Wine and Water

Old Noah he had an ostrich farm and
\, \,  \,  fowls on the largest scale,
He ate his egg with a ladle
\,  \,  \, in a egg-cup big as a pail,
And the soup he took was Elephant Soup
\,  \,  \, and fish he took was Whale,
But they all were small to the cellar he
\,  \,  \, took when he set out to sail,
And Noah he often said to his wife when
\,  \,  \, he sat down to dine,
“I don’t care where the water goes if it
\,  \,  \, doesn’t get into the wine.”

The cataract of the cliff of heaven fell
\,  \,  \, blinding off the brink
As if it would wash the stars away as suds
\, \,  \, go down a sink,
The seven heavens came roaring down for
\,  \,  \, the throats of hell to drink,
And Noah he cocked his eye and said,
\,  \,  \, “It looks like rain, I think.
The water has drowned the Matterhorn
\,  \,  \, as deep as a Mendip mine,
But I don’t care where the water goes if it
\,  \,  \, doesn’t get into the wine.”

But Noah he sinned, and we have sinned;
\,  \,  \, on tipsy feet we trod,
Till a great big black teetotaller was sent
\,  \,  \, to us for a rod,
And you can’t get wine at a P. S. A., or
\,  \,  \, chapel, or Eisteddfod,
For the Curse of Water has come again
\,  \,  \, because of the wrath of God,
And water is on the Bishop’s board and
\,  \,  \, the Higher Thinker’s shrine,
But I don’t care where the water goes if it
\,  \,  \, doesn’t get into the wine.

The Flying Inn (1914).

Published in: on June 12, 2013 at 8:29 am  Leave a Comment  

The Song Against Songs

The song of the sorrow of Melisande
Is a weary song and a dreary song,
The glory of Mariana’s grange
Had got into great decay,
The song of the Raven Never More
Has never been called a cheery song,
And the brightest things in Baudelaire
Are anything else but gay.

But who will write us a riding song,
Or a hunting song or a drinking song,
Fit for them that arose and rode
When day and the wine were red?
But bring me a quart of claret out,
And I will write you a clinking song,
A song of war and a song of wine
And a song to wake the dead.

The song of the fury of Fragolette
Is a florid song and a torrid song,
The song of the sorrow of Tara
Is sung to a harp unstrung,
The song of the cheerful Shropshire Lad
I consider a perfectly horrid song,
And the song of the happy Futurist
Is a song that can’t be sung.

But who will write us a riding song
Or a fighting song or a drinking song,
Fit for the fathers of you and me,
That knew how to think and thrive?
But the song of Beauty and Art and Love
Is simply an utterly stinking song,
To double you up and drag you down
And damn your soul alive.

— The Flying Inn (1914).

Published in: on March 20, 2013 at 5:08 pm  Comments (2)  

The Logical Vegetarian

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 Flying Inn (1914).

Published in: on February 13, 2013 at 10:05 am  Comments (1)  

The Rolling English Road

Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.

I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.

My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.

— The Flying Inn (1914).

Published in: on February 4, 2009 at 9:16 am  Comments (1)