Friday, December 23, 2016

The Sailor's Carol

The Sailor

"Noël ! Noël ! Noël ! Noël !
A Catholic tale have I to tell !
And a Christian song have I to sing
While all the bells in Arundel ring.

"I pray good beef and I pray good beer
This holy night of all the year,
But I pay detestable drink for them
That give no honour to Bethlehem.

"May all good fellows that here agree
Drink Audit Ale in heaven with me
And may all my enemies go to hell!
Noël ! Noël ! Noël ! Noël !
May all my enemies go to hell !
Noël ! Noël !"

Grizzlebeard. "Rank blasphemy I said, and heresy, which is worse. For at Christmas we should in particular forgive our enemies."
The Sailor. "I do. This song is about those that do not forgive me."
The Poet. "And it is bad verse, like all the rest."
The Sailor. "Go drown yourself in milk and water; it is great, hefty howl-verse, as strong and meaty as that other of mine was lovely and be-winged."
Grizzlebeard. "What neither the Poet nor you seem to know, Sailor, is that the quarrels of versifiers are tedious to stand-by, so let us go into the Cricketers' Arms and eat as you say, in God's name, and occupy ourselves with something pleasanter than the disputed lyric."

~Hilaire Belloc: from The Four Men: A Farrago

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Pelagian Drinking Song

Pelagius lived at Kardanoel
And taught a doctrine there
How, whether you went to heaven or to hell
It was your own affair.
It had nothing to do with the Church, my boy,
But was your own affair.

No, he didn't believe
In Adam and Eve
He put no faith therein!
His doubts began
With the Fall of Man
And he laughed at Original Sin.
With my row-ti-tow
He laughed at original sin.

Then came the bishop of old Auxerre
Germanus was his name
He tore great handfuls out of his hair
And he called Pelagius shame.
And with his stout Episcopal staff
So thoroughly whacked and banged
The heretics all, both short and tall ─
They rather had been hanged.

Oh he whacked them hard, and he banged them long
Upon each and all occasions
Till they bellowed in chorus, loud and strong
Their orthodox persuasions.
With my row-ti-tow
Their orthodox persuasions.

Now the faith is old and the Devil bold
Exceedingly bold indeed.
And the masses of doubt that are floating about
Would smother a mortal creed.
But we that sit in a sturdy youth
And still can drink strong ale
Let us put it away to infallible truth
That always shall prevail.

And thank the Lord
For the temporal sword
And howling heretics too.
And all good things
Our Christendom brings
But especially barley brew!
With my row-ti-tow
Especially barley brew!

~Hilaire Belloc

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