As when, like teasing vagabonds,
The sly winds buffet sullen ponds,
The face of Stodge grew dark with rage,
When Sym stepped forth upon the stage.
But all the Glugs, with one accord,
A chorus of approval roared.
Said Sym: “Kind friends, and fellow Glugs;
My trade is mending pots and mugs.
I tinker kettles, and I rhyme
To please myself and pass the time,
Just as my fancy wandereth.”
("He’s minel” quoth Stodge, below his breath.)
Said Sym: “Why I am here to-day
I know not; tho’ I’ve heard them say
That strife and hatred play some part
In this great meeting at the Mart.
Nay, brothers, why should hatred lodge . . .
“That’s ultra vires!” thundered Stodge.
“’Tis ultra vires!” cried the Knight.
“Besides, it isn’t half polite.
And e’en the dullest Glug should know,
’Tis not pro bono publico.
Nay, Glugs, this fellow is no class.
Remember! Vincit veritas!”
With sidelong looks and sheepish grins,
Like men found out in secret sins,
Glug gazed at Glug in nervous dread;
Till one with claims to learning said,
“Sir Stodge is talking Greek, you know.
He may be bad, but never low.”
Then those who had no word of Greek
Felt lifted up to hear him speak.
“Ah, learning, learning,” others said.
’Tis fine to have a clever head.”
And here and there a nervous cheer
Was heard, and someone growled, “Hear, hear.”
“Kind friends,” said Sym . . . But,
at a glance,
The ’cute Sir Stodge had seen his chance.
“Quid nuncl” he cried. “O noble Glugs,
This fellow takes you all for mugs.
I ask him, where’s his quid pro quo?
I ask again, quo warranto?
“Shall this man filch our wits from us
With his furor poeticus?
Nay!” cried Sir Stodge. “You must agree,
If you will hark a while to me
And at the Glugs’ collective head
He flung strange language, ages dead.
With mystic phrases from the Law,
With many an old and rusty saw,
With well-worn mottoes, which he took
Haphazard from the copy-book,
For half an hour the learned Knight
Belaboured them with all his might.
And, as they wakened from their daze,
Their murmurs grew to shouts of praise.
Glugs who’d reviled him overnight
All in a moment saw the light.
“O learned man! 0 seer!” cried they. . . .
And education won the day.
Then, quickly to Sir Stodge’s side
There bounded, in a single stride,
His Nibs of Quog; and flinging wide
His arms, “O victory!” he cried.
“I’m with Sir Stodge, 0 Glugs of Gosh!
And we have won! Long live King Splosh!”
Then pointing angrily at Sym,
Cried Quog, “This is the end of him!
For months I’ve marked his crafty dodge,
To bring dishonour to Sir Stodge.
I’ve lured him here, the traitrous dog,
And shamed him!” quoth his Nibs of Quog.