The Three Musicians
The Three Musicians - first version
Along the path that skirts the wood,
three musicians wend their way,
Pleased with their thoughts, each others mood,
Himmels latest roundelay,
The mornings work, a new-found theme,
breakfast and the summer day.
Ones a soprano, lightly frocked
cool, white muslin that just shows
Her brown silk stockings gaily clocked,
arms and elbows tipped with rose,
And frills of petticoats and things, and outlines
the warm wind blows.
Beside her a slim, gracious boy
to mend her tresses fall,
And dies her favour to enjoy,
dies for réclame and recall
At Paris and St. Petersburg, Vienna and St. Jamess Hall.
The thirds a Polish Pianist
big engagements everywhere,
A light heart and an iron wrist,
shocks and shoals of yellow hair,
And fingers that can trill on sixths and fill beginners with despair.
The three musicians stroll along
pluck the ears of ripened corn,
Break into odds and ends of song,
mock the woods with Siegfrieds horn,
And fill the air with Gluck, and fill the tweeded tourists
soul with scorn.
The Three Musicians - published version
The Polish genius lags behind,
with some poppies in his hand,
Picks out the strings and wood and wind
an imaginary band,
Enchanted that for once his men obey
his beat and understand.
The charming cantatrice reclines
rests a moment where she sees
Her chateaus roof that hotly shines
Amid the dusky summer trees,
And fans herself, half shuts her eyes, and smoothes
the frock about her knees.
The gracious boy is at her feet,
weighs his courage with his chance;
His fears soon melt in noon-day heat.
tourist gives a furious glance,
Red as his guide-book grows, moves on,
and offers up a prayer for France.
¶ 1895. First published in The Savoy, No.1,
Jan 1896. Written during the Summer of 1895 at Arques-la-Bataille
and in Dieppe. Arthur Symons described the verses as being in
their own way, a tour de force, but peevishly added that they
revealed only that Aubrey had succeeding in doing what he
certainly had no aptitude for doing. According to a highly
unlikely legend, the first version of the drawing made to accompany
these verses was censored by Leonard Smithers, who is reputed to
have thought the pose of the young man, with his hand upon the girls
knee, too suggestive.