The Ravenous Bull and the Bicycle
Wheeling Annual 1885
My name is William Rory, and I’m going to tell a story,
Tell the story of an accident I’ve never told before.
How when coming home from Dover I felt myself in clover,
And I will say, moreover, that my feet were rather sore;
The landlord said, “You’ll rue it.” But I said, “I mean to do it.”
But I’ll do it nevermore.
And right well do I remember, ’twas early in September,
When that landlord said, “I’d rue it,” as he stood against the door,
When my feet were sore with walking for that day I had been stalking
Up and down the streets of Dover, where I’d never been before,
And I squinted at that landlord, and his warning did ignore.
But I’ll do it nevermore.
So says I, “You’re only joking, and at me it’s fun you’re poking.”
But the landlord looked quite solemn, and spat upon the floor.
And says he, “You must be silly to attempt a road so hilly.
And see the time for starting, why it’s just now striking four!
Pray, sir, now do not do it, but stay over, I implore.”
This he oft had said before.
But then he looked more willing, as I threw to him a shilling
To drink my health in whisky, as oft I’d done before.
And then I took my spanner, and all the bolts did hammer,
And tightened up the nuts, an operation I abhor,
Then I jumped into my saddle, shouting to him “au revoir.”
Only this, and nothing more.
And as I felt aweary, the road to me seemed dreary
Drearier than ever it had seemed to me before,
But I was weary’s master, and round the wheel went faster,
And like a wingèd demon, along the road I tore,
In an hour and three-quarters I had done of miles a score.
This I’d done, and nothing more.
And every minute faster, dreaming of no disaster,
Along the road, ’mid dust and stones, my bike her master bore.
While I my way was winging, I betook myself to singing,
When all my nerves were palsied by a distant sullen roar;
And that roaring stopped my singing, and thinks I it is a boar.
This I thought, and something more.
Just then a corner turning, my blood went through me burning,
For there in front, with fiery eyes, a bull straight for me tore.
A moment he stood eyeing, then bike and me sent flying,
The perspiration trickled down my skin from every pore,
And I rather think that in my flight I must have somehow swore.
Merely swore, and nothing more.
After such a fearful riot, I laid there on the quiet,
For he treated me so lively, and I wished the joke was o’er.
He had pitched me in a gutter, and my nerves were in a flutter,
And into a thousand pieces my new uniform he tore,
And says I he must be waiting for a taste of human gore.
This I said, and nothing more.
While in the gutter lying, I saw that bull go flying
Along the road, at such a speed he’d never gone before.
So I let him go and curs’d him, and prayed the fates might burst him,
For my bicycle he’d humbugged, and he’d made me “awful” sore,
And I felt he’d quite undone me, but he’d never do so more.
And I muttered nevermore.
I collected up the ruins of that nasty mad bull’s doin’s,
And straightway did I take them unto my cottage-door.
And my wife, when she espied me, said I wasn’t looking tidy,
And I told the awful story to the wife whom I adore,
And she said, “My dear, stop riding; do give up for evermore.”
And I have, for evermore.
Return to the Quaint and Curious index for more pastiches and parodies of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”.