Dame Edith Louisa Sitwell

(7 September 1887 - 9 December 1964 / Scarborough, Yorkshire)

Scotch Rhapsody


Do not take a bath in Jordan, Gordon,
On the holy Sabbath, on the peaceful day! '
Said the huntsman, playing on his old bagpipe,
Boring to death the pheasant and the snipe —
Boring the ptarmigan and grouse for fun —
Boring them worse than a nine-bore gun.
Till the flaxen leaves where the prunes are ripe,
Heard the tartan wind a-droning in the pipe,
And they heard Macpherson say:
'Where do the waves go? What hotels
Hide their bustles and their gay ombrelles?
And would there be room? —

Would there be room?
Would there be room
for
me?

There is a hotel at Ostend
Cold as the wind, without an end,
Haunted by ghostly poor relations
Of Bostonian conversations
(Like bagpipes rotting through the walls.)
And there the pearl-ropes fall like shawls
With a noise like marine waterfalls.
And 'Another little drink wouldn't do us any harm! '
Pierces through the Sabbatical calm.
And that is the place for me!
So do not take a bath in Jordan, Gordon,
On the holy Sabbath, on the peaceful day —
Or you'll never go to heaven, Gordon Macpherson,
And speaking purely as a private person

That is the place
— that is the place
— that is the
place
for
me!

Submitted: Friday, March 09, 2012
Edited: Friday, March 09, 2012

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