Miles Kington: This tall, handsome stranger's a lord of the fells

Today, thanks to an anonymous well-wisher, I am able to bring you the second half of "The Ballad of Lord Bragg of Cumbria"...
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The Independent Online

By one of those odd

Geographical mistakes

The high point of England

Is known as The Lakes.

* * *

Yes, it's called the Lake District

(An uninspired name)

But the Peak Place is what

It should be, all the same.

* * *

The Scots have their Highlands

While the Mountains of Mourne

Are bagged by the Irish

In old County Down,

* * *

But the top points of England

Are known as the Lakes!

(With the Peaks down in Derbyshire,

For heaven's sakes!)

Never mind. No matter.

It won't hurt our tale,

Which takes place last summer

In an unpleasant gale

* * *

Which swept through the hills

(Though the forecast said sun)

And caused inconvenience

To everyone

* * *

Especially a climber

Whom we shall call John

Who was caught in the open

With summer gear on.

* * *

"Oh, Coleridge! Oh, Wordsworth!"

Swore John as he froze,

And felt all the feeling

Depart from his toes.

* * *

"Those poets, though dreamers,

Were tougher than me.

I wish that I knew

What their secret could be!

If only some bard

Of our modern day

Could come round the corner

And take me away!"

* * *

At that very moment

– 'Twas a marvel to see –

A man dressed in hill gear

Came along down the scree

* * *

And said: "Hello, climber!

Now, tell me, good sir,

Are you in some trouble

Or do I err?"

* * *

"No, trouble," said John,

"Is just what I'm in!

I'm freezing to death

'Cos my clothes are too thin!"

* * *

"Then I'll get you to safety,"

Said the tall handsome stranger,

And into some warmth

From out of this danger..."

"God bless you!" said John.

"And who may you be?"

"I'm Lord Bragg of Cumbria

Also NW3."

* * *

Lord Bragg of Cumbria,

The great polymath?

Equally at home

In history and math?

* * *

Lord Bragg of Cumbria,

The cosmopolite?

Fell guide by day,

Arty farty at night?

* * *

Lord Bragg of Cumbria?

John sank to his knees!

And then from behind

Some nearby trees

* * *

Came two more smart people.

"I'd like you to meet,"

Said Lord Bragg of Cumbria

"Messrs Jones and Street,

Professors of history

Of what makes man climb,

Which is the subject

Of today's In Our Time!"

* * *

So tell me, Jones,

In brief, if you can,

When the impulse to climb

Was first seen in man?"

* * *

"Well, we know from remains

Of the First Stone Age

That men climbed up mountains

At a quite early stage..."

* * *

"But when did we first feel

That using our feet

To climb up a mountain

Was holy? Street?"

* * *

So the trio droned onwards,

While John, cold and tired,

Grew quickly unconscious,

Then, as quickly, expired.

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