Using ABBYY FineReader software, I have transcribed the following poem from the online version of the 1883 Fun available from the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. — George P. Landow

[Mr. Whistler, President of the Royal Society of British Artists, lately moved a resolution to the effect that “This Society having been recognized and constituted by the Personal Act and Will of Her Most Gracious Majesty, it is obviously unbecoming and improper that any person being, or desiring to become a member of this Royal Society, should affiliate hinself, or remain affiliated with any other association of Artists,” &c, &c.)]

Behold ’twas the Whistler-Chief
      Of the mighty R. S. B. A.;
Who, to give his great mind relief,
      Made a fiat the other day.
      “Take note,” said this pow’r of pow’rs.
      With a suddenly loyal mien;
      “That to join any Artists save Ours,
      Will be to insult Our Queen!

“By the Personal Act and Will,
      Hath Her Gracious Majesty made
The Society we now fill;
      Then let homage to Her be paid.
Unbecoming, indeed, ’twould be,
      Nay, improper, to boot, I ween;
To join other bodies, for we
      Would thereby insult Our Queen!”

Then the Whistler up and moved,
      That if against any B. A.
Other membership should be proved
      He must bid these B. A.s good day.
Thus the White-Tufted W. spake,
      With a sort of a High-Priest’s mien;
Lest the British Artists should shake
      In their worship of England's Queen!

And FUN, chappie, would you believe
      That certain bold bad B. A.s
At the Whistler smole in their sleeve;
      Yea, yelled at the Yankee’s craze.
And when I say yelled, please note
      That with laughter they yelled, I mean—
That the Nocturnal one should devote
      Such gush to our Gracious Queen!

Now, what does all this portend?
      What is J. Me. N. W.’s fake?
Is a knighthood or something his end,
      That to loyalty he doth awake?
His colours are often strange,
      But his general hue’s not green;
Then why this Whistlerian change,
      And this slaver of England’s Queen?


“A Whistlerian Warble.” Fun. (16 November 1883): 210. Courtesy of the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. Web. 27 April 2016.

Last modified 16 January 2012