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Gilbert Keith Chesterton
1874 - 1936
( )


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ELEGY IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD
WINE AND WATER
THE ENGLISHMAN

 




ELEGY IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD

THE men that worked for England
They have their graves at home:
And birds and bees of England
About the cross can roam.
 
But they that fought for England,
Following a falling star,
Alas, alas for England
They have their graves afar.
 
And they that rule in England,
In stately conclave met,
Alas, alas for England
They have no graves as yet.

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 the 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 it 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 it 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 it if doesn't get into the wine.

THE ENGLISHMAN

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 the 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.

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