When September’s Kalends and Ides are over;
The merriest month in stubble and plain,
Fills the pheasants, in ferny cover,
With store of berries and gifts of grain;
And the papers rely on sensation leaders;
And columns are open to “constant readers.”
And wliilome in foreign lands a rover,
The British tourist comes home again.
Come, O tourist, from foreign places,
Oracle now of thy native town,
With friends that wonder at foreign graces,
With speech to a Delphic utterance grown;
Leave to Raffaelle his mild Madonnas
In the ancient halls of the great Colonnas;
For the “Mossoo’s ” words and the strange grimaces
Are answered only by surly frown.
For the trips with the tickets of Cook arc ended,
And all the season of bags and bills,
The Circular Notes that his hand expended,
The hearts that were weary of travelling ills;
And he’s been to Turkey, and swears by Allah;
To Rome, and looks scorn on Caracalla;
And by faithful Murray once more befriended.
He gazes again on English hills.
For he comes by night and he comes by day,
Slower of foot than the City Police;
Speech with the garnish of “s'il vous plait;”
The girl, “ma fille,” and the boy, “mon fils”
He’s walked and chattered round Peter’s dome;
A new Bolanus* in modern Rome;
While — as when classic swells held sway, —
Still does the Capitol echo geese.
But Dover is here and the luggage is right,
And Poseidon's perils are safely o’er;
The train is off in the heart ©f the night,
And shimmer the stars on the sounding shore,
The train is off with a roar and rattle;
But the tourist talks with the lips that prattle —
To the ears that listen and take delight —
The traveller’s tales and the guide-book lore!
* Conf. Hor[ace] Sat[ires] I, 9.
These verses parody, among other things, the meter of Swinburne’s “The Triumph of Time,” which opens,
Before our lives divide for ever,
While time is with us and hands are free,
Time swift to fasten and swift to free,
The footnote to Bolanus, who appears in the fourth stanza, directs us to the ninth satire in the first book of Horace’s Satires, “Ibam forte via sacra,” in which the poet “describes his sufferings from the loquacity of an impertinent fellow” that C. M. Smart’s prose translation renders as follows:
I was accidentally going along the Via Sacra, meditating on some trifle or other, as is my custom, and totally intent upon it. A certain person, known to me by name only, runs up; and, having seized my hand, "How do you do, my dearest fellow?" "Tolerably well," say I, "as times go; and I wish you every thing you can desire." When he still followed me; "Would you any thing?" said I to him. But, "You know me," says he: "I am a man of learning." "Upon that account," says I: "you will have more of my esteem." Wanting sadly to get away from him, sometimes I walked on apace, now and then I stopped, and I whispered something to my boy. When the sweat ran down to the bottom of my ankles. O, said I to myself, Bolanus, how happy were you in a head-piece! Meanwhile he kept prating on any thing that came uppermost, praised the streets, the city; and, when I made him no answer; “You want terribly,” said he, “to get away; I perceived it long ago; but you effect nothing. I shall still stick close to you; I shall follow you hence: Where are you at present bound for?”
John Conington’s translation in verse offers this version:
Long the Sacred Road I strolled one day,
Deep in some bagatelle (you know my way),
When up comes one whose name I scarcely knew--
"The dearest of dear fellows! how d'ye do?"
He grasped my hand--"Well, thanks: the same to you."
Then, as he still kept walking by my side,
To cut things short, "You've no commands?" I cried.
"Nay, you should know me: I'm a man of lore."
"Sir, I'm your humble servant all the more."
All in a fret to make him let me go,
I now walk fast, now loiter and walk slow,
Now whisper to my servant, while the sweat
Ran down so fast, my very feet were wet.
"O had I but a temper worth the name,
Like yours, Bolanus!" inly I exclaim.
The transcription of the poem from Fun was made with the assistance of ABBYY FineReader software from the page images of the University of Florida online version. — George P. Landow]
Horace [Quintus Horatius Flaccus]. The Works of Horace translated Literally into English Prose. Trans. C.M. Smart. New Edition. Project Gutenberg version by Juliet Sutherland and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. Web. 22 March 2016.
Horace [Quintus Horatius Flaccus]. The Satires, Epistles, and Art of Poetry of Horace . Trans. John Conington. Project Gutenberg version by David Moynihan, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. Web. 22 March 2016.
“The Return of the Tourist.” Fun. (14 October 1865): 42. Courtesy of the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. Web. 22 March 2016.
Last modified 22 March 2016