John Dryden by Gary Brown


Poor poor Johnny Dryden
Thinks that English is too English –
Wishes it could be more Latin,
Than this horde that he’s combatting.
But he’s heading for a hiding
If he thinks our mongrel language
Is a synonym for Latin,
Somehow ripe for reformatting.

Poor poor Johnny Dryden
Hates those final prepositions –
Keep them out, just like in Latin,
Else we’ll really let the cat in.
Always ready for some chiding,
He polices our transmissions
Should we stray away from Latin
In our ungrammatic chatting.

Poor poor Johnny Dryden,
Hates infinitives to split –
After all, you can’t in Latin…
Oh, to truly scholar that in !
But the mobs are over-riding
All his careful rules to bits !
Ripping off their hairshirt Latin
For their English shifts of satin.

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