A Shattered Illusion

(Suggested by the views of a Times correspondent on the cult of the Edelweiss)

On everything poetic

   Your moderns look askance:

And daily Prose deals frequent blows

   Destructive to Romance.

But though Romance is dying,

   Like everything that's nice,

Since I was young I've thought it hung

   Around the Edelweiss.

'Twas plucked, I deemed, by lovers,

   Who braved the Alpine snows,

And hung for weeks from icy peaks,

   Suspended by their toes:

They cared not though beneath them

   There yawned a drop of miles,

But with a grin they roped it in,

   And won their lady's smiles.

But now it seems that perils

   Need not be faced at all:

You only need to buy the seed,

   The price of which is small;

And in the heart of London,

   A mile from Temple Bar,

You plant in earth your pennyworth,

   And then – well, there you are!

Oh, Times's correspondent,

   You might have spared us this!

We did not know that this was so,

   And ignorance was bliss.

If further revelations

   You chance to have in store,

Be generous, please, and spare us these,

   I hear they don't want more.

First published in Punch, September 7, 1904.