That’s your strong, subjective opinion, Charles, shared only by those with your own (yet-to-be-defined) aesthetic vulnerabilities. And, aesthetic opinions, really, of little consequence in critically reading Shade, since VN has INVENTED a scholar-poet given to these “low-poetic” humourous patches, more Thomas Hood than Pope (what glorious LitCrit fodder in these names!)
The “Exe to Wye” echoes in tutored ears Browning’s oft-parodied** “How they Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix.” In fact, long before I knew of Pale Fire as novel or poem, I had written “How they brought the Good News from X to Y” (explaining Shannon’s Canons — the laws of information flow without which the internet and this List would list). I also wrote about “the good news from AIX to Brad” but this depends on knowing that AIX is an IBM-UNIX flavour, and Brad Beitel was (1990) predicting that OS/2 would win over UNIX.
** e.g., Yeatman & Sellar add “(or vice versa)” to Browning’s title and play on the mystery that nobody has found sound historical reasons for the mad gallop. Browning never spells out the nature of the “good news” (or “gospel’ in Englisc!)
“ . . . I had to confess that I’d gone and went
and forgotten the news I was bringing to Ghent . . .”