Drift: Verses (1900) – Horatio Brown

I’ve decided to share with you today a small poem from Horatio Brown’s extremely uncommon anthology “Drift: Verses” which made a limited appearance in 1900. It was suppressed before publication due to its homoerotic nature. Brown spent most of his adult life in Venice, a dedicated aficionado of Italian history and young gondoliers.


[At a London Music]

Two rows of foolish faces blent

In two blurred lines; the compliment,

The formal smile, the cultured air,

The sense of falseness everywhere.

Her ladyship superbly dresses –

I like their footman, John, the best.


The tired musicians’ ruffled mien,

Their whispered talk behind the screen,

The frigid plaudits, quite confined

By fear of being unrefined.

His lordship’s grave and courtly jest –

I like their footman, John, the best.


Remote I sat with shaded eyes,

Supreme attention in my guise,

And heard the whole laborious din,

Piano, ‘cello, violin;

And so, perhaps, they hardly guessed

I liked their footman, John, the best.

Author: Descartes Baker

Graduate in English with Creative Writing. Loves Victorian literature, poetry, watching the clouds go by, travelling, numismatics, and reading long forgotten and obscure novels.

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