The Umpire

I’m monarch of all I survey
There isn’t a ruler to-day,
Not a Sultan or Tsar
Of a country afar
Who can boast of a similar sway.
There’s always a something that checks them
No matter how great they may be.
They’ve got armies and such,
But their power’s not much
If you only compare ‘em with me.

For I’m the infallible umpire,
The strict, indispensable umpire,
And you’ve got to abide
By what I decide;
It isn’t a matter for doubt.
If you’re peer or you’re peasant,
You’ve got to look pleasant
And go when I tell you you’re out!
How’s that? Run along, sir, you’re out.

The swell from the swaggerest club,
The “rabbit,” who’s there as a sub.,
The veteran grey
(Who was good in his day),
The wholly incompetent cub,
The man who thinks cricket a business,
And the fellow who thinks it a spree,
I handle the lot,
And I show ‘em what’s what;
They all knuckle under to me.

For I’m the inflexible umpire,
The stern, incorruptible umpire;
I add to the woes
Of the bowler who throws,
When “No ball !“ I incessantly shout.
And batsmen pursue me
With looks that are gloomy,
When I beg to inform ‘em they’re out.
How’s that? Run along, sir, you’re out.

There once was a time when I played;
But those days won’t return, I’m afraid,
For alas, I must own
That I reached eighteen stone
And a quarter when last I was weighed.
I was once good at saving the single,
My limbs were so lissom and free,
But when bulkiness came
I abandoned the game
As a little too active for me.

And now I am simply the umpire,
The massive and dignified umpire,
My eyes are as keen
As they ever have been,
For your sight doesn’t fail though you’re stout.
If you’re leg before wicket,
Or caught when you snick it,
I see it, and tell you you’re out.
How’s that? Off you go, sir, you’re out !

P.G.Wodehouse (yes, again)


The sun in the heavens was beaming,
The breeze bore an odour of hay,
My flannels were spotless and gleaming,
My heart was unclouded and gay;
The ladies, all gaily apparelled,
Sat round looking on at the match,
In the tree-tops the dicky-birds carolled,
All was peace — till I bungled that catch.

My attention the magic of summer
Had lured from the game — which was wrong.
The bee (that inveterate hummer)
Was droning its favourite song.
I was tenderly dreaming of Clara
(On her not a girl is a patch),
When, ah, horror! there soared through the air a
Decidedly possible catch.

I heard in a stupor the bowler
Emit a self-satisfied ‘Ah!’
The small boys who sat on the roller
Set up an expectant ‘Hurrah!’
The batsman with grief from the wicket
Himself had begun to detach —
And I uttered a groan and turned sick. It
Was over. I’d buttered the catch.

O, ne’er, if I live to a million,
Shall I feel such a terrible pang.
From the seats on the far-off pavilion
A loud yell of ecstasy rang.
By the handful my hair (which is auburn)
I tore with a wrench from my thatch,
And my heart was seared deep with a raw burn
At the thought that I’d foozled that catch.

Ah, the bowler’s low, querulous mutter
Points loud, unforgettable scoff!
Oh, give me my driver and putter!
Henceforward my game shall be golf.
If I’m asked to play cricket hereafter,
I am wholly determined to scratch.
Life’s void of all pleasure and laughter;
I bungled the easiest catch.

Pelham Grenville Wodehouse