To the address of W.W.H.





"Oh, Hunter, and Oh blower of the horn,
Harper ... and thou hast been a rover too."
Out of Sir Tristram of old days is born
Sir Bors in big burgeois; but we, we knew
You in the past and, therefore, laughter–torn,
Admire the patent stereoscopic view
Of Krishna tootling dirges; but, you bet,
We catch the wink above the flageolet.

Our 'pard–like spirit', beautifully bland—
Proteus most passionate of Peterhoff'—
Our dear delightful humbug—so you stand,
Kutcha Cassandra–wise five oceans off,
And preach your latest gospel to the land!
Are you in earnest? Pardon if we scoff.
We took your measure by the foot–rule grim!—
"Who hath no faith, men have no faith in him."

We know that—bless you—but they do not know
Who take you for a sort of Simla Sphinx
Across the water. Shall we tell them so?
That would be cruel. Gracious! When one thinks
Of all the somersaults you used to throw
To set the land agiggling, printers' inks
Pale on the roller.—"Viceroy's sympathy"
"More English than the English." Doctor, fie!

How dare you bluff the British public thus?
You know as well as we the inner meaning
Of all this demos—demonstration stuff—
The Oriental's sudden liberal leaning
To ballot–blatherumskite picked up from us—
You know exactly what the veils are screening.
You know which side your roti–oti's buttered—
Let's seek the reason of the words you've uttered.

You saw that London town was very large—
That men might splash therein and make no sound,
That lighted matches on the Thames's marge
Were by the sullen tide untimely drowned,
And all the splendours of your star–bossed targe
Drew small attention from the folks around.
Through Fleet–Street fog, methinks, your sun loomed pale—
What price the crooning pines of Ann–nd–le?'

You mused upon the radiant Kulu snows
That rim with cream the Heaven's turquoise bowl,
You mused upon the window–tapping rose,
Fresh born that morning for your button–hole,
And the long downward sweep all Simla knows,
Where the red Arab tittupped to his goal,
And you, delighting twenty willing ears,
Did stately prance to Council with your peers.

Fresh fame you sought. But of all roads to Fame
Why choose the worst—the Press? You knew the trade
Too well, too well, when in old days you came
To wield a lambent and most courteous blade.
(It smashed my cutlass once). And did the game
Repay the lamp–oil? Answer, now 'tis played—
Hunter, by shouk and kam, by cult and ism,
I charge thee, flee the Sink of Journalism!

Observe! One rabid dog—one King with cancer—
Three islands hoisted Heavenward in red flame—
Two blown–on frauds—one burnt–up ballet–dancer
(With illustrations) Mrs Some One's shame—
Ten only roads to peace-—the last Bonanza—
Gladstone and Naldire's tablets—all the same:
Pepsine from porkers—Nervine brewed by Bunter;
And there's your daily Rag Now why add Hunter?

You're far too good! Ask L—ng, ask Arn—ld, ask
The S—e and the S—ge where men call
Who nightly gibber 'neath the penny mask,
And scribble crudities on Time's blank wall,
How golden is the guerdon of their task.
Hark! From the weltering Strand the news–boys bawl:—
'Murder in Paddin'ton! Revoltin' Story!!
'Untin' in Injia!' Hunter is this glory?

You wrote as Statesman? There are scores of fools
To pole the yawing buggalow of State
And, summing up the average of their rules,
They don't do too much harm, for God is great;
And, somehow something always skids and cools
A crazy ticca. Let the Empire wait,
'T will never take you au grand serieux. Think!
Your record? Insincerity and ink.

You skirmished on the outskirts of the show—
You beat the big side–drum (it was your own)
For twenty years. Aha! you know we know.
Climb down before that gorgeous gaff is blown.
But to no meaner level—ten times no!
You have the Talents in the napkin stown—
Thc Three Great Gifts, beyond all gifts of earth,
To move men's hearts to sorrow or to mirth.

The Eye that sees, the Golden Pen, the Touch
Keen as the whip–thong on a leader's ear,
Light as a woman's granted kiss—so much
And twice so much is yours. But, Doctor dear,
There's not a single Stunt twixt Prome and Cutch
Would take your word for aught save Gazetteer;
And that not wholly. Yet you have the power
To make us all your bond–slaves in an hour.

Shifty and sunshine–loving child of Ayr—
Iavata, you have japed your little jest.
Hands that could paint us Sinai's trumpet-blare,
Lips that would sneer at Sinai's quivering crest,
Come out o' that! Your work lies other where,
And leads to Power the brightest and the best.
Rule—what is Rule? Let statesmen pose and grovel,
Doctor doctissimus bring out your novel!