WIFE: (reading, with a wicked grin):
‘When I consider men of golden talents,
I’m delighted, in my introverted way,
To discover, as I’m drawing up the balance,
How much we have in common, I and they.
‘Like Burns, I have a weakness for the bottle,
Like Shakespeare, little Latin and less Greek;
I bite my fingernails like Aristotle;
Like Thackeray, I have a snobbish streak.
‘I’m afflicted with the vanity of Byron,
I’ve inherited the spitefulness of Pope;
Like Petrarch, I’m a sucker for a siren,
Like Milton, I’ve a tendency to mope.
‘My spelling is suggestive of a Chaucer;
Like Johnson, well, I do not wish to die
(I also drink my coffee from the saucer);
And if Goldsmith was a parrot, so am I.
‘Like Villon, I have debits by the carload,
Like Swinburne, I’m afraid I need a nurse;
By my dicing is Christopher out-Marlowed,
And I dream as much as Coleridge, only worse.
‘In comparison with men of golden talents,
I am all a man of talent ought to be;
I resemble every genius in his vice, however heinous—
Yet I write so much like me.’
SELF: Yes, yes, yes, oh, all right, yes to that too. Maybe, definitely not, no, that’s totally unfair… A nurse? What kind of nurse? I don’t dice. I do dream sometimes, but not for that reason. And no, I don’t write like Ogden.
I only wish I could.