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Robert Bridges (1844-1930)

To Catullus


              1Would that you were alive today, Catullus!
              2Truth 'tis, there is a filthy skunk amongst us,
              3A rank musk-idiot, the filthiest skunk,
              4Of no least sorry use on earth, but only
              5Fit in fancy to justify the outlay
              6Of your most horrible vocabulary.

              7My Muse, all innocent as Eve in Eden,
              8Would yet wear any skins of old pollution
              9Rather than celebrate the name detested.
            10Ev'n now might he rejoice at our attention,
            11Guess'd he this little ode were aiming at him.

            12O! were you but alive again, Catullus!

            13For see, not one among the bards of our time
            14With their flimsy tackle was out to strike him;
            15Not those two pretty Laureates of England,
            16Not Alfred Tennyson nor Alfred Austin.

Notes

1] Catullus: Gaius Valerius Catullus (ca. 84-ca. 54 B.C.), Roman poet.

16] Alfred Tennyson: English poet laureate, 1850-92. Alfred Austin: poet laureate, 1896-1913.


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: Poetical Works of Robert Bridges with The Testament of Beauty but excluding the eight drama, 2nd edn. (London: Geoffrey Cumberlege, Oxford University Press, 1953): 550.
First publication date: 1926
Publication date note: New Verse
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2003
Recent editing: 1:2003/8/11

Composition date: 1921
Rhyme: irregular


Other poems by Robert Bridges