Royal Magazine, April 1903

Joan, with an air of settled gloom
  Upon my mobile face,
I eye you dancing round the room,
  A miracle of grace.
I note your partner smile with glee
  While whirling you about.
Alas! such joys are not for me,
  For I’m a sitter-out. 

I might have learned in days gone by
  The waltz its graceful swing,
Had I consented but to try.
  But did I?  No such thing.
Extraneous aid, though kindly lent,
  Consistently I’d flout.
And mark the dreadful punishment,
  I’m now a sitter-out.


The scales have fallen from my eyes,
  I see the vivid truth;
Fully at last I realise
  The folly of my youth.
I might have learned when young and slim,
  And now I’m old and stout,
I’m only fit in wind and limb
  To be a sitter-out.

To watch my fellow-men and feel
  That they’re enjoying life
Should be enough the wound to heal,
  And blunt Remorse’s knife.
I ought to be content, I know;
  I should be soothed, no doubt;
But still at times one finds it slow
  To be a sitter-out. 


Oh, spare, I beg, a single glance,
  Devotion’s only fee;
Eschew for once the mazy dance,
  And come and talk to me.
Ah, shun me not; turn not away
  With irritated pout,
But comfort for a space, I pray,
  A luckless sitter-out.


Whatever subject’s to your mind
  I’ll probe it with a will;
Yea, even, if you feel inclined,
  Talk Education Bill.
I’ll range from China to Peru,
  I’ll skim from golf to gout;
My brain shall be ransacked for you
  When we are sitting-out. 



Published unsigned in magazine; Wodehouse entered this item in Money Received for Literary Work.