“The Ballad of Tarro Myake” (1905)

The following poetic tribute to the skill of jiujitsuka Taro Miyake was first published in Punch Magazine of June 7, 1905.  Miyake’s name was frequently rendered as “Tarro Myake” by Edwardian journalists.

THE BALLAD OF TARRO MYAKE

(After Tennyson’s “Ballad of Oriana.”)

You challenged one and all to fight,
TARRO MYAKE ;
I took your challenge up one night,
TARRO MYAKE ;
They advertised it left and right,
Thousands appeared to see the sight,
TARRO MYAKE ;
My prospects were considered bright,
TARRO MYAKE.

A model I of manly grace,
TARRO MYAKE ;
Yours seemed a pretty hopeless case,
TARRO MYAKE.
Awhile we danced around the place,
Then closed and struggled for a space,
TARRO MYAKE,
And you were down upon your face,
TARRO MYAKE.

Oh, I would make you give me best,
TARRO MYAKE.
A thrill of pride inspired my breast,
TARRO MYAKE.
Then you were sitting on my chest,
Your knee into my gullet pressed,
TARRO MYAKE ;
Was this the way to treat a guest,
TARRO MYAKE?

You’ve got me by the neck, and oh,
TARRO MYAKE,
There is no rest for me below,
TARRO MYAKE.
You’re right upon my wind, you know ;
I’m suffocating fast, and so,
TARRO MYAKE,
You’ve beaten me; now let me go,
TARRO MYAKE.

O breaking neck that will not break
TARRO MYAKE,
O yellow face so calm and sleek,
TARRO MYAKE,
Thou smilest, but thou dost not speak;
I seem to have waited here a week,
TARRO MYAKE.
What wantest thou? What sign dost seek,
TARRO MYAKE?

What magic word your victim frees,
TARRO MYAKE?
What puts the captive at his ease,
TARRO MYAKE?
‘Touché,” “Enough,” or “If you please,’
I keep on trying you with these,
TARRO MYAKE ;
Alas! I have no Japanese,
TARRO MYAKE.

I am not feeling very well,
TARRO MYAKE.
(They should have stopped it when you fell,
TARRO MYAKE.)
Oh, how is it you cannot tell
I am not feeling very well,
TARRO MYAKE?
What is the Japanese for “H-l”
TARRO MYAKE?

The blood is rushing to my head,
TARRO MYAKE;
Think kindly of me when I’m dead,
TARRO MYAKE.
What was it that your trainer said –
“Pat twice upon the ground instead!”
TARRO MYAKE,
There . . there . . now help me into bed,
TARRO MYAKE.

Somewhere beside the Southern sea,
TARRO MYAKE,
I walk, I dare not think of thee,
TARRO MYAKE.
All other necks I leave to thee,
My own’s as stiff as stiff can be,
TARRO MYAKE;
My collar’s one by twenty-three,
TARRO MYAKE!

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on Reddit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *