Ode to Professor Wadcroft

(Reproduced here as it appeared in the Algernon Clarion. Miss Davenport, may you be forgiven).

Not entirely flattering picture of Prof. Alan Wadcroft

Professor Wadcroft, bold adventurer

Our Bold Explorer

A brave explorer bold
Professor Wadcroft was his name
and when he went and when he came
there was rejoicing all the same
or so the stories told

One day when he was free
He said, “I’m bored of trivia.
To fill my bestiaria
The jungles out in Africa
are just the thing for me.”

He flew across the ocean.
His dirigible, white as snow
was seen by natives far below,
so that wherever he did go
he caused a great commotion.

He flew until he spied
a tribe of natives on the ground
who doubtlessly would know the sound
of beasts that never yet were found
by people pale of hide.

He set his airship down.
The natives didn’t bat an eye
“We are delivered!” was their cry
“The ground here is so bloody dry,
not even ants can drown”

“You are a god of power
though even in our pantheon,
there is no god with glasses on,
even a flying simpleton
can just turn on the shower.”

But Wadcroft’s heart was pure.
He knew exactly what to do.
He set a picnic with his crew,
then organised a barbecue,
with tennis to make sure.

But never did it rain.
On seeing he was not their god,
they stuck him in their cooking pot.
But Wadcroft said, “It’s far too hot.
I’ll have no truck with all this rot.”
And jumped right out again.

“I’m sorry,” Wadcroft said,
“I have done nothing for your clan.
But back in England, even then,
we do not eat our fellow man,
but rob him blind instead”

“But do not fear, I think,
our purposes may yet prevail
The butlers found a liquor sale
and packed a different kind of ale
Than what I’m wont to drink.”

They disembarked the barrel
And Wadcroft, as his heart was kind,
he drained the barrel pint for pint.
Because the natives, disinclined
to risk their tribesmen going blind,
Were loath to face this peril.

They flew up to the lake
where clear and bright the water ran
they filled the keg so full that then
the children, women, goats and men
their thirst with it could slake.

“You saved us, that is true,”
The natives said, “Your English kings
of whom our sacred story sings
gave us these most expensive things
And those we’ll give to you.”

When Wadcroft saw, he knew
that he was taken for an ass.
But there’s no use in being crass.
That does not suit the Upper Class
With mirrors and with beads of glass
to England back they flew.

(Illustration by Lindsey Batdorf)


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