To Thomas


Vanity Fair (UK), August 11, 1904

(According to experts, buns are at the bottom of half the physical degeneracy of the modern Briton.)

MISGUIDED infant, stay your hand:
 Considering what you’re chewing;
I see you do not understand
   The fearful deed you’re doing,
And how you’re crushing (so to speak)
Your young and innocent physique.

Attend to me while I expound
   A lecture, of alarm full;
It seems that medicos have found
   That buns are very harmful.
They sap the mind and stunt the growth—
One or the other, maybe both.

If at the age of ten a lad
   Upon this fell comestible
(Which, Thomas, I need scarcely add,
   Is highly indigestible)
Elects without restraint to feed,
At twenty he’s a perfect weed.

His legs and arms are weak and thin,
   His frame is poor and meagre,
No muscle lurks beneath his skin,
   He looks like Wee MacGreegor:
At twenty-five his hearse is seen
Bowling along towards Kensal Green.

But he who hates such foolish ways,
   And does not spend his youth in ’em,
Who never mentions buns with praise,
   And never sets a tooth in ’em,
Acquires ere long, as you may guess,
A sort of Johnny Trundleyness.

His form increases day by day
   In strength and grace and prettiness:
His biceps soon exhibit a
And long before he’s left his teens
He’s breaking Try-Your-Weight machines.

So take, I beg you, while you can,
   To other forms of diet:
Live on a nobler, simpler plan;
   It’s not too late to try it.
Reform at once, and I’ll engage
You’ll reach a hearty, green old age.

If ginger-beer is to your mind,
   Promote its crisp and jolly pop;
Chew chocolate if you’re inclined,
   And suck the nimble lollipop:
But oh! reject, abjure, and shun
The deadly and insidious bun.

P. G. Wodehouse.