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The Database of Ornament

                               ALONG the path that skirts the wood,
                                      The three musicians wend their way,
                               Pleased with their thoughts, each other’s mood,
                                  Franz Himmel’s latest roundelay,
The morning’s work, a new-found theme, their breakfast and the summer day.

                               One’s a soprano, lightly frocked
                                      In cool, white muslin that just shows
                               Her brown silk stockings gaily clocked,
                                  Plump arms and elbows tipped with rose,
And frills of petticoats and things, and outlines as the warm wind blows.

                               Beside her a slim, gracious boy
                                      Hastens to mend her tresses’ fall,
                               And dies her favour to enjoy,
                                  And dies for réclame and recall
At Paris and St. Petersburg, Vienna and St. James’s Hall.

                               The third’s a Polish Pianist
                                      With big engagements everywhere,
                               A light heart and an iron wrist,
                                  And shocks and shoals of yellow hair,
And fingers that can trill on sixths and fill beginners with despair.

                               The three musicians stroll along
                                      And pluck the ears of ripened corn,
                                Break into odds and ends of song,
                                  And mock the woods with Siegfried’s horn,
And fill the air with Gluck, and fill the tweeded tourist’s soul with scorn.

                               The Polish genius lags behind,
                                      And, with some poppies in his hand,
                               Picks out the strings and wood and wind
                                  Of an imaginary band,
Enchanted that for once his men obey his beat and understand.

66                              THE SAVOY

                               The charming cantatrice reclines
                                      And rests a moment where she sees
                               Her château’s roof that hotly shines
                                  Amid the dusky summer trees,
And fans herself, half shuts her eyes, and smoothes the frock about her knees.

                               The gracious boy is at her feet,
                                      And weighs his courage with his chance;
                               His fears soon melt in noonday heat.
                                  The tourist gives a furious glance,
Red as his guide-book grows, moves on, and offers up a prayer for France.

                                                                                   Aubrey Beardsley.

MLA citation:

Beardsley, Aubrey. “The Three Musicians.” The Savoy, vol. 1, January 1896, pp. 65-66. Savoy Digital Edition, edited by Christopher Keep and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2018-2020. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019.