A little Ape with huge She-Bear

Some more Coleridge juvenalia – this one written in 1792 (age 20) on a break from Cambridge.  It’s addressed to his brother George and concerns the vicar who succeeded their father – the Dickensian-named Fulwood Smerdon.

Written After a Walk Before Supper

Tho’ much averse, dear Jack, to flicker,
To find a likeness for friend V—ker,
I’ve made thro’ Earth, and Air, and Sea,
A Voyage of Discovery!
And let me add (to ward off strife)
For V—ker and for V—ker’s Wife —
She large and round beyond belief,
A superfluity of beef!
Her mind and body of a piece,
And both composed of kitchen-grease.
In short, Dame Truth might safely dub her
Vulgarity enshrin’d in blubber!
He, meagre bit of littleness,
All snuff, and musk, and politesse;
So thin, that strip him of his clothing,
He’d totter on the edge of Nothing!
In case of foe, he well might hide
Snug in the collops of her side.
Ah then, what simile will suit?
Spindle-leg in great jack-boot?
Pismire crawling in a rut?
Or a spigot in a butt?
Thus I humm’d and ha’d awhile,
When Madam Memory with a smile
Thus twitch’d my ear — ‘‘Why sure, I ween,
In London streets thou oft hast seen
The very image of this pair:
A little Ape with huge She-Bear
Link’d by hapless chain together:
An unlick’d mass the one — the other
An antic small with nimble crupper — ‘‘
But stop, my Muse! for here comes supper.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s