
Which he seems most addicted to neglect;
And while the finest head of hair he’s bleaching,
And stealing roses from the freshest cheek,
We would cheat Time himself by simply preaching
How many pleasant things come Once a Week.


Music, for instance. There’s sweet Clara Horner,
Listening to Mario with her eyes and ears:
Observe her, please, up in the left-hand corner:
Type of the dearest of our English dears.
Our hint may help her to admire or quiz it,
To love Mozart, and laugh at Verdi’s shriek,
And add another pleasure to her visit
(She shouldn’t go much oftener) Once a Week.


Come, Lawyer, why not leave your dusty smother,
Is there not wed to thee s bright-eyed wife?
Take holiday with her, our learned brother,
And lay up health for your autumnal life.
Her form may lose (by gain), the battle pending;
Your learned nose become more like a beak,
Meantime, you’ll find some tale of struggle, ending
In clients, fees, Q. C., in Once a Week.


And you, our Doctor, must be sometimes wishing
For something else beside that yellow coach.
Send physio to the sick, and go a fishing,
And come back chubby, sound as any roach.
Don’t take the “Lancet” with you on the water,
Or ponder how to smash your rival’s clique;
But take your seldom-treated wife and daughter,
And bid them take three rods, and Once a Week.


Young Wife, on yonder shore there blow sea-breezes,
Eager your cheek to kiss, your curls to fan,
Your husband—come, you know whatever pleases
Your charming self delights that handsome man.
And you’ve a child, and mother’s faith undoubting
That he’s perfection and a thing unique,
Still, he’d be all the better for an Outing—
There rolls the wave, and here is Once a Week.


This King was in his counting-house at morning,
Counting, discounting, where stocks fall and rise;
But now, at afternoon, his ledger scorning,
To his own vine and his own fig-tree flies.
Proud Princess Poll brings him the rich Havannah
To soothe his royal soul with pleasant reek.
Pet Princess Meg discrowns him. Princess Anna
Brings him iced drink, and straws, and Once a Week.


We shall have hints for him, at which he’ll grumble,
“What should an author know about such things?”
But reading on, his Majesty, more humble,
May learn—more wise than several other Kings.
When he returns to business and its rudeness,
And in Old Jewry meets a smirking Greek,
He’ll wink, and say (quite proud too of his shrewdness),
“That is the rogue they sketched in Once a Week.”


Nor to the rich alone, or those who’re striving
Upward for riches, is our sermon read;
To other thousands nobly, humbly, hiving
Their little stores for winter it is said.
For easier than they dream is the transition
From the dull parlour, or the garret bleak,
To fields and flowers—a beatific vision
Devoutly to be pray’d for Once a Week.


“The world is too much with us” for resistance
To importunities that never cease:
Yet we may sometimes bid it keep its distance,
And leave us hours for holier thoughts, and peace;
For quiet wanderings where the woodbine flowers,
And for the Altar, with its teachings meek;—
Such is the lesson of this page of ours,
Such are the morals of our Once a Week.

Shirley Brooks.