XVIII

 

  1. And of Kublai:

  2. "I have told you of that emperor's city in detail

  3. And will tell you of the coining in Cambaluc

  4.               that hyght the secret of alchemy :

  5. They take bast of the mulberry-tree,

  6. That is a skin between the wood and the bark,

  7. And of this they make paper and mark it

  8. Half a tornesel, a tornesel, or a half-groat of silver,

  9. Or two groats, or five groats, or ten groats,

  10. Or, for a great sheet, a gold bezant, 3 bezants,

  11.                             ten bezants;

  12. And they are written on by officials,

  13. And smeared with the great khan’s seal in vermillion;

  14. And the forgers are punished with death.

  15. And all this costs the Khan nothing,

  16. And so he is rich in this world.

  17. And his postmen go sewed up and sealed up,

  18. Their coats buttoned behind and then sealed,

  19. In this way from the voyage’s one end to its other.

  20. And the Indian merchants arriving

  21. Must give up their jewels, and take this money

  22.                  in paper,

  23. (That trade runs, in bezants, to 400,000 the year.)

  24. And the nobles must buy their pearls”

  25. —thus Messire Polo; prison at Genoa—

  26. “Of the Emperor.”

  27.                There was a boy in Constantinople,

  28. And some britisher kicked his arse.

  29. I hate these French,” said Napoleon, aged 12,

  30. To young Bourrienne, “I will do them all the harm

  31.                            that I can.”

  32. In like manner Zenos Metevsky.

  33. And old Biers was out there, a greenhorn,

  34. To sell cannon, and Metevsky found the back door;

  35. And old Biers sold the munitions,

  36. And Metevsky died and was buried, i. e. officially,

  37. And sat I the Yeiner Kafé watching the funeral.

  38. About ten years after this incident,

  39. He owned a fair chunk of Humbers.

  40.                  “Peace! Pieyce!!” said Mr. Giddings,

  41. “Uni-ver-sal? Not while yew got tew billions ov money,”

  42. Said Mr. Giddings, “invested in the man-u-facture

  43. “Of war machinery. Haow I sold it to Russia—

  44. “Well we tuk ‘em a new torpedo-boat,

  45. “And it was all electric, run it all from a

  46. “Little bit uv a keyboard, about like the size ov

  47. “A typewriter, and the prince come aboard,

  48. “An’ we sez wud yew like to run her?

  49. “And he run damn slam on the breakwater,

  50. “And bust off all her front end,

  51. “And he was my gawd scared out of his panties.

  52. “Who wuz agoin’ tew pay fer the damage?

  53. “And it was my first trip out fer the company,

  54. “And I sez, yer highness, it is nothing,

  55. “We will give yew a brand new one. And, my Christ!

  56. “The company backed me, and did we get a few orders?”

  57. So La Marquesa de las Zojas y Hurbara

  58. Used to drive up to Sir Zenos’s place

  59. in the Champs Elysées

  60. And preside at his dinners, and at las once

  61. She drove away from the front door, with her footmen

  62. And her coachmen in livery, and drove four blocks round

  63. To the back door, and her husband was the son of a bitch,

  64. And Metevsky, “the well-known philanthropist,”

  65. Or “the well-known financier, better known,”

  66. As the press said, “as a philanthropist,”

  67. Gave—as the Este to Louis Eleventh

  68.  A fine pair of giraffes to the nation,

  69. And endowed a chair of ballistics,

  70. And was consulted before the offensives.



  71. And Mr. Oige was very choleric in a first-class

  72. From Nice to Paris, he said: “Danger!

  73. “Now a sailor’s life is a life of danger,

  74. “But  a mine, why every stick of it is numbered,

  75. “And one time we missed one, and there was

  76. “Three hundred men killed in the ‘splosion.”

  77. He was annoyed with the strikers, having started himself

  78. As engineer and worked up, and losing,

  79. By that coal strike, some months after the paragraph:



  80. : Sir Zenos Metevsky has been elected President

  81. Of the Gethsemane Trebizond Petrol.

  82. And then there came out another: 80 locomotives

  83. On the Manchester Cardiff have been fitted with

  84. New oil-burning apparatus

  85. Large stocks of the heavier varieties of which (i. e. oil)

  86. Are now on hand in the country.



  87. So I said to the old quaker Hamish,

  88. I said:   “I am interested.”   And he went putty colour

  89. And said: “He don’t advertise.   No, I don’t think

  90. You will learn much.”   That was when I asked

  91. About Metevsky Melchizedek.

  92. He, Hamish, took the tractors up to

  93. King Menelik, 3 rivers and 140 ravines.



  94. “Q’est-ce qu’on pense…?” I said:  “On don’t pense.

  95. “They’re solid bone. You can amputate from just above

  96. The medulla, and it won’t alter the life in that island.”

  97. But he continued, “ Mais, qu’EST-CE qu’ON pense,

  98. “De la metallurgie, en Angleterre, qu’est-ce qu’on

  99. “Pense de Metevsky?

  100. And I said: “They ain’t heard his name yet.

  101. “Go ask at MacGorvish’s bank.”



  102. The Jap observers were much amused because

  103. The Turkish freemasons hadn’t bothered to

  104. Take the….. regimental badges off their artillery.

  105. And old Hamish: Menelik

  106. Had a hunch that machinery…and so on…

  107. But he never could get it to work,

  108.                  never could get any power.

  109. The Germans wd. send him up boilers, but they’d

  110. Have to cut ‘em into pieces to load ‘em on camels,

  111. And they never got ‘em together again.

  112. And so old Hamish went out there,

  113. And looked at the place, 3 rivers

  114. And a hundred and forty ravines,

  115. And he sent out two tractors, one to pull the other

  116. And Menelik sent down an army, a 5,000 black army

  117. With hawsers, and they all sweated and swatted.



  118. And the first thing Dave lit on when they got there

  119. Was a buzz-saw,

  120. And he put it through an ebony log: whhsssh, t ttt,

  121. Two days’ work in three minutes.



  122. War, one war after another,

  123. Men start ‘em who couldn’t put up a good hen-roost.



  124.  Also, sabotage