And speaking of Chesterton and Slaying Dragons…

And speaking of Chesterton and Slaying Dragons… June 14, 2013

Here’s a fine verse dedicated to all my friends across the Pond:

The Englishman
by G.K. Chesterton

St George he was for England,
And before he killed the dragon
He drank a pint of English ale
Out of an English flagon.
For though he fast right readily
In hair-shirt or in mail,
It isn’t safe to give him cakes
Unless you give him ale.

St George he was for England,
And right gallantly set free
The lady left for dragon’s meat
And tied up to a tree;
But since he stood for England
And knew what England means,
Unless you give him bacon
You mustn’t give him beans.

St George he is for England,
And shall wear the shield he wore
When we go out in armour

With battle-cross before.
But though he is jolly company
And very pleased to dine,
It isn’t safe to give him nuts
Unless you give him wine.

In that spirit, I challenge readers to come up with some favorite light verses and stick ’em in the comboxes. They can, but needn’t, be from GKC.

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  • wlinden

    Jones had a dog; it had a chain;

    Not often worn, not causing pain;

    But, as the I.K.L. had passed

    Their ‘Unleashed Cousins Act’ at last,

    Inspectors took the chain away;

    Whereat the canine barked ‘Hooray!’

    At which, of course, the S.P.U.

    (Whose Nervous Motorists’ Bill was through)

    Were forced to give the dog in charge

    For being Audibly at Large.

    None, you will say, were now annoyed,

    Save, haply, Jones – the yard was void.

    But something being in the lease

    About ‘alarms to aid the police,’

    The U.S.U. annexed the yard

    For having no sufficient guard.

    Now if there’s one condition

    The C.C.P. are strong upon

    It is that every house one buys

    Must have a yard for exercise;

    So Jones, as tenant, was unfit,

    His state of health was proof of it.

    Two doctors of the T.T.U.’s

    Told him his legs, from long disuse,

    Were atrophied; and saying ‘So

    From step to higher step we go

    Till everything is New and True.’

    They cut his legs off and withdrew.

    You know the E.T.S.T.’s views

    Are stronger than the T.T.U.’s:

    And soon (as one may say) took wing

    The Arms, though not the Man, I sing.

    To see him sitting limbless there

    Was more than the K.K. could bear.

    ‘In mercy silence with all speed

    That mouth there are no hands to feed;

    What cruel sentimentalist,

    O Jones, would doom thee to exist –

    Clinging to selfish Selfhood yet?

    Weak one! Such reasoning might upset

    The Pump Act, and the accumulation

    Of all constructive legislation;

    Let us construct you up a bit ­­- ‘

    The head fell off when it was hit:

    Then words did rise and honest doubt,

    And four Commissioners sat about

    Whether the slash that left him dead

    Cut off his body or his head.

    An author in the Isle of Wight

    Observed with unconcealed delight

    A land of just and old renown

    Where Freedom slowly broadened down

    From Precedent to Precedent.

    And this, I think, was what he meant.

  • Joshua Francis Fahey

    You will find me drinking rum,
    Like a sailor in a slum,
    You will find me drinking beer like a Bavarian
    You will find me drinking gin
    In the lowest kind of inn
    Because I am a rigid Vegetarian.

    So I cleared the inn of wine,
    And I tried to climb the sign,
    And I tried to hail the constable as “Marion.”
    But he said I couldn’t speak,
    And he bowled me to the Beak
    Because I was a Happy Vegetarian.

    Oh, I know a Doctor Gluck,
    And his nose it had a hook,
    And his attitudes were anything but Aryan;
    So I gave him all the pork
    That I had, upon a fork
    Because I am myself a Vegetarian.

    I am silent in the Club,
    I am silent in the pub.,
    I am silent on a bally peak in Darien;
    For I stuff away for life
    Shoving peas in with a knife,
    Because I am a rigid Vegetarian.

    No more the milk of cows
    Shall pollute my private house
    Than the milk of the wild mares of the Barbarian
    I will stick to port and sherry,
    For they are so very, very,
    So very, very, very, Vegetarian.

    -The Logical Vegetarian by G. K. Chesterton

  • Catholicteacher

    The Prodigal Son

    Rudyard Kipling

    Here come I to my ownagain,
    Fed, forgiven and known again,
    Claimed by bone of my bone again
    And cheered by flesh of my flesh.
    The fatted calf is dressed for me,
    But the husks have greater rest for me,
    I think my pigs will be best for me,
    So I’m off to the Yards afresh.

    I never was very refined, you see,
    (And it weighs on my brother’s mind, you see)
    But there’s no reproach among swine, d’you see,
    For being a bit of a swine.
    So I’m off with wallet and staff to eat
    The bread that is three parts chaff to wheat,
    But glory be! – there’s a laugh to it,
    Which isn’t the case when we dine.

    My father glooms and advises me,
    My brother sulks and despises me,
    And Mother catechises me
    Till I want to go out and swear.
    And, in spite of the butler’s gravity,
    I know that the servants have it I
    Am a monster of moral depravity,
    And I’m damned if I think it’s fair!

    I wasted my substance, I know I did,
    On riotous living, so I did,
    But there’s nothing on record to show I did
    Worse than my betters have done.
    They talk of the money I spent out there –
    They hint at the pace that I went out there –
    But they all forget I was sent out there
    Alone as a rich man’s son.

    So I was a mark for plunder at once,
    And lost my cash (can you wonder?) at once,
    But I didn’t give up and knock under at once,
    I worked in the Yards, for a spell,
    Where I spent my nights and my days with hogs.
    And shared their milk and maize with hogs,
    Till, I guess, I have learned what pays with hogs
    And – I have that knowledge to sell!

    So back I go to my job again,
    Not so easy to rob again,
    Or quite so ready to sob again
    On any neck that’s around.
    I’m leaving, Pater. Good-bye to you!
    God bless you, Mater! I’ll write to you!
    I wouldn’t be impolite to you,
    But, Brother, you are a hound!

  • Catholicteacher

    One more for you by Kipling:

    We and They

    Rudyard Kipling

    From “Debits and Credits”(1919-1923)

    Father and Mother, and Me,
    Sister and Auntie say
    All the people like us are We,
    And every one else is They.
    And They live over the sea,
    While We live over the way,
    But-would you believe it? –They look upon We
    As only a sort of They!

    We eat pork and beef
    With cow-horn-handled knives.
    They who gobble Their rice off a leaf,
    Are horrified out of Their lives;
    While they who live up a tree,
    And feast on grubs and clay,
    (Isn’t it scandalous?) look upon We
    As a simply disgusting They!

    We shoot birds with a gun.
    They stick lions with spears.
    Their full-dress is un-.
    We dress up to Our ears.
    They like Their friends for tea.
    We like Our friends to stay;
    And, after all that, They look upon We
    As an utterly ignorant They!

    We eat kitcheny food.
    We have doors that latch.
    They drink milk or blood,
    Under an open thatch.
    We have Doctors to fee.
    They have Wizards to pay.
    And (impudent heathen!) They look upon We
    As a quite impossible They!

    All good people agree,
    And all good people say,
    All nice people, like Us, are We
    And every one else is They:
    But if you cross over the sea,
    Instead of over the way,
    You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
    As only a sort of They!