Daily Express, Tuesday, October 27, 1903

Poem 24

(Attribution uncertain)



  [It is reported from the Moscow Zoo that the elephant Marvrick has committed suicide at the ripe age of 115 years. He became morose and gloomy, refused all food, and finally starved himself to death. 1]


In the Moscow Zoo a rumour
Quickly spread from wolf to puma,
Causing even modest lions
To emit a dreadful roar,
For a Parrot fresh from London
Had declared they all were undone
Since in some surprising manner
Food would daily cost them more.”

Where the elephant was lunching,
Perched the bird and watched him munching,
While a sad commiseration
Was the look that Parrot wore;
Till at last he started yelling—
As the beast with buns was swelling,
Swelling in the plumpest manner—
Marvrick, food will cost you more.”

Facts defying, reason scorning,
Through the noon, the night, the morning,
Sat the wicked bird repeating
His suggestion o’er and o’er,
While poor Marvrick, growing thinner,
Dropt his breakfast, lunch, and dinner
In an economic terror,
Lest his food should cost him more.


And his sad extermination
Is a lesson to our nation
Of the folly of attending
To a troglodytish bore. 2
As the elephant diminished,
So will British trade be finished
If we listen to the Parrot
With his “Food will cost you more.”



The Washington Times carried a report about the sad fate of Marvrick the elephant in its issue of 23 November 1903.


This alludes to Chamberlain’s speech at Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 20 October, during which he said: “Really, if a man cannot see the difference between the state of things to-day and the state of things 30 years ago, or 60 years ago—well, it seems to me he ought not to call himself a Liberal or a Radical. He ought to call himself a Troglodyte and live in a cave.”