Missing from L.M.H. kitchen — one blackhandled cook’s knife

From Venture, May 1949
A Cautionary Tale

Missing from L.M.H. kitchen — one blackhandled cook’s knife

I tell you this tale in an ominous wail
With a ghastly and horrible look:
I quake like a leaf as I mention in grief
The name of the blackhandled cook;
I met him one morn as he strolled down the Corn
I shrieked when I heard what he muttered —
‘Twas a hideous curse in regrettable verse
And these are the words that he uttered:
‘From College and Hall, here’s my curse on you all
By candle, by bell, and by book
If you trifle with life you shall die by my knife,
The knife of the blackhandled cook. (ho-ho! etc. ad lib.)

She was earnest and plain and incurably sane,
She worked day and night in the Bod;
Her clothes were a wreck, she did not wash her neck,
She denied the existence of God:
She pounced like a shark on the idlest remark,
Her handshake was limp as a cod —
I fled in dismay when she headed my way,
But that cook stood his ground in the quad . . .
She was slain, she was slain, let us roar the Refrain!
All unwilling this world she forsook
She had trifled with life and she died by that knife
The knife of the blackhandled cook. (ho-ho! etc. ad lib.)

He was pallid as wax and wore corduroy slacks,
His elegant curls were of jet;
His tastes were expensive, his manners offensive
He drank with a very fast set:
The Isis adored him, his tutor deplored him,
He was always in fashion and debt:
He strolled down the High with a glint in his eye —
It’s obvious now whom he met . . .
He was slain, he was slain, let us roar the refrain!
All unwilling this world he forsook,
He had trifled with life and he died by that knife
The knife of the blackhandled cook, (ho-ho! etc. ad lib)

I was rapt and intense, I had no common sense
I was highbrow, long-haired and Byronic;
My verse was ecstatic and melodramatic
My philosophy vaguely Platonic;
I addressed him one day in a courteous way
But discovered his prejudice chronic —
He chased me from Oriel to Martyrs’ Memorial . . .
(I thought that was slightly ironic!)
I was slain, I was slain, let us roar the refrain!
All unwilling this world I forsook:
I had trifled with life and I died by that knife
The knife of the blackhandled cook. (ho-ho! etc. ad lib)

All you that pass by with a sceptical eye
Remember our well deserved fate!
Beware of the cook with hs murderous look,
Avoid him before it’s too late!
As you fling on your gown and parade through the town
Beware, for he lieth in wait —
He has sworn by his handle, by bell, book and candle
A deep diabolical hate!
From College and Hall, there’s his curse on you all,
By candle, by bell, and by book!
If you trifle with life you shall die by his knife
The knife of the blackhandled cook (ho-ho!)
The knife of the blackhandled cook!

Marion G. Jones [May 1949]