--risum tenaetis, amici
"The longer one lives, the more one learns,"
Said I, as off to sleep I went,
Bemused with thinking of Tithe concerns,
And reading a book by the Bishop of FERNS,
On the Irish Church Establishment.
But lo! in sleep not long I lay,
When Fancy her usual tricks began,
And I found myself bewitched away
To a goodly city in Hindostan--
A city where he who dares to dine
On aught but rice is deemed a sinner;
Where sheep and kine are held divine,
And accordingly--never drest for dinner.
"But how is this?" I wondering cried--
As I walkt that city fair and wide,
And saw, in every marble street,
A row of beautiful butchers' shops--
"What means, for men who don't eat meat,
"This grand display of loins and chops?"
In vain I askt--'twas plain to see
That nobody dared to answer me.
So on from street to street I strode:
And you can't conceive how vastly odd
The butchers lookt--a roseate crew,
Inshrined in stalls with naught to do;
While some on a bench, half dozing, sat,
And the Sacred Cows were not more fat.
Still posed to think what all this scene
Of sinecure trade was meant to mean,
"And, pray," askt I--"by whom is paid
The expense of this strange masquerade?"--
"The expense!--oh! that's of course defrayed
(Said one of these well-fed Hecatombers)
"By yonder rascally rice-consumers."
"What! they who mustn't eat meat!"--
(And while he spoke his cheeks grew fatter,)
"The rogues may munch their Paddy crop,
"But the rogues must still support our shop,
"And depend upon it, the way to treat
"Heretical stomachs that thus dissent,
"Is to burden all that won't eat meat,
"With a costly MEAT ESTABLISHMENT."
On hearing these words so gravely said,
With a volley of laughter loud I shook,
And my slumber fled and my dream was sped,
And I found I was lying snug in bed,
With my nose in the Bishop of FERNS'S book.