This literary palimpsest is devoted to my dad, who happens to love both.
Once upon a midnight dreary, with our pipes lit, spirits weary,
We looked out at the starry night, the river Thames its silent roar —
While I nodded, nearly napping, George, remembered, gently laughing,
A story of his father travelling, travelling in the Welsh outdoor.
“Tis a bore,” I muttered, yawning at this anecdotal lore,
“Only this and nothing more.”
“Ah, distinctly I remember,” George droned on, “it was December,
My father and a friend stopped at an inn they’d seen before
Eagerly, they joined the fellows, having heard those distant bellows
Of a party truly mellow—mellow were they, to the core—
For the room was warm and cozy at that infamous inn of yore”–
Nameless here for evermore.
“And the silken smooth and dandy whiskey, gin or was it brandy
escorted Tom and Joe along the stairs to their room door;
So that now, their heads a-swimming, mumbling, chanting and admitting
‘Tis atrocious so much drinking, too much whisky did I pour’—
Tom, unsteady, candle spent, ‘Yes we should have stopped at four
This it is and nothing more.’
Presently their souls grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
In they went, where two beds waited, waited thus but were ignored;
For the fact is they were pissed, and so full their heads of mist
In one bed did they mix, fixed indeed and plenty sore
Oblivious that they shared a bed when each left to his sleepy shore–
Darkness there and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long they lay there wondering, fearing,
Is that someone with me sleeping, sleeping there but not before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
till a stranger’s feet awoke him, Joe then did his friend implore:
‘there’s a fellow in my bed, one that wasn’t there before.’
Merely this and nothing more.
Back inside that chamber fuming, Tom, his soul within him churning,
“A stranger’s feet my nose are burning I even think I heard him snore.
Joe then whispered to his friend ‘chuck him out, that nightly menace
And I will see, then, what the threat is and this mystery explore–
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;–
Chuck him out and nothing more.’
Both men here did lunge with shudder, sparks and limbs flew with a mutter,
Such a skirmish there was not since the saintly days of yore.
Not a thing did they achieve, though they push and pull and heave.
Till, with great big sigh of grief, Tom was thrown to the floor —
Perched upon that same drab slab, Joe sat on that chamber floor–
Hurt, they sat, and nothing more.
Then Joe said, ‘that guy has licked me, off the bed he did right kick me’
Tom could not but say the same, ‘True, those fellows made us sore,
Let us hence from this dark manor, primitive its nightly banter
Ghastly grim and ancient manner curse those criminal beings’ gore–
Leave anon we shall this hell-hole, never to return,’ Tom swore.
‘Indeed, Joe said, Nevermore.’