Marlowe in Abadan

Another humorous piece from the papers of  'EVOE' i.e. Punch editor E.V. Knox. A Kit Marlowe parody…


 "Our methods of dealing with Persia have scarcely been those of Tamburlaine the Great," I wrote; and then (remembering a recent dramatic performance) I thought "How very strange if they had been." Something, I suppose, after this sort.

Enter, from underground holes, MR. MOUSSADEK and the BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY, with great voluted swords.

Albert Decaris - Tamburlaine
the Great (LEC 1965)
 Presumptuous bassa, whose begrimed brow
 Is all unworthy to salute the dust
 That bears the mighty boots of Morrison,*
 Down on thy knees and make immediate truce
 Ere I shall hew thy carcase into shreds
 And post it piecemeal through the entire globe
 Till trembling Tartars of the furthest East
 And all the Kurds' contributory kings
 Shall murmur as they ope the packages
 This was the deed of Mighty Morrison.
 Let but the whelps of thy infernal brood
 Sniff with vile snout at our Refineries,
 They shall be hung in chains as high as heaven
 And torn with vultures and be tossed on spears
 And riddled with the arrows of our rage,
 Till high Apollo glancing through the holes
 Shall fleck the pavement with his burning beams;
 And on the battlements of Abadan
 Their horrid relics housed in clanking chains
 Make hideous music to affright the moon
 Because they dared to flout great Morrison.

* At that time representing the U.K.

MR. MOUSSADEK (quite unmoved).
 Intemperate minion of the outer seas,
 Now by the Book of Alcoran I swear
 That voice that sometime ruled the County Hall
 And raised the roofs of roaring Westminster
 Shall not avail against proud Moussadek
 For whom each drop of his Iranian oil
 Is precious as the golden ambergris
 That comes on elephants from Samarkand;
 Nor all your mangonels and arbalests
 Mounted on dromonds served by cataphracts
 Shall wrest this ointment from his sovran hand.

THE B.F.S. (now really annoyed).
 How now, base Gorgon! Infidel and slave!
 And heedless of my first communiqué,
 Shalt thou not flinch before the lifted blade
 That shakes the Lord of Egypt in his shoon
 And conjures tribute of ten thousand beeves
 Forth from the pampas of the Argentine?
 Sooner than lose these noble essences,
 The outcome of our distillation,
 I'll have thee clapped into an iron cage
 I'll have thee driven in a donkey cart
 About the Pleasures Grounds of Battersea,
 Beaten with whips of wire, nay more - nay more,
 I'll set a matchstick unto Asia
 And sere the midriff of the world with flames,
 And put thee like a painted popinjay,
 With limbs a-dangle form the drunkard's throne
 For hell to mock at and the gods to scorn,
 Upon the pyre that was Persepolis.

(Does so.)

 A great many objections may be urged against the old diplomacy thus indicated; but one cannot deny that it was spectacular.

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