A careful study of the most popular English poems has convinced us that they are, as a rule, provokingly unfinished. The poets nearly always leave their heroes and heroines in positions which are tantalizingly inconclusive. We want to know what happens next. Take ‘Excelsior’ for example. After the ‘faithful hound’ of the ‘pious fathers’ has found the hero’s dead body stark and still, what then? Well, we have tried to supply the necessary sequel, taking up the tale where Longfellow left it.
EXCELSIOR (continued)
by Mamie Jane Meredith ( from 'The Funny Folks Annual' ) The monk who owned the hound explained “Go, fetch the Maire (Mayor), lest we be blamed And say he’s on the mountain side That youth who all the night has cried - “Excelsior” The Maire came floundering through the snow He was a ‘pursy’ man, you know He also brought his one gend’arme And gasped, what time he tugged his arm - “Excelsior” Arrived at length upon the spot His worship, now extremely hot Cried out, “’Twas well you sent for me The coroner at once must see - “Excelsior” And so they brought the ‘crowner’ too And twelve bold ‘Switzers’, good and true Sat on the youth who, midst the ice Had borne the somewhat quaint device - “Excelsior” The ‘Old Man’ which his name was Fritz Was almost frightened into fits On being sworn the Court to tell When last he heard that curious yell - “Excelsior” The ‘Maiden’ too, flushed crimson red As she repeated what she’d said And how her offers all had been Rejected with a curt and keen - “Excelsior” The ‘Monk’ was also called and swore, What he had told the Maire before And then he put the banner in And cried, amidst a general grin - “Excelsior” Then, with a would-be learned face The coroner summed up the case And left the jury to decide What ‘twas had killed the youth who cried - “Excelsior” The jury, being ‘dry and cold’ This verdict very quickly told “Deceased has brought his death about By using all his breath to shout - “Excelsior” And, further, as a rider brought “That every Alpine traveller ought To first of all secure a guide Before he e’en so much as cried - “Excelsior” The ‘Maiden’ and the good ‘Old Man’ Who tried to change the dead youth’s plan Were thanked, and told again to try Next time they heard an idiot cry - “Excelsior” There, in the darkness grim and cold The Maire the ‘pious father’ told The youth should be forthwith interred And o’er his grave be carved the word - “Excelsior” Then, as the snow came pelting down The Maire and ‘crowner’ sought the town And drank hot spirits, till the day Found them attempting still to say - “Es-sels-i-yah!”
The end