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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review September 1921

Elegiac Fragments and Epitaphs

page 20

Elegiac Fragments and Epitaphs.

Newly translated from hitherto unknown portions of the Greek Anthology, by a Scholar of V.U.C.


On a Mouse, obiit. iii., iii., xxi.

O Mouse, who liest so limp, with head awry and outstretched tail cold and stiff, know that I, who slew thee sorrowfully, but from an exalted sense of public duty, weep for thee, and have given thy body fair burial.


On an Earwig, drowned in a jug of milk.

In the morning I came and found thee, O Earwig, and thou wert dead, and belly-upward on the creamy flood thou floated'st, and wert a piteous sight. Now float thou anew in Charon's boat and drink of Lethe, and from Olympian jugs drink a sweeter milk, but in moderation.


On a Fly, overwhelmed in a sugar-bowl.

Fly, too much sweetness hath proved thy bane. In a crystal avalanche wert thou overwhelmed, and thy soul took flight; but now shalt thou sip nectar everlasting, and shalt settle on Jove's pate, and shalt be a plague to gods.


On J. Rankine B——.

B——, who wert wont mellifluously to render classic tongues, now thyself translated art thou gathered to thy fathers: now thunderest thou with Hector and Achilles; now dost thou lie in peace on Homer's bosom, and with Virgilius holdest sweet converse.



Tread softly, ye who pass by here, nor disturb his slumbers who oft hath lulled thee in Morpheus' arms with Caledonian cadence; weep, maidens, who oft have giggled at his brighter speech; strew poppy-plants, that sleep may still surround him.


On B. E. M—phy.

O Celtic flow of rare loquaciousness, O jibe and epigram now lost for aye, O sweet irony, succulent sarcasm, O rushing metaphor tumultuous—

(here this Whitman-esque, rather chaotic fragment breaks off).


On a Dog, that wandered into V.U.C.

Did'st thou want wisdom, O Dog, that thou camest to sit' at the feel of philosophers? Had'st thou lost thy bone, thy well-loved, that thou sought'st recompense in syllogism and ethic argument; or did'st thou thirst for Wiren on Evidence? Perchance 'twas wafted warmth and smell from cheerful basement brought thee here. . . . Ah, little dog, cruel hands thrust thee forth; seek happiness in heavenly halls, and in fields ofAsphodel bury thy bone; roll, and disport thyself exceedingly.