THE ‘DAILY NEWS’
LINES ADDRESSED TO MARK LEMON
Dickens, like Silas Wegg, would sometimes ‘drop into poetry’ when writing to intimate friends, as, for example, in a letter to Maclise, the artist, which began with a parody of Byron’s lines to Thomas Moore—
‘My foot is in the house, My bath is on the sea, And, before I take a souse, Here’s a single note to thee.’
A more remarkable instance of his propensity to indulge in parody of this kind is to be found in a letter addressed to Mark Lemon in the spring of 1849. The novelist was then enjoying a holiday with his wife and daughters at Brighton, whence he wrote to Lemon (who had been ill), pressing him to pay them a visit. After commanding him to ‘get a clean pocket-handkerchief ready for the close of “Copperfield” No. 3—“simple and quiet, but very natural and touching”—Evening Bore,’ Dickens invites his friend in lines headed ‘New Song,’ and signed ‘T. Sparkler,’ the effusion also bearing the signatures of other members of the family party—Catherine Dickens, Annie Leech, Georgina Hogarth, Mary Dickens, Katie Dickens, and John Leech.
Tune—‘Lesbia hath a Beaming Eye’
I Lemon is a little hipped, And this is Lemon’s true position— He is not pale, he’s not white-lipped, Yet wants a little fresh condition. Sweeter ’tis to gaze upon Old Ocean’s rising, falling billers, Than on the Houses every one That form the street called Saint Anne’s Willers! Oh my Lemon, round and fat, Oh my bright, my right, my tight ’un, Think a little what you’re at— Don’t stay at home, but come to Brighton! II Lemon has a coat of frieze, But all so seldom Lemon wears it, That it is a prey to fleas, And ev’ry moth that’s hungry, tears it. Oh, that coat’s the coat for me, That braves the railway sparks and breezes, Leaving ev’ry engine free To smoke it, till its owner sneezes! Then my Lemon, round and fat, L., my bright, my right, my tight ’un, Think a little what you’re at— On Tuesday first, come down to Brighton!
THE ‘DAILY NEWS’