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A Drop of Pantomime Water

The Graphic, II, 25th December 1870



    While "total abstainers,"
      By spirit forswearing,
    Believe themselves gainers
      In dignified bearing,
    In health and in morals,
In freedom from quarrels,
In conjugal duty,
In personal beauty,
In money to go on,
Clean linen, and so on —
The slaves of the "rosey"
(All pimply and nosey
From claret and burrage)
Are fain to encourage
That mystic high-stepper,
PROFESSOR VON PEPPER,
To show (by the proxy
Of hydrogen-oxy)
The horrible features
Of all the dread creatures
That foes to wine bottles
Would pour down our throttles.
Such consequence blesses
His list of successes,
That total abstainers
Become his retainers,
And often in terror,
Aghast at their error,
In spirit forswearing,
Have gone forth, declaring
They'd always drink sherry — or beer, which is humbler;
    For they sensibly say,
As they hurry away,
"If you find such a crop
Of vile things in a drop,
Only think what you drink when you empty a tumbler!
  As total abstainers exclaim at a skinful,
    So I (being ordered,
And guarded, and wardered,
Advised and inducted,
And warned and instructed,
That people of quality
Shudder at jollity,
Fun, and frivolity,
Jocular polity),
  Always considered a pantomime sinful;
    So having been sent
With a microscope lent
By PEPPER, Professor and Monarch of Phantom — I'm
    Glad to display
In a fearful array
Little matters that may
Be detected, they say,
In a drop of real water employed in a Pantomime:
    Red demons and dragons,
And barons with flagons,
And nobles and ladies,
Sultanas and cadis,
And big-headed squires,
And giants on wires,
And haughty magicians
In mystic positions,
And serpents and monkeys
And sailors and flunkeys,
And guards in a row,
With expressions that show
They're expecting a blow;
    Whose faces
Bear traces
  Of penal disgraces,
    That when
To these men,
  Our attention's directed,
By blows unexpected,
Sufficiently hard to produce an abrasion,
Their features may suit the unpleasant occasion.

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