The Song of the Strange Ascetic

If I had been a Heathen,
I’d have praised the purple vine,
My slaves should dig the vineyards,
And I would drink the wine.
But Higgins is a Heathen,
And his slaves grow lean and grey,
That he may drink some tepid milk
Exactly twice a day.

If I had been a Heathen,
I’d have crowned Neaera’s curls,
And filled my life with love affairs,
My house with dancing girls;
But Higgins is a Heathen,
And to lecture rooms is forced,
Where his aunts, who are not married,
Demand to be divorced.

If I had been a Heathen,
I’d have sent my armies forth,
And dragged behind my chariots
The Chieftains of the North.
But Higgins is a Heathen,
And he drives the dreary quill,
To lend the poor that funny cash
That makes them poorer still.

If I had been a Heathen,
I’d have piled my pyre on high,
And in a great red whirlwind
Gone roaring to the sky;
But Higgins is a Heathen,
And a richer man than I:
And they put him in an oven,
Just as if he were a pie.

Now who that runs can read it,
The riddle that I write,
Of why this poor old sinner,
Should sin without delight —
But I, I cannot read it
(Although I run and run),
Of them that do not have the faith,
And will not have the fun.

Poems (1913).

Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 7:49 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Is that supposed to be “Higgins” or “Hitchens”? ^_~

  2. Ha! Good one!

  3. Sort of reminds me of Chesterton’s great contemporary, Rudyard Kipling.

  4. […] carted away to Christmas landfills is enough to make them writhe in apoplectic abstinence. Their strange kind of asceticism allows them very little of the true joys of Christmas unless they can justify it all by attaching […]


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