Pagett, M.P – Rudyard Kipling
Got this on the Minstrels list today. Rather funny.
The toad beneath the harrow knows
Exactly where each tooth-point goes.
The butterfly upon the road
Preaches contentment to that toad.
Pagett, M.P., was a liar, and a fluent liar therewith —
He spoke of the heat of India as the “Asian Solar Myth”;
Came on a four months’ visit, to “study the East,” in November,
And I got him to sign an agreement vowing to stay till September.
March came in with the koil. Pagett was cool and gay,
Called me a “bloated Brahmin,” talked of my “princely pay.”
March went out with the roses. “Where is your heat?” said he.
“Coming,” said I to Pagett, “Skittles!” said Pagett, M.P.
April began with the punkah, coolies, and prickly-heat, —
Pagett was dear to mosquitoes, sandflies found him a treat.
He grew speckled and mumpy — hammered, I grieve to say,
Aryan brothers who fanned him, in an illiberal way.
May set in with a dust-storm, — Pagett went down with the sun.
All the delights of the season tickled him one by one.
Imprimis — ten day’s “liver” — due to his drinking beer;
Later, a dose of fever — slight, but he called it severe.
Dysent’ry touched him in June, after the Chota Bursat —
Lowered his portly person — made him yearn to depart.
He didn’t call me a “Brahmin,” or “bloated,” or “overpaid,”
But seemed to think it a wonder that any one stayed.
July was a trifle unhealthy, — Pagett was ill with fear.
‘Called it the “Cholera Morbus,” hinted that life was dear.
He babbled of “Eastern Exile,” and mentioned his home with tears;
But I haven’t seen my children for close upon seven years.
We reached a hundred and twenty once in the Court at noon,
(I’ve mentioned Pagett was portly) Pagett, went off in a swoon.
That was an end to the business; Pagett, the perjured, fled
With a practical, working knowledge of “Solar Myths” in his head.
And I laughed as I drove from the station, but the mirth died out on my lips
As I thought of the fools like Pagett who write of their “Eastern trips,”
And the sneers of the traveled idiots who duly misgovern the land,
And I prayed to the Lord to deliver another one into my hand.
— Rudyard Kipling