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Short poem

Walter Alexander Raleigh (1861-1922)

Sestina Otiosa

              1Our great work, the Otia Merseiana,
              2Edited by learned Mister Sampson,
              3And supported by Professor Woodward,
              4Is financed by numerous Bogus Meetings
              5Hastily convened by Kuno Meyer
              6To impose upon the Man of Business.

              7All in vain! The accomplished Man of Business
              8Disapproves of Otia Merseiana,
              9Turns his back on Doctor Kuno Meyer;
            10Cannot be enticed by Mister Sampson,
            11To be present at the Bogus Meetings,
            12Though attended by Professor Woodward.

            13Little cares the staid Professor Woodward:
            14He, being something of a man of business,
            15Knows that not a hundred Bogus Meetings
            16To discuss the Otia Merseiana
            17Can involve himself and Mister Sampson
            18In the debts of Doctor Kuno Meyer.

            19So the poor deluded Kuno Meyer,
            20Unenlightened by Professor Woodward --
            21Whom, upon the word of Mister Sampson,
            22He believes to be a man of business
            23Fit to run the Otia Merseiana --
            24Keeps on calling endless Bogus Meetings.

            25Every week has now its Bogus Meetings,
            26Punctually convened by Kuno Meyer
            27In the name of Otia Merseiana:
            28Every other week Professor Woodward
            29Takes his place, and, as a man of business,
            30Audits the accounts with Mister Sampson.

            31He and impecunious Mister Sampson
            32Are the mainstay of the Bogus Meetings;
            33But the alienated Man of Business
            34Cannot be allured by Kuno Meyer
            35To attend and meet Professor Woodward,
            36Glory of the Otia Merseiana.

            37Kuno Meyer! Great Professor Woodward!
            38Bogus Meetings damn, for men of business,
            39Mister Sampson's Otia Merseiana.


See Man of Business.

See Mister and Professor.

Man of Business's, on whom turned, l. 9.

Called to finance the Otia, l. 4, and to secure the support of the Man of Business, l. 6; attended chiefly by Prof. Woodward and Mr. Sampson, ll. 12, 31-32; not attended by the Man of Business, ll. 11, 34-35; their convener Dr. Meyer, ll. 5, 24-26; short notice at which they are called, l. 5; punctuality observed in calling them, l. 26; called every week, l. 25; their number, l. 4; their eternal recurrence, l. 24; their failure to alter the incidence of existing liabilities, ll. 15-18; this failure foreseen by Prof. Woodward, ibid.; their ultimate disastrous effect, ll. 38-39.

See Man.

See Kuno Meyer.

See Bogus Meetings.

See Greatness.

See Professor Woodward.

His business impetuosity, l. 5; convenor of Bogus Meetings, ll. 5, 26; how treated by the man of Business, l. 9; his belief that the Bogus Meetings might bring about a redistribution of financial liability, ll. 15-18; this belief not shared by Prof. Woodward, ibid.; his academic degree, l. 9; his pitiable character, l. 19; his unhappy delusions, ibid.; his unenlightenment, l. 20; his misplaced punctuality, l. 26; the futility of his attempts upon the Man of Business, ll. 34-35; apostrophized, l. 37.

See Kuno Meyer.

Attempted imposition upon, l. 6; his accomplishments, l. 7; his disapprobation of the Otia, l. 8; his back, on whom turned, l. 9; his estranged attitude, l. 33; his superiority to Meyer's enticements, l. 34; his refusal to attend Bogus Meetings, l. 35; his indifference to meeting Prof. Woodward, ibid.

See Bogus.

See Otia.

See Kuno.

Great work edited by, ll. 1-2; his alleged erudition, l. 2; failure of his attempts to induce the Man of Business to attend Bogus Meetings, l. 10; uninvolved in Kuno Meyer's liabilities, ll. 17-18; heartless deception of Kuno Meyer by, ll. 21-22; co-auditor of accounts with Prof. Woodward, l. 30; his indigent circumstances, l. 31; a mainstay of Bogus Meetings, l. 32; ruin of his great work attributable to excessive Bogus Meetings, l. 39.

Referred to as an important publication, l. 1; its editor, l. 2; its chief supporter, l. 3; financed by Bogus Meetings, l. 4; disapproved of by the Man of Business, l. 8; discussed at Bogus Meetings, l. 16; executive ability of Prof. Woodward with regard to, l. 23; invoked by Kuno Meyer, l. 27; its glory, l. 36; Bogus Meetings prejudicial to interests of, l. 39.

See Mister Sampson.

His support given to the Otia, l. 3; his attendance at Bogus Meetings, ll. 12, 28, 31, 32, 35; his indifference to abstentions from Bogus Meetings, l. 13; his character defined, l. 13; his attitude in regard to financial difficulties, ll. 14-18; his greatness, l. 37; his business talent, ll. 14, 29; testified to by Mr. Sampson, l. 21; believed in by Kuno Meyer, ll. 22, 23; his solicitude for Mr. Sampson, l. 17; his labours as auditor, l. 30; distinction conferred by him on the Otia, l. 36; his reticience towards Kuno Meyer, l. 20; apostrophized, l. 37.

See Mister.

WEEK, every.
See Bogus Meetings.

WEEK, every other.
See Bogus Meetings.

See Professor.


1] Otia Mersiana: a series of academic books written by the Faculty of Arts, University College Liverpool (Liverpool, 1899-1903). See P Univ L Robarts Library for the first three volumes. A loose translation might be "Merseyside free time [activities]." Typical is Victor Henry Friedel's book, Etudes Compostellanes: l'epoque et le milieu ou fut ecrit le Codex Calixtinus; les origines d'un culte; la carriere d'un archeveque (Paris: C. Klincksieck, 1899).
Kuno Meyer (1858-1910), a prolific Celtic philologist who was finally appointed to a chair at the University of Berlin just before the War.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Laughter from a Cloud, foreword by Hilary Raleigh (London: Constable, 1923): 222-23. British Library 012273.bbb.7
First publication date: 1923
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2001
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/13

Form: sestina

Other poems by Walter Alexander Raleigh