Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Favorite Poetry - The Aristocrat

Well, I've finally gotten around to posting again.  You can thank frustration with a certain research report for that...anyway, before I begin, I just wanted to thank Katie of Whisperings of the Pen for being my 50th follower!  Thank you, Katie, and thanks for your lovely comment on my last post, as well.  I'm up to fifty-one now - I feel super special!

Now for the poetry. This is one of the first Chesterton poems I was exposed to.  I find the combination of flippancy and urgency quite striking, and so it sort of imprinted on my brain and is one of the few poems I've actually got memorized.   Chesterton portrays the enticement that evil can have, and then warns us of it's consequences, all in his typical entertaining style. It must be noted that Chesterton is using the term "gentleman" in the sense it was often used in during his time - not in a positive way, to describe a man who upholds chivalry, honor, and intelligence, but in a negative way, to indicate a sort of - oh, this is hard to explain - a sort of dissipated, good-for-nothing person.  Eh, close enough.  Anyway, hope you enjoy it.  And do think about what the poet's trying to say, please.  If there's something that you don't get that you'd like to have explained, leave a comment.  I may have an answer.

The Aristocrat
by G.K. Chesterton 

The Devil is a gentleman, and asks you down to stay
At his little place in What'sitsname (it isn't far away).
They say the sport is splendid; there is always something new,
And fairy scenes, and fearful feats that none but he can do;
He can shoot the feathered cherubs if they fly on the estate,
Or fish for Father Neptune with the mermaids for a bait;
He scaled amid the staggering stars that precipice, the sky,
And blew his trumpet above heaven, and got by mastery
The starry crown of God Himself, and shoved it on the shelf;
But the Devil is a gentleman, and doesn't brag himself.

O blind your eyes and break your heart and hack your hand away, 
And lose your love and shave your head, but do not go to stay
At the little place in What'sitsname where folks are rich and clever;
The golden and the goodly house, where things grow worse forever;
There are things you need not know of, though you live and die in vain,
There are souls more sick of pleasure than you are sick of pain;
There is a game of April Fool that's played behind its door,
Where the fool remains forever and the April comes no more,

Where the splendour of the daylight grows drearier than the dark,
And life droops like a vulture that once was such a lark:
And that is the Blue Devil that once was the Blue Bird;
For the Devil is a gentleman, and doesn't keep his word.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, wow, thanks for sharing this. I'll have to memorize this too. Wonderful.


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