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Durrell School of Corfu wrote: > Harold Bloom told me that the ' Ballad of the Good Lord Nelson' was > one of his favourite poems, to be recited in depression. RP That is classic Bloom. A reading through /Falstaff/ as much as /Freud/. And a good and merry rejoinder to Durrell's ballad. "Turning like the hour-glass in his lonely bunk" 1943. Is this a war poem? Perhaps it is rather more post-coital than post-colonial. The approach would tell us much. Back to my "various rigs." *** Durrell, Lawrence
A BALLAD OF THE GOOD LORD NELSON
[from /Collected Poems: 1931-1974 / (1985), Faber and Faber] The Good Lord Nelson had a swollen gland, Little of the scripture did he understand Till a woman led him to the promised land Aboard the Victory, Victory O. Adam and Evil and a bushel of figs Meant nothing to Nelson who was keeping pigs, Till a woman showed him the various rigs Aboard the Victory, Victory O. His heart was softer than a new laid egg, Too poor for loving and ashamed to beg, Till Nelson was taken by the Dancing Leg Aboard the Victory, Victory O. Now he up and did up his little tin trunk And he took to the ocean on his English junk, Turning like the hour-glass in his lonely bunk Aboard the Victory, Victory O. The Frenchman saw him a-coming there With the one-piece eye and the valentine hair, With the safety-pin sleeve and occupied air Aboard the Victory, Victory O. Now you all remember the message he sent As an answer to Hamilton's discontent--- There were questions asked about it in Parliament Aboard the Victory, Victory O. Now the blacker the berry, the thicker comes the juice. Think of Good Lord Nelson and avoid self-abuse, For the empty sleeve was no mere excuse Aboard the Victory, Victory O. 'England Expects' was the motto he gave When he thought of little Emma out on Biscay's wave, And remembered working on her like a galley-slave Aboard the Victory, Victory O. The first Great Lord in our English land To honour the Freudian command, For a cast in the bush is worth two in the hand Aboard the Victory, Victory O. Now the Frenchman shot him there as he stood In the rage of battle in a silk-lined hood And he heard the whistle of his own hot blood Aboard the Victory, Victory O. Now stiff on a pillar with a phallic air Nelson stylites in Trafalgar Square Reminds the British what once they were Aboard the Victory, Victory O. If they'd treat their women in the Nelson way There'd be fewer frigid husbands every day And many more heroes on the Bay of Biscay Aboard the Victory, Victory O. 1943/1943 -- ********************** Charles L. Sligh Department of English Wake Forest University slighcl at wfu.edu **********************