I’ve got a fever, please hold the hay

That time of year thou may’st in me behold
When handkerchiefs, and tissues too, do hang
Upon this nose that drools, producing coughs,
Harsh hacking coughs, where late my sweet voice sang.

Okay, “sweet voice” is a lie. When I sing, I sound like a cross between Bob Dylan and a constipated frog.

My point is, it’s allergy time, and as I cough and sniff and swallow Cetirizine, I wonder why people in literature never seem to suffer from hay fever. Not even the characters in Hay Fever. Is it too late to sue Noel Coward for false advertising?

I wonder if writers have tried to work allergies into their plays and scripts and novels, but not succeeded. Consider …

romeo & juliet, act iii, scene 5

ROMEO
Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or … AH-CHOO!

He's allergic to the ivy
JULIET
Do not discard your mucous ’pon my night-dress!
Pray, use your tunic, already much besmirched.
Is this affliction seasonal? ’tis not convenient
In a lover, yet, I forgive you.

ROMEO
Let my nose run, let my eyes swell and close,
I am content, so thou wilt have it so … AH-CHOO!

lady catherine de bourgh visits elizabeth bennet

As soon as they entered the copse, Lady Catherine began in the following manner: “You can be at no loss, Miss Bennet, to understand the reason of my journey hither.”

“Indeed, you are mistaken, Madam,” said Elizabeth.  “I have not been at all able to account for the honour of seeing you here.”

Good copse, bad copse
“Miss Bennet,” replied her ladyship, in an angry tone, “you ought to know, that I am not to be trifled with. However — one moment, whilst I search my reticule … alas! No antihistamines! Pray, Miss Bennet, have you any with you?”

“I have not, your ladyship. It is a truth universally acknowledged in my family that allergies are irredeemably lower-class.”

“Insufferable girl! Is this your gratitude for my attentions to you last spring?” Lady Catherine lapsed into a fit of coughing, after which, having somewhat recovered, she continued hoarsely, “We must leave this copse directly, for something in it is getting up my nose.”

the doctor parts from rose tyler at bad wolf bay

ROSE
What’re you gonna do?

THE DOCTOR
Oh, I’ve got the TARDIS. Same old life. Last of the Time Lords.

ROSE
I love you.

THE DOCTOR
Quite right too. And I suppose, if it’s one last chance to say it … Rose Tyler … [begins to cough] Damn! My sand allergy! Where’s my sonic screwdriver? Hang on a tick —

The link shuts between their parallel universes, he fades away forever, and Rose stands crying on the beach.

the parrot sketch

CUSTOMER (JOHN CLEESE)
I wish to complain about this parrot, what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

Where's my nice cuttlefish?
PET SHOP OWNER (MICHAL PALIN)
Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue. What’s wrong with it?

CUSTOMER
I’m allergic to it.

OWNER
No, no, you’re just resting.

CUSTOMER
Look, matey, I know an allergy when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now. [Sneezes lustily, fishes in pocket for handkerchief, blows nose]

OWNER
I know what it is,  you’re pinin’ for the fjords.

CUSTOMER
Pinin’ for the fjords? What kind of talk is that? Look, why did my throat close up the moment I got ’im home?

GRAHAM CHAPMAN [walking onto the set]
I’m sorry, this sketch just isn’t silly enough.

and now for something completely different

So what are you allergic to? You can tell me in the comments. I’m allergic to cats, dust, and dried grasses. And yet I have a cat, who brings in dust and dried grasses. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to take another Cetirizine.

with thanks to

Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Russell T. Davies, and Monty Python. Wouldn’t it be great if they could all meet? I’m sure they’d get along.

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