Sunday, 31 May 2009

Grandma's album 10

This little pastel drawing is situated near the end of the album (meaning there are only a few more of these left to post). It's glued into the book with a sheet of tissue paper to protect it. Underneath is written ‘Yours affectionately, Helen F. Warren, 1912.’ Helen must have been one of the stars of the art class.
Lacking anything else to say here’s a funny poem from the middle of the book:

Give us our Votes
with apologies to Longfellow

The women’s rights were falling fast,
When to the House of Commons passed,
A maid who bore as of great price,
A banner with this just device,
“Give us our votes.”

Her brow was knit, her eye beneath
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of her cultured tongue
“Give us our votes.”

In many homes she saw that right
And sway of women had taken flight,
Instead of men with power shone,
But still she cried & not alone
“Give us our votes.”

“Try not to pass” an old man said,
Grim looms a policeman on ahead,
His clinging arms are open wide,
But still that maiden’s voice replied
“Give us our votes.”

“Oh stay” the policeman said and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast.
A tear stood in her gleaming eye,
But still she answered with a sigh
“Give us our votes.”

Beware the judge’s awful glance,
Beware or he will make you dance.
This was the bobbie’s last Goodnight,
A voice replied just on the right
“Give us our votes.”

At break of day as prisonwards
In ‘Black Maria’ to do her ‘hard,’
Passed this ‘Suffragette’ so fair,
Her voice cried through the startled air
“Give us our votes.”

The maiden when the morn came round
Half-witted in the cell was found,
But grasping still as in a vice
The banner with this just device
“Give us our votes.”

Then in the dim light, cold and grey,
Voteless but resolute she lay,
Vowing that she would be a match
For any M.P. she could catch

This is a clever parody of Longfellow’s ‘Excelsior.’ It’s signed very untidily at the bottom by someone who could have been Nellie Field. I can’t find any reference to it online so there's a chance that Nellie, or whatever her name was, made it up herself. If you want to read and compare the original you can find it here.

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