Guest poem sent in by William Grey
(Poem #1800) The Doctor
The doctor took my shirt away; He did it for the best; He said, "It's very cold today," And took away my vest; Then, having nothing more to say, He hit me in the chest. Oh, he did clout my ribs about Till I was bruised and red, Then stood and listened to my spine To see if I was dead, And when I shouted "Ninety-nine!" He simply shook his head. He rather thought that rain would fall, He made me hop about the hall, And savagely he said, "There's nothing wrong with you at all You'd better go to bed! "Oh you must eat no scrap of meat, No rabbit, bird, or fish; Apart from that have what you please, But no potato, bread, or cheese; Not butter, alcohol, or peas; Not sausage, egg, and ratafias A very starchy dish; Have any other foods but these HAVE ANYTHING YOU WISH! But at and after every meal, And twice an hour between, Take this -- and this -- and this -- and THIS In water and quinine, And wash it down with liquorice And nitro-glycerine. "You must not smoke, or read a book, You must not eat or drink; You must not bicycle or run, You must not talk to anyone; It's better not to think. A daily bath I don't advise; It's dangerous to snore; But let your life be otherwise As active as before. And don't imagine you are ill, I beg you not to mope; There's nothing wrong with you -- but still, While there is life, there's hope." I woke and screamed a hideous scream As greedy children do Who eat too much vanilla cream For I was having 'flu; And it was just an awful dream But, all the same, it's true.
Sir Alan Patrick Herbert, 1890-1971, was a regular contributor of comic verse (over his initials "A.P.H.") to the English magazine 'Punch'. He is a distinguished member of a great tradition of English comic poets, which includes such luminaries as Edward Lear (1812-1888), Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), and Herbert's contemporary Patrick Barrington (1909-1990). The only poem of Herbert on Minstrels to date is 'To the Lady Behind Me at the Theatre'. He merits more extensive representation. As well as comic verse, Herbert was a novelist, librettist of successful comic operas, author of children's books, and he served as a member of the House of Commons for Oxford University from 1935 until 1950. He was largely responsible for the passage of the bill (1937) which reformed the then-archaic divorce law of England. For more details see his autobiography. William Grey  Poem #732, To the Lady Behind Me at the Theatre -- A.P. Herbert  A.P.H.: His Life and Times (1970) -- A.P. Herbert