Writing Greenwood Tree – and more

And now for something completely silly . . .

“Birds have the greatest variety of notes; they have indeed a variety, which seems almost sufficient to make a speech adequate to the purposes of a life which is regulated by instinct, and can admit little change or improvement. To the cries of birds, curiosity or superstition has always been attentive; many have studied the language of the feathered tribes, and some have boasted that they understood it.”

Dr Johnson

Lady MuchRuffles: Wherefore do those birds twitter ? (Apologies to Mr Zoffany)

Lady MuchRuffles: Wherefore do those birds twitter ?

Mr FortlyBreeches : Why, for the pleasure of mankind, that we may hear their song!

Lady MuchRuffles : What sort of song is that then ?

Dr Belch : Why, ‘tis a great nattering of beaks, an explosion of feathers, a great flapping of wings, a snort of snuff, a great sneeze, – not worth the air it besprinkles!

Mr FortlyBreeches: I believe from those who study these things that the tweeting offers much in the way of enlightenment…

Dr Belch : Enlightenment, pah ! It is all so many tiny chirpings, a mighty blast of hot air from so many throats –

Mr FortlyBreeches : But if you were to address them, sir – you could tell them all so in one line – of no more than 140 characters however –

DR Belch : I fear a mere 140 characters would not suffice to tell them what I think of their noise.

Mr FortlyBreeches : Why, sir, I am certain if your put your head to it, you would surely discover a way –

Dr Belch : Have at them then ! (takes a bird and shakes it, but it continues to tweet) You see ? Sans shock, sans sense, sans anything – they tweet on regardless !

Mr FortlyBreeches : Allow me, then dear sir : (proceeds to tweet – immediately the birds begin to listen)

Lady MuchRuffles: Goodness, how did you manage that, dear sir ?

Dr Belch : How, indeed ? Is this trickery ?

(All the birds fly to Mr FortlyBreeches and follow him)

Mr FortlyBreeches : No trickery at all, Dr Belch – I merely told them something they wished to hear . . .

Lady MuchRuffles : Oh Mr FortlyBreeches, I beg that you will teach me how – I am most taken with all these feathered followers !

Mr FortlyBreeches : With pleasure, ma’am.

Dr Belch : Bless me, that would be a trick worth knowing – teach me as well !

(Mr FortlyBreeches and Lady MuchRuffles walk off, arm in arm, followed by birds and at a distance, Dr Belch, all singing ) :

“So, we’ll go now for a-tweeting

So late into the night,

Though our brains be not as thinking

Nor our words be quite as bright

For fluff  out-strips good sense

With its value much in doubt;

The aether surely grows  dense

With all that stuff  about

So the night was made for tweeting,

And the day returns too soon

Yes, we’ll do some  more a-tweeting

By the light of the moon

( . .  And apologies to Lord Byron too. Sleep easy. This idle chatter shall not disturb thee, I think . . )

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5 responses

  1. And that’s one of my favourite poems, but no aether can be as dense as the stuff hovering over my computer.

    March 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm

  2. Reading this through again and enjoying the language reminds me (as if I’d forget) that I live near to the village where Congreve was born.

    May 6, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    • Grand ! 🙂 Will you honour us with a post about Congreve, perhaps ? 😉

      May 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      • Oh, God, now i’ll have to read up about him.

        May 7, 2012 at 9:40 am

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