Daily Chronicle, June 6, 1904

[A doctor has electrified the entire civilised world by stating that flannel underclothing is injurious to health.]

Full many a maxim, old and pat,
 I learned in childhood’s happy days;
They taught me not to tease the cat,
 To shrink from all “contrairy” ways,
And, if reluctant to be spanked,
 Not to assault my brother’s shin.
But first of all this precept ranked,
 “Always wear flannel next your skin.”

With praise of it my mind they fired;
 They dinned its merits into me,
Until it gradually acquired
 A sort of magic potency.
I grew to think the vilest knave
 A heavenly crown might hope to win,
Were it but written on his grave
 “This man wore flannel next his skin.”

In later years, I’m much afraid,
 Not recking subsequent remorse,
From Virtue’s narrow path I strayed:
 Once I put money on a horse,
And sometimes drained the festive cup;
 But still, however I might sin,
This thought would always buoy me up:
 “At least I’ve flannel next my skin.”

But now—how runs the fatal rede?—
 To don, they say, a flannel vest
Is very, very bad indeed;
 Cotton or silk is far the best.
But I’ll not change my ways, not I;
 I’m far too aged to begin.
If it should kill me—well, I’ll die
 Still wearing flannel next my skin.

P. G. W.