The Love Song of Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Marquess of Angelsey

by Paul Griffiths

for Rick Whitaker

I chant a Tyrrhenian elegy
I trace a pretty reptilian line
I inhale an illicit cigarette in the Nether Palatinate
I greet Raphael at an archangelic tea party
I gain a licentiate in italic calligraphy
I happily
I practice a late Elgar harp caprice
I appear at Nice in papal regalia
I enlace a panther in pale green crêpe
I linger in central Parthia in the rain
I happily
I partner Iphigenia in a tarantella
I create a lily anther pâté
I pray in Cretan at an ancient apple tree near Llanllyr
I happily
I place a calcite light in the principal pantry

I appreciate the gilt papyri in an Egyptian gallery
I happily
I hang a little Titian in the palace chapel
I happily
I happily
I happily

Note: The Oulipian beau présent honors someone by using only the letters in that person’s
name. Henry Cyril Paget (1875-1905) inherited his title at the age of twenty-three, together
with a colossal family fortune he spent not only on clothes, cars, and dogs but also on the
theatrical entertainments he presented at his Anglesey residence, always featuring his own
appearance in a spectacular costume crowded with jewels. A fellow countryman of more
modest means, Paul Griffiths writes on music and other things. His most recent book is a
novel, Mr. Beethoven.