22 DECEMBER 1939, Page 14


RouNn about Athens in the strangest fashions Strolls the harridan of whom I speak ; Of American origin, she has long been foraging In Attic byways and has gone all Greek In a pseudo-classical, Boston, Mass-ical Quite fantastical kind of way, Looking art-and-crafty and slightly draughty In a homespun chlamys of a greeny-grey : Athenian loungers and touring strangers, I fear, all find her a figure of fun,

With her skin weatherbeaten and her bony feet in

Sandals, and her coiffure a filleted bun.

She crossed the ocean long ago with a notion Of expressing emotion in rhythmic poses And of living sparsely on bread and parsley, But the simple life was no bed of roses ; She'd plenty of dollars, but felt that scholars Alone could master classical Greek, The enclitic particle quite defeated her And declining the article left her weak ; Then one Papayannopoulos took her up the Acropolis And began to monopolise most of her time, He said he was a poet, and in order to show it This guileful Adonis addressed her in rhyme.

His favourite tense was the Present Erotic And he taught her the demotic speech of today, With his bold airs and graces he put her through her paces, They did things and went places—she was quite carried away: So, alas, was her fortune! To hear him importune Her for more drachmas melted her heart ; Each time re-enchanted she gave him what he wanted, So he feathered his nest and left her in the cart.

Deserted, this Aspasia, this threadbare Ophelia, Grew dowdier and crazier, a solitary freak, And in fancy dress she lingers with a locket in her fingers Containing a curl from that xenophile Greek.