In Black & White


Title Page
Under the Hill

The Art of the Hoarding
Letters to his Critics
   Pall Mall Budget
   Daily Chronicle
   St. Paul’s
Table Talk
Lines upon Pictures
   St Rose of Lima

The Three Musicians
The Ballad of a Barber
Ave Atque Vale
The Celestial Lover
The Ivory Piece
Prospectus for Volpone

Appendix : Juvenilia
The Valiant
A Ride in an Omnibus
The Confession Album
The Courts of Love
Dante in Exile
Written in Uncertainty
The Morte Darthur

Enoch Soames

Under the Hill

A Ride in a Omnibus

Of all kinds of conveyances, I think the omnibus
For many little reasons should be voted best by us;
But there are just a few annoyances attendant on a ride
In the very best of ’busses that you ever yet have tried.

First, you get a little huddled with the odorous “unélite”,
And—unless you are a Socialist, and love with such to meet—
You have most distracting visions of an army of disease,
Or the tortures of an insect, which are—well, not exactly bees.

There’s the horrible old laundress in a shawl that’s always plaid,
And that low-crowned-hatted gentleman, whom people call a cad,
Then a fat old corduroyed navvy goes a flop into a seat,
With his bargy grimy boots just gently stamping on your feet.

Next a drably little maiden jumps into the omnibus,
With some parcels and a baby—such a screaming little cuss!
After that a showy shopman smelling strong of scented grease,
Thinks the omnibus his own and tries to make his neighbours squeeze.

Whilst a pert and frowzy damsel, in a jacket trimmed with braid,
Sets up giggling and humming—oh, she is a modest maid!—
Then a stout and vulgar woman, quite a mass of rouge and paint,
With her cheap and nasty perfumes almost causes you to faint.

In addition to your neighbour’s aggravating little ways,
The confounded public carriage at each street and corner stays,
The conductor then is bawling that “They go to—” you know, of course—
Keeps you waiting for an hour all without the least remorse.

To conclude my little poem, I would simply just remark,
That it is not exactly pleasant when you have to disembark,
As you’re stepping out, the vehicle that very moment starts,
And in the mud you find yourself amongst a score of carts.

¶ 1887. One of a number of Beardsley’s juvenile contributions to the local journal, Brighton Society; this trifle, penned in imitation of the manner of Gilbert and Sullivan, appeared in the issue for 9th July 1887, where, unfortunately, the author’s name was erroneously printed as W. V. Beardsley.