Lunatic Laureate



George R. Sims.

(Text and images have been taken from The Ballads of Babylon, as published by John P. Fuller in 1880.  The first verse is a scan from The Ballads of Babylon.  The remaining verses have been hand typed.)

    To all of those who think that we here in Britain have awful summers because of global warming, I invite you to read this comic poem, written more than 130 years ago, which shows that Britain has always had dreadful summers.


So, when they saw that I was sad, those aged people went
And brought me out a macintosh, goloshes, and a tent,
And sat them down on stools and things and told me little tales
Of how in August years ago there were no awful gales;
Of how the summer days were warm and folks could play about,
And never dread the hurricane, the storm, and waterspout;
How people romped in new-mown hay and had no end of fun,
And no one’s eyes expressed surprise to see a noonday sun.

And when they saw the wonderment expressed upon my face,
They told me how the country once was quite a lovely place;
Where one could sit upon the grass and gather wholesome fruits,
And walk about the verdant fields in patent leather boots.
How people then who went away a fortnight out of town
Came back with freckles on the nose and faces ruddy brown,
And how the summer sun shone out through all the summer time,
And rain and cold were looked upon as strangers to the clime.

I stood it for a little while, and then I rose and said:
“I wonder if the Devil put this nonsense in your head?
I know I am a lunatic, but, hang it all, I say,
You story-telling aged folks, pack up and go away!
In summer we expect the gale, the tempest and the storm,
And only fools would dare to say it once was fine and warm.
Be off before yon summer cloud that blackens all the skies
In indignation drenches you for telling me such lies!”

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