When Gilbert’s birthday came last spring,
Oh! How our brains were racked
To try to find a single thing
Our languid dear one lacked;
For, since he nestled at his ease
Upon the lap of Plenty,
Stock birthday presents failed to please
The Nut of two and twenty.
And so we bought to suit his taste –
Refined and dilettante –
Some ormolu, grotesquely chased;
A little bronze Baccante;
A flagon of the Stuart’s reign.
A ‘Corot’ to content him.
Well, now his birth’s come again,
And this is what we sent him...
Some candles and a bar of soap,
Cakes, peppermints and matches,
A pot of jam, some thread (like rope)
For stitching khaki patches.
These gifts our soldier writes to say,
Have brought him untold riches
To celebrate his natal day
In hard-won Flanders ditches.