The dancing cabman

Alone on the lawn
The cabman dances
In the dew of dawn
he kicks and prances

His bowler is set
on his bullet head
for his boots are wet
and his aunt is dead

There on the lawn
As the light advances,
On the tide of the dawn,
The cabman dances.

Swift and strong
as a garden roller
he dances along
in his little bowler

skimming the lawn
with royal grace
the dew of dawn
on his great red face

To fairy flutes
as the light advances
in square black boots
the cabman dances


J.B.Morton, otherwise known as Beachcomber, was one of the great
masters of the English nonsense tradition. His column contains quite
a bit of verse (see also Alma Brent ) but most of it is clearly spoof or
just high spirits. There seems to be a bit more to this one. It is faintly
reminiscent of Edward Lear, not least in the way it resists dismissal,
its obvious absurdity notwithstanding. Beachcomber cognoscenti
will recognise a possible allusion to the Huntingdonshire cabmen.

Morton obviously had views about nonsense verse. For one thing
he clearly couldn't stand A.A. Milne - as the wonderful parody reveals:

Hush, hush
nobody cares,
Christoper Robin
has
     fallen
             down
                      stairs.

(Is this an early example of Concrete Poetry?)

``Hush, hush\\ whisper who dares\\ Christopher Robin\\ is saying his prayers''

Yuck


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