Friday, 11 December 2015

W. Heath Robinson – part 14

William Heath Robinson (1872 – 1944) was an English illustrator and cartoonist, best known for his drawings of complicated machines for achieving simple objectives. “Heath Robinson Contraption” is a phrase that entered the language during WW1 in Britain, and later in the United States.


William wrote and illustrated three highly successful children’s books (The Adventures of Uncle Lubin 1902, Bill the Minder 1912, Peter Quip in Search of a Friend 1933) as well as illustrating numerous others.

In the run up to WW1, Robinson became known for a series of drawings in magazines such as The Sketch and The Tatler, many of which I will be featuring in this comprehensive look at his work.


This is part 14 of a 20 – part series on the works of W. Heath Robinson


1915 The Water Babies:


COVER

TITLE PAGE

FRONTISPIECE

ON THEY WENT

TRUDGING ALONG WITH A BUNDLE AT HER BACK

UP JUMPED THE LITTLE WHITE LADY IN HER BED

THEN HE SAW LIZARDS

PLAY BY ME, BATHE IN ME, MOTHER AND CHILD

"WHAT ART THOU, AND WHAT DOST WANT?" CRIED THE OLD DAME

SHE HAD STEPPED DOWN INTO THE COOL CLEAR WATER

THEY MAY BE JUST WHAT MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND

SOMEBODY WOULD HAVE CAUGHT ONE AT LEAST

PEOPLE CALL THEM PTERODACTYLES

THERE ARE LAND-BABIES—THEN WHY ARE THERE NOT WATER-BABIES

TOM WAS QUITE ALIVE, AND CLEANER, AND MERRIER THAN HE EVER HAD BEEN

WHEN ALL THE WORLD IS YOUNG, LAD

AND EVERY LASS A QUEEN

AND JUMPED CLEAN OUT OF THE WATER

"QUICK, CHILDREN; HERE IS SOMETHING TO EAT, INDEED."

DOWN TO THE SEA, DOWN TO THE SEA

AND PERHAPS HE WOULD NEVER HAVE FOUND HIS WAY, IF THE FAIRIES HAD NOT GUIDED HIM

AND SAT UPON A LITTLE POINT OF ROCK

HE FELT AS STRONG, AND LIGHT, AND FRESH, AS IF HIS VEINS HAD RUN CHAMPAGNE

AND HE SWAM ON TO THE BUOY, AND GOT UPON IT

AND THE TERNS HOVERED OVER TOM

THEN THERE CAME IN A GREAT LAZY SUNFISH

AND A VERY DISTINGUISHED LOBSTER HE WAS

PROFESSOR PTTHMLLNSPRTS

THERE USED TO BE CHILDREN IN THE WATER

AND CRIED ALL DAY

SPEARING EELS AND SNEEZING

AND BECAME EVER AFTER A SADDER AND A WISER MAN

AND PLAYED LEAP-FROG WITH THE TOWN-CLERK

A REAL LIVE WATER-BABY SITTING ON THE WHITE SAND

THEY DID NOT WANT ANY INTRODUCTIONS THERE

THE WATER-BABIES COME INSHORE AFTER EVERY STORM

AND THE FISHES TOLD THE WATER-BABIES

BUT THE FAIRIES TOOK TO THE WATER-BABIES

THE OTHER CHILDREN WARNED HIM

AND TOM LOOKED UP INTO HER EYES

THOU LITTLE CHILD

"DEAR ME!" SAID THE LITTLE GIRL; "WHY, I KNOW YOU NOW."

ELLIE WAS QUITE SURPRISED AND SAD

HE WENT TO THE TOP OF THE WATER AND BEGAN CRYING AND SCREAMING

AND THEY SAT UNDER THE FLAPDOODLE TREES

"COME WANDER WITH ME,' SHE SAID."

SO HE ASKED THE BEASTS IN THE SEA

AND A VERY GRAND OLD LADY SHE WAS

AND THEY CAWED AND CAWED

AND TURNED INTO A WATER-DOG

THERE WOULD BE A NEW WATER-BABY ST. BRANDAN'S ISLE

BUT EPIMETHEUS WAS A VERY SLOW FELLOW

PANDORA

OLD MOTHER SHIPTON ON HER BROOMSTICK

YE ARE BETTER THAN ALL THE BALLADS

HE CAME TO THE GREAT SEA-SERPENT HIMSELF

HE FOUND GOTHAM, WHERE THE WISE MEN LIVE

HE HAD A GREAT PAIR OF SPECTACLES ON HIS NOSE

SO HE TOLD HIM PRETTILY ENOUGH, WHILE THE POOR TURNIP LISTENED VERY CAREFULLY

AND FAINTED RIGHT AWAY

HE SAW BEFORE HIM A HUGE BUILDING

SO SHE TIED THE BANDAGE ON HIS EYES

THE FIRST THING WHICH TOM SAW WAS THE BLACK CEDARS

I HAVE BEEN SITTING HERE WAITING FOR YOU MANY A HUNDRED YEARS

THE END

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