Friday, January 30, 2015

Marlowe in Abadan

Another humorous piece from the papers of  'EVOE' i.e. Punch editor E.V. Knox. A Kit Marlowe parody…

Albert Decaris - Tamburlaine the Great (LEC 1965)


"Our methods of dealing with Persia have scarcely been those of Tamburlaine the Great," I wrote; and then (remembering a recent dramatic performance) I thought "How very strange if they had been." Something, I suppose, after this sort.

Enter, from underground holes, MR. MOUSSADEK and the BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY, with great voluted swords.

Presumptuous bassa, whose begrimed brow
Is all unworthy to salute the dust
That bears the mighty boots of Morrison,*
Down on thy knees and make immediate truce
Ere I shall hew thy carcase into shreds
And post it piecemeal through the entire globe
Till trembling Tartars of the furthest East
And all the Kurds' contributory kings
Shall murmur as they ope the packages
This was the deed of Mighty Morrison.

Let but the whelps of thy infernal brood
Sniff with vile snout at our Refineries,
They shall be hung in chains as high as heaven
And torn with vultures and be tossed on spears
And riddled with the arrows of our rage,
Till high Apollo glancing through the holes
Shall fleck the pavement with his burning beams;
And on the battlements of Abadan
Their horrid relics housed in clanking chains
Make hideous music to affright the moon
Because they dared to flout great Morrison.

* At that time representing the U.K.

MR. MOUSSADEK (quite unmoved).
Intemperate minion of the outer seas,
Now by the Book of Alcoran I swear
That voice that sometime ruled the County Hall
And raised the roofs of roaring Westminster
Shall not avail against proud Moussadek
For whom each drop of his Iranian oil
Is precious as the golden ambergris
That comes on elephants from Samarkand;
Nor all your mangonels and arbalests
Mounted on dromonds served by cataphracts
Shall wrest this ointment from his sovran hand.

THE B.F.S. (now really annoyed).
How now, base Gorgon! Infidel and slave!
And heedless of my first communiqué,
Shalt thou not flinch before the lifted blade
That shakes the Lord of Egypt in his shoon
And conjures tribute of ten thousand beeves
Forth from the pampas of the Argentine?
Sooner than lose these noble essences,
The outcome of our distillation,
I'll have thee clapped into an iron cage
I'll have thee driven in a donkey cart
About the Pleasures Grounds of Battersea,
Beaten with whips of wire, nay more - nay more,
I'll set a matchstick unto Asia
And sere the midriff of the world with flames,
And put thee like a painted popinjay,
With limbs a-dangle form the drunkard's throne
For hell to mock at and the gods to scorn,
Upon the pyre that was Persepolis.

(Does so.)

A great many objections may be urged against the old diplomacy thus indicated; but one cannot deny that it was spectacular.

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