Thursday, May 5, 2011

Poem: Mr Mandragon, The Millionaire by GK Chesterton

Flipping though my commonplace book today, I alit upon a favourite stanza from a GK Chesterton poem, and knew I should share the whole thing. It is from The Flying Inn, and it is classic Chesterton.

Humphrey Pump nodded, but still answered nothing; and the voice of the sprawling Dalroy took one of its upward turns of a sort of soaring flippancy; which commonly embodied itself in remembering some song he had composed.

"Such," he said, "was the case of the late Mr. Mandragon, so long popular in English aristocratic society as a bluff and simple democrat from the West, until he was unfortunately sand-bagged by six men whose wives he had had shot by private detectives, on his incautiously landing on American soil.

"Mr. Mandragon the Millionaire, he wouldn't have wine or wife,
He couldn't endure complexity; he lived the simple life;
He ordered his lunch by megaphone in manly, simple tones,
And used all his motors for canvassing voters, and twenty telephones;
Besides a dandy little machine,
Cunning and neat as ever was seen,
With a hundred pulleys and cranks between,
Made of iron and kept quite clean,
To hoist him out of his healthful bed on every day of his life,
And wash him and brush him and shave him and dress him to live the Simple Life.

"Mr. Mandragon was most refined and quietly, neatly dressed,
Say all the American newspapers that know refinement best;
Quiet and neat the hair and hat, and the coat quiet and neat,
A trouser worn upon either leg, while boots adorned the feet;
And not, as anyone might expect,
A Tiger Skin, all striped and specked,
And a Peacock Hat with the tail erect,
A scarlet tunic with sunflowers decked--
That might have had a more marked effect,
And pleased the pride of a weaker man that yearned for wine or wife;
But fame and the flagon for Mr. Mandragon obscured the Simple Life.

"Mr. Mandragon the Millionaire, I am happy to say, is dead.
He enjoyed a quiet funeral in a crematorium shed,
And he lies there fluffy and soft and grey and certainly quite refined,
When he might have rotted to flowers and fruit with Adam and all mankind.
Or been eaten by bears that fancy blood,
Or burnt on a big tall tower of wood,
In a towering flame as a heathen should,
Or even sat with us here at food,
Merrily taking twopenny rum and cheese with a pocket knife,
But these were luxuries lost for him that lived for the Simple Life."
And this reminds me that I have not yet written a review of The Flying Inn for this site...

1 comment:

Megan said...

it will end up being that simple yet When i believed that will there were goods in addition to methods in existence i could possibly in addition Millionaire Society to would likely utilize to become prosperous.


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