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Childe Danny's Pilgrimage

(or No Race for the Weary)

by Raymond "Beppo" Paretzky.

Oh, thou! In Oxon. deem'd of heavenly birth,
Isis! O river god, my mucky muse!
These humble lines, devoid of cosmic worth,
To you I sing, now I've quaffed six brews;
You filthy godhead, fed by stinking loos
And loathsome ugsomeness of Oxon's rats,
The wretched refuse of the chimney flues,
From which do fly the hordes of belfried bats,
Sing! Oh viscous, slimy muse, about the rowing prats.

Whilome in Trin'ty College dwelt a youth
Who ne in virtues ways did take delight;
But vex'd the M.C.R. so oft, in truth,
They made him pres. in hopes to ease their plight;
Hopes vain! Fulsome folly! And not so bright,
To pick a shameless youth, a London lad,
Disciple of sin, and worshipper of night:
In tatty tweeds was he perpetua'ly clad,
To match his stillborn verses, which were always bad!

Childe Danny was he hight - O rue that name!
Yes, Isis, you pitch and roll, and well you should:
A puissant water of illustrous fame,
You bear the weight of eights both bad and good:
A flowing pool of slime for all who would
Be brave and hale; and stupid, too,
To risk their life and limbs as oft they could
On turbid waves - Oh muse! You paled a hue
When in their boat did climb Childe Danny's awful crew!

At bow the Greek did row, Vlahoplus nam'd -
His features handsome were, his stroke was fine;
Yet Isis groaned, and it could not be blamed:
"No more!", it screamed, "No more Wittgenstein!".
At number six, yet worse, there sat a Strine,
A hairless oarsman, blade ever a-tilt;
He talked of angles, circles, and of lines,
Pronouncing each in gentle Aussie lilt -
The God from Balding's deadly breath did start to wilt!

The horror! The horror! The river cried out in pain
As yet once more Childe Danny's crew set out;
The chemist took his seat; down poured the rain;
Vain Astbury opined, "Let's head for 'The Trout'!",
But Cross disagreed, Cross did use her clout -
She steered towards the bridge, she climbed atop;
"No talk of beer," she yelled, "no ale or stout;
No lager, my boys, but row 'til you drop!"
So urged the cox; then spied the bank: "Stop!" she yelled, "Stop!".

She smiled demurely: number three was hooked:
He sighed, he pined, held rapt by feminin'ty -
"Oh Goddess, love me!", begged he - so they nooked:
The pair then heav'd; they rocked, in rhythmic glee -
The boat shook too, the crew prepared to flee -
Poor rowers! Spirits! Halt the puissant waves
That threaten murky death for Trinity!
They're saved! For Bailey gives her what she craves
Before our heroes nine can sink to muddy graves.

The Junior Dean from rolling swell became
So sick, he chunder'd his High Table munch;
Confused he grew then, fev'rish brain aflame:
He cried, "A cent'ry must I score ere lunch!"
Paretzk' restor'd his senses with a punch:
He told him, "Guy, this is no cricket pitch;
We race tomorrow, and I have a hunch
We'll ne'er row on, unless there is no hitch!"
But Coughlan only said, "I'm bowled! That son of a bitch!"

A movement shocked them, coming from the front -
The long-heard snores now ceased their sleepy cry -
The stroke awoke, came to with groan and grunt;
He yawned, he stretched, he blinked a lazy eye;
He belched, he heaved, he then zipped up his fly:
'Twas Cohen, waked from his custom'd sleep;
Ten stone he weighed, his nose three more when dry.
The rest were worried, some did start to weep:
If Cohen rowed, they knew, the boat was doomed to creep!

They held their breaths .. and then breathed relief's deep sighs,
For Cohen's oar dropped down: he slept again.
Then Danny, who their captain was, espies
The starting line at hand - he'd not known when
His squad of one fair female and eight men
Of ugly visage, would commence the race.
Oh, muse! You mucky god that guides my pen,
Turn not away, avert not now your face,
Describe how slow, so slow, how snail-like slow their pace!

Alas! Alack! The woe, the woe I feel!
To tell the tale of Danny's rowing boat;
If only they had kept an even keel
They might at least have stayed a while afloat.
And on the bank, those bladesmen of world note,
Rare J. v.-D., and Mad Jack Schulzie too
Began to laugh, and then to strut and gloat,
Until to such a size their egos grew,
Their steak-fed bellies burst: guts in all directions flew!

My tragic song hath ceased, my tale is done;
Childe Danny's journey long is at an end.
That ill-starred boat o'erturned, ere race was won;
The strapped-in crew like pigs in cages penned
Had no escape: they sink, their eyes distend;
They claw, they gurgle .. bubbles soon subside.
To heav'n high their soak'd souls ascend,
Except Childe Danny's, whose soul hellward flied -
There dwells it still; busy, I've heard, seeking a bride!