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The Rhyme Maker

Arthur Hugh Clough
1819-1861


Theme:  Wine Drinkers


NOTES:
The title of this poem, Spectator ab Extra, literally means “a spectator from outside”.  In other words, our poet is an observer from outside this scene.  The main character, who speaks the poem, does not reflect the thoughts and opinions of the poet.

[second stanza]: en grand seigneur is French, and means “in the manner of a gentleman”.

Parvenant, the sub-title for the third section is French and means “has arrived”, ie., “finished”.

The second section of this poem, “Le Diner”, could stand alone and still convey Mr. Clough's main message, as is the case in our anthology BOTTLED POETRY: Verses from the Vine.

Arthur Clough was an educator and also served for a time as the valuable assistant to Florence Nightingale, pioneer of modern nursing. 
- S. H. Bass  


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An old play on words . . . noticed it credited to W.C. Fields once.  Sounds about right!  -SHB
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Spectator Ab Extra
Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861), English poet

As I sat in the Café I said to myself,
They may talk as they please about what they
call pelf,
They may sneer as they like about eating and drinking,
But help it I cannot, I cannot help thinking
How pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
How pleasant it is to have money.

I sit at my table en grand seigneur,
And when I have done, throw a crust to the poor;
Not only the pleasure itself of good living,
But also the pleasure of now and then giving:
So pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
So pleasant it is to have money.

They may talk as they please about what they
call pelf,
And how one ought never to think of one’s self,
How pleasures of thought surpass eating and
drinking —
My pleasure of thought is the pleasure of thinking
How pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
How pleasant it is to have money.

II. Le Diner


Come along, ‘tis the time, ten or more minutes
past,
And he who came first had to wait for the last;
The oysters ere this had been in and been out;
Whilst I have been sitting and thinking about
How pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
How pleasant it is to have money.

A clear soup with eggs, voilà tout; of the fish
The filets de sole are a moderate dish
A la Orly, but you’re for the red mullet, you say:
By the gods of good fare, who can question today
How pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
How pleasant it is to have money.

After oysters, sauterne; then sherry; champagne,
Ere one bottle goes, comes another again;
Fly up, thou bold cork, to the ceiling above,
And tell to our ears in the sound that they love
How pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
How pleasant it is to have money.

I’ve the simplest of palates; absurd it may be,
But I almost could dine on a poulet-au-riz,
Fish and soup and omelet and that – but the
deuce –
There were to be woodcocks, and not Charlotte Russe!
So pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
So pleasant it is to have money.

Your Chablis is acid, away with the Hock,
Give me the pure juice of the purple Médoc:
St Peray is exquisite; but, if you please,
Some Burgundy just before tasting the cheese.
So pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
So pleasant it is to have money.

As for that, pass the bottle, and d—n the expense,
I’ve seen it observed by a writer of sense,
That the laboring classes could scarce live a day,
If people like us didn’t eat, drink, and pay.
So useful it is to have money, heigh-ho!
So useful it is to have money.

One ought to be grateful, I quite apprehend,
Having dinner and supper and plenty to spend,
And so suppose now, while the things go away,
By way of a grace we all stand up and say
How pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
How pleasant it is to have money.

III. Parvenant


I cannot but ask, in the park and the streets
When I look at the number of persons one meets,
What e’er in the world the poor devils can do
Whose fathers and mothers can’t give them a sou.
So needful it is to have money, heigh-ho!
So needful it is to have money.

I ride, and I drive, and I care not a d—n,
The people look up and they ask who I am;
And if I should chance to run over a cad,
I can pay for the damage, if ever so bad.
So useful it is to have money, heigh-ho!
So useful it is to have money.

It was but this winter I came up to town,
And already I’m gaining a sort of renown;
Find my way to good houses without much ado,
And beginning to see the nobility too.
So useful it is to have money, heigh-ho!
So useful it is to have money.

O dear what a pity they ever should lose it,
Sine they are the people that know how to use it;
So easy, so stately, such manners, such dinners,
And yet, after all, it is we are the winners.
So needful it is to have money, heigh-ho!
So needful it is to have money.

It’s all very well to be handsome and tall,
Which certainly makes you look well at a ball;
It’s all very well to be clever and witty,
But if you are poor, why it’s only a pity.
So needful it is to have money, heigh-ho!
So needful it is to have money.

There’s something undoubtedly in a fine air,
To know how to smile and be able to stare,
High breeding is something, but well-bred or not,
In the end the one question is, what have you got.
So needful it is to have money, heigh-ho!
So needful it is to have money.

And the angels in pink and the angels in blue,
In muslins and moirés so lovely and new,
What is it they want, and so wish you to guess,
But if you have money, the answer is Yes.
So needful, they tell you, is money, heigh-ho!
So needful it is to have money.



from Poems of Clough (1910)

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