When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark,
And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark:
But, when the tide rises and Sharks are around,
His voice has a timid & tremulous sound. — Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland (1865)
Album primo-avrilesque, meaning April-Foolish Album, is a collection of visual jokes published by the French humourist Alphonse Allais (1854-1905) on 1st April 1897. Note that some of the captions can’t be translated fully into English, because they use French idioms that refer to color.
Combat de nègres dans une cave, pendant la nuit
Negroes fighting in a cellar at night
Stupeur de jeunes recrues apercevant pour la première fois ton azur, O Méditerranée!
Astonishment of young naval recruits seeing for the first time your blue, O Mediterranean!
Des souteneurs, encore dans la force de l’âge et le ventre dans l’herbe, boivant de l’absinthe
Pimps, still in the prime of life and with bellies to the grass, drinking absinthe
(Pimps were then known as dos verts or “green-backs”)
Manipulation de l’ocre par des cocus ictériques
Handling of ochre by jaundiced cuckolds
(According to one page I’ve found, coucou is the name given to some yellow wild-flowers, and cuckolds can be yellow with jealousy)
Récolte de la tomate par des cardinaux apoplectiques au bord de la mer Rouge (Effet d’aurore boréale)
Harvesting of tomatoes by apoplectic cardinals on the shore of the Red Sea (effect of the Aurora Borealis)
Ronde de pochards dans le brouillard
Dance of drunks in the fog
(Slang for “drunk” in French is gris, which also means “gray”)
Première communion de jeunes filles chlorotiques par un temps de neige
First communion of anaemic young girls in snowy weather
Marche funèbre, composée pour les funérailles d’un grand homme sourd
Funeral March, composed for the obsequies of a great deaf man
DIVERSIONS OF THE RE-ECHO CLUB
It is with pleasure that we announce our ability to offer to the public the papers of the Re-Echo Club. This club, somewhat after the order of the Echo Club, late of Boston, takes pleasure in trying to better what is done. On the occasion of the meeting of which the following gems of poesy are the result, the several members of the club engaged to write up the well-known tradition of the Purple Cow in more elaborate form than the quatrain made famous by Mr. Gelett Burgess:
“I NEVER saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.”
MR. A. SWINBURNE:
Oh, Cow of rare rapturous vision,
Oh, purple, impalpable Cow,
Do you browse in a Dream Field Elysian,
Are you purpling pleasantly now?
By the side of wan waves do you languish?
Or in the lithe lush of the grove?
While vainly I search in my anguish,
Bovine of mauve!
Despair in my bosom is sighing,
Hope’s star has sunk sadly to rest;
Though cows of rare sorts I am buying,
Not one breathes a balm to my breast.
Oh, rapturous rose-crowned occasion
When I such a glory might see!
But a cow of a purple persuasion
I never would be.
• The Purple Cow Parodies
• Diversions of the Re-Echo Club
• Such Nonsense! An Anthology (c. 1918) — with this and other parodies
The Poets at Tea […]
3.—(Swinburne, who let it get cold)
As the sin that was sweet in the sinning
Is foul in the ending thereof,
As the heat of the summer’s beginning
Is past in the winter of love:
O purity, painful and pleading!
O coldness, ineffably gray!
Oh, hear us, our handmaid unheeding,
And take it away!
• Barry Pain (1864-1928)
A Melton-Mowbray Pork Pie
Strange pie that is almost a passion,
O passion immoral for pie!
Unknown are the ways that they fashion,
Unknown and unseen of the eye.
The pie that is marbled and mottled,
The pie that digests with a sigh:
For all is not Bass that is bottled,
And all is not pork that is pie.
• Richard Le Gallienne (1866-1947)