“The Aristocrat”

“The Aristocrat” July 7, 2019

 

Three fabulous writers
George Bernard Shaw, Hilaire Belloc, and G.K. Chesterton
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

 

Doug Ealy kindly shared a poem by the great G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) with me a few hours ago.  I enjoyed the poem so much — curiously, I can’t recall reading it before, although I’m an unabashed Chesterton fan — that I think I’ll share it with you.  It’s titled “The Aristocrat”:

 

The Devil is a gentleman, and asks you down to stay
At his little place at What’sitsname (it isn’t far away).
They say the sport is splendid; there is always something new,
And fairy scenes, and fearful feats that none but he can do;
He can shoot the feathered cherubs if they fly on the estate,
Or fish for Father Neptune with the mermaids for a bait;
He scaled amid the staggering stars that precipice, the sky,
And blew his trumpet above heaven, and got by mastery
The starry crown of God Himself, and shoved it on the shelf;
But the Devil is a gentleman, and doesn’t brag himself.

O blind your eyes and break your heart and hack your hand away,
And lose your love and shave your head; but do not go to stay
At the little place in What’sitsname where folks are rich and clever;

The golden and the goodly house, where things grow worse for ever;
There are things you need not know of, though you live and die in vain,
There are souls more sick of pleasure than you are sick of pain;
There is a game of April Fool that’s played behind its door,
Where the fool remains for ever and the April comes no more,
Where the splendour of the daylight grows drearier than the dark,
And life droops like a vulture that once was such a lark:
And that is the Blue Devil that once was the Blue Bird;
For the Devil is a gentleman, and doesn’t keep his word.

 

***

 

Over dinner last night, friends told us a story from the area of Bear Lake, which straddles the Utah/Idaho border to the north of us.  I think they said that it happened in Garden City there, but I could be wrong.

 

The folks in one of the wards on the shore of the lake had petitioned for some time for a new church building to replace their old one.  Finally, permission came.  The old chapel would be razed in order to make room for its replacement.

 

A contractor arrived and, in just a week, had completely torn the old building down, temporarily leaving just a short flight of heavy concrete stairs going down to what had once been a basement.

 

The ward in question met elsewhere that weekend — and until their new building was finished.  However, somebody posted a sign on the now empty site of the old chapel:

 

“Sorry we missed you.  — Enoch”

 

 

"Cool! Thanks for letting me know. I'll look for it."

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