It is an ancient marinade, Reader,

to soothe my fever’d brow –

mustard and cress in waters briny

smoothed on my brow by dear, dear Shiny –


So said my feverish thoughts, dear Reader,

as the sweating aches took hold.

I crept downstairs, past lecture halls,

to Lu-Seal’s lair, all dank and cold –


‘God save thee, ancient Dr A!

from the fiends that plague thee thus!’ –

she quailed on bended knee

‘Stick this up your blunderbuss!’


Poultice applied, with glass in hand

I walked, past lodge and piggery –

Then on again, to door IB* –

(I paused, and felt all shivery)


Dear Reader! The glass I placed against the door –

My ear to glass, and listened

And soon I heard a hearty roar

And laughter all around


It was my first-year class, my dears,

Aflame with the joy of learning

As Žałty taught them runic tropes

Through the medium of mime and gurning


The doors flew wide beneath my grasp,

The students gasped, struck dumb –

And with heavy thump, a lifeless lump,

They dropped down one by one.


Žałty alone stood frozen still

‘Dear Bob, you’ve been remiss’

I said: ‘think not to outshine me

On this year’s NSS.’**


‘Hold off! Unhand me, grey-beard loon!’

wailed Žałty, forgetful of his place.***

My skinny hand held fast –

I dragged him to my room


where I fixed him with my glittering eye,

then put it in its socket.

‘You see that crossbow!’ I said to him

‘It belonged to Davy Crockett


‘Poor Davy C, poor Jenny H,

Poor Mo-Mo, hanging thus!

I shot them all, with my cross-bow

(even the ALBATROSS).


‘Now go,’ I said, ‘and remember well

At your forthcoming review –

The students love me best of all,

They never shall love you.’


He went like one that hath been stunned,

And is of sense forlorn:

A sadder and a wiser man,

He rose the morrow morn.



** The Sir Basil Lovage Lecture Hall

* newly appointed Junior Lecturer (temporary, part-time)

*** National Student Survey


4 thoughts on “The Rime of Žałty, or, Training One’s Staff Correctly

  1. There once was a salty named Bob,
    Who thought to seduce the rune mob.
    He hoodwinked the boss
    Who felt rather cross
    ‘Til she smacked his impudent gob.

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