Captain Bud

It is said that he is hypochondriac, and that at different times he supposes himself a flame of fire, a stone, an oyster, and a cray fish, and that he even sometimes believes himself to be a heatherbell apt to be blown away at every blast on the wind…

– From the chapter entitled “Character of Captain Bud,” by Charlotte Bronte, in “Tales from Angria.”


Here come the parson and his wife
To talk of current trends:
The weather, clothes, parchial strife,
Scandal, and sudden ends.
Am I to waste the best of life
In taking tea with friends?

They fear me when my mood is black,
My eyes suffused with blood.
They call me hypochondriac-
My name is Captain Bud.

I call my fellow, and desire
That he should make it known
That I am now a flame of fire,
A cray fish, or a stone.
I see my baffled friends retire,
And I am left alone.

I am an oyster; all I lack
Is solitude and mud.
I am hypochondriac-
My name is Captain Bud.

My servant knows my humour well.
Lurking, I hear him say,
“The Captain, sir, has tooka spell
Right bad on him today;
He thinks he is a heatherbell
Apt to be blown away.”

The carriages go rolling back,
Fleeing, as from a flood,
That happy hypochondriac,
That blissful Captain Bud.

-R. P. Lister THE NEW YORKER
MAY 9, 1959

Captain Bud

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