The Strange Case of Mr. Fortague’s Disappointment: Ogden Nash


Mr.Lionel Fortague said he would settle down on
Innisfree, the home of iridescent chitchat.
He said he would a small cabin build there, of clay and
wattles made.
Everyone said did he mean he would build a small
cabin there, made of clay and wattles?
Mr.Lionel Fortague said yes,but his way of putting it
was more poetic.
Everyone said maybe, but they were all out of wattles…
He a fierce-looking dog at an annual clearance sale
bought, and it the people of Innisfree one by one
to bite he instructed.
My, he was disappointed:
He had forgotten that a bargain dog never bites.

Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash’s barbed remarks about the wings of poesy are of course triggered by the famous poem by W B Yeats:

Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

– W.B. Yeats

In a (doomed?) attempt to keep Messrs Yeats and Nash content with the illustration, it is of Innisfree Garden in Milsom, New York, via Wikimedia.

About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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