Fashion’s Phases

When first I whispered words of love,

   When first you turned aside to hear,

The winged griffin flew above,

   The mammoth gaily gamboll'd near;

I wore the latest thing in skins

   Your dock-leaf dress had just been mended

And fastened-up with fishes fins –

   The whole effect was really splendid.

Again – we wondered by the Nile,

   In Egypt's far, forgotten land,

And watched the festive crocodile

   Devour papyrus from your hand.

Far off across the plain we saw

   The trader urge his flying camel;

Bright shone the scarab belt you wore,

   Clasped with a sphinx of rare enamel.

Again – on Trojan plains I knelt;

   Alas! in vain I strove to speak

And tell you all the love I felt

   In more or less Homeric Greek;

Perhaps my helmet-strap was tight

   And checked the thoughts I fain would utter,

Or else your robe of dreamy white

   Bewildered me and made me stutter.

Once more we change the mise-en-scène;

   The white road curves across the hill;

Excitement makes you rather plain,

   But on the whole I love you still,

As wreathed in veils and goggles blue,

   And clad in macintosh and leather,

Snug in our motor built for two

   We skim the Brighton road together.

First published in Punch, August 3, 1906.

Bill Murray in 1906