Monday, October 20, 2008

Ballade by Belloc

I dedicate this Hilaire Belloc ballade (perhaps somewhat awkwardly since it was aimed, I believe, at some railway issue in Belloc's day) to those good, devout, committed, multiple-issue Catholics who will vote Barack Obama.

Ballade of Gentlemanly Feeling and Railway Strikes
Hilaire Belloc

Nothing is more ungentlemanly than
Exaggeration, causing needless pain;
It's worse than spitting, and it stamps a man
Deservedly with other men's disdain.
Weigh human actions carefully. Explain
The worst of them with clarity. Mayhap
There were two sides to that affair of Cain -
And Judas was a tolerable chap!

This sort of recklessness has laid a ban
(Most properly!) upon the works of Paine;
And should in decency condemn the clan
Of mean detractors, like the half-insane
And filthy Swift, Elijah, and again
The hare-brained Dante, with his snarl and yap -
No life, however warped, was lived in vain.
And Judas was a tolerable chap.

Benedict Arnold doubtless had a plan
For profiting his country: it is plain
That nothing but the voice of slander can
Have poisoned such a man as Charlemagne
Against the martyred Ganelon in Spain.
We know that Dreyfus fell into a trap -
Which also may be true of poor Bazaine -
And Judas was a tolerable chap.

ENVOI

Prince, even you are hardly so inane
As not to understand the sad mishap
Befallen those who run the railway-train -
And Judas was a tolerable chap.

------

Wikisource:

Paine

Benedict Arnold

Charlemagne

Ganelon

Dreyfus

Bazaine

This Bazaine too?

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