Friday, May 26, 2017

The Vulture - A Parody of Poe's "Raven" by H.G. Hine 1853

The following clever parody appeared originally in "Cruikshank's Comic Almanac" for 1853, but it was reproduced in "The Piccadilly Annual," published in 1870 by John Camden Hotten. The parody was written by Robert Brough, and was most humorously illustrated by H. G. Hine:—

THE VULTURE: An Ornithological Study.
(After the late Edgar A. Poe.)

The Vulture is the most cruel, deadly, and voracious of birds of prey. He is remarkable for his keen scent, and for the tenacity with which he invariably clings to the victim on whom he has fixed his gripe. He is not to be shaken off whilst the humblest pickings remain. He is usually to be found in an indifferent state of feather. —New Translation of Cuvier.

Once upon a midnight chilling, as I held my feet unwilling
O'er a tub of scalding water, at a heat of ninety-four;
Nervously a toe in dipping, dripping, slipping, then outskipping,
Suddenly there came a ripping, whipping, at my chambers door.
"'Tis the second floor," I mutter'd, "flipping at my chambers door—
    Wants a light—and nothing more!"

Ah! distinctly I remember, it was in the chill November,
And each cuticle and member was with iufluenza sore;
Falt'ringly I stirr'd the gruel, steaming, creaming o'er the
And anon removed the jewel that each frosted nostril bore,
Wiped away the trembling jewel that each redden'd nostril
    Nameless here for evermore!

And I recollect a certain draught that fann'd the window
Chill'd me, fill'd me with the horror of two steps across the
And, besides, I'd got my feet in, and a most refreshing
heat in,
To myself I sat repeating—"If I answer to the door—
Rise to let the ruffian in who seems to want to burst the
    I'll be--" that and something more.

Presently the row grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Really, Mister Johnson, blow it!-—your forgiveness I
Such an observation letting slip, but when a man's just
Into bed, you come upsetting nerves and posts of chambers
Making such a row, forgetting "—-Spoke a voice beyond the
    "'Tisn't Johnson"—nothing more!

Quick a perspiration clammy bathed me, and I uttered
(Observation wrested from me, like the one I made before)
Back upon the cushions sinking, hopelessly my eyes, like
On some stout for private drinking, ranged in rows upon the
Fix'd—-and on an oyster barrel (full) beside them on the
    Look'd and groan'd, and nothing more.

Open then was flung the portal, and in stepp'd a hated
By the moderns call'd a Vulture (known as Sponge in
days of yore),
Well I knew his reputation! cause of all my agitation—-
Scarce a nod of salutation changed, he pounced upon the
Coolly lifted up the oysters and some stout from off the
    Help'd himself, and took some more!

Then this hungry beast untiring fix'd his gaze with fund
On a piece of cold boil'd beef, I meant to last a week or
Quick he set to work devouring—-plates, in quick succession,
Stout with every mouthful show'ring-—made me ask, to see
it pour,
If he quite enjoy'd his supper, as I watch'd the liquid pour;
    Said the Vulture "Never more."

Much disgusted at the spacious vacuum by this brute
Excavated in the beef—(he'd eaten quite enough for four) —
Still, I felt relief surprising when at length I saw him
That he meant to go surmising, said I, glancing at the
"Going? well, I wont detain you-—mind the stairs and shut
the door"
    "Leave you, Tomkins!-—never more."

Startled by an answer dropping hints that he intended
All his life-—I knew him equal to it if he liked, or more—
Half in dismal earnest, half in joke, with an attempt at
I remarked that he was chaffing, and demanded of the bore,
Ask'd what this disgusting, nasty, greedy, vile, intrusive bore
    Meant in croaking "Never more?"

But the Vulture not replying, took my bunch of keys, and
Sev'ral, found at length the one to fit my private cupboard
Took the gin out, fill'd the kettle; and with a sang froid to
Any saint, began to settle calmly down the grate before,
Really as he meant departing at the date I named before,
    Of never, never more!

Then I sat engaged in guessing what this circumstance
Would be likely to result in, for I knew that long before
Once (it served me right for drinking) I had told him that if
In the world, my fortunes linking to his own, he'd find my
Always open to receive him, and it struck me now that door
    He would pass, p'raps never more!

Suddenly the air was clouded, all the furniture enshrouded
With the smoke of vile tobacco—-this was worse than all
"Smith!" I cried (in not offensive tones, it might have been
For he knew the art defensive, and could costermongers
"Recollect it's after midnight, are you going!-—mind the
    Quoth the Vulture, "Never more!"

"Smith!" I cried (the gin was going, down his throat in
rivers flowing),
"If you want a bed, you know there's quite a nice hotel
next door,
Very cheap. I'm ill-—and, joking set apart, your horrid
Irritates my cough to choking. Having mentioned it before,
Really, you should not compel one-—Will you mizzle-—as
    Quoth the Vulture, "Never more!"

"Smith I" I cried, "that joke repeating merits little better
For you than a condemnation as a nuisance and a bore.
Drop it, pray, it isn't funny; I've to mix some rum and
If you want a little money, take some and be off next door;
Run a bill up for me if you like, but do be off next door."
    Quoth the Vulture, "Never more!"

"Smith!" I shriek'd-—the accent humbler dropping, as
another tumbler
I beheld him mix, "be off! you drive me mad-—it's striking
Leave the house and something in it; if you go on at
the gin, it
Wont hold out another minute. Leave the house and shut
the door—
Take your beak from out my gin, and take your body through
the door!"
    Quoth the Vulture, "Never more!"

And the Vulture never flitting—still is sitting, still is sitting,
Gulping down my stout by gallons, and my oysters by the
And the beast, with no more breeding than a heathen
savage feeding,
The new carpet's tints unheeding, throws his shells upon the
And his smoke from out my curtains, and his stains from out
my floor,
    Shall be sifted never more!

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