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What! Pixley, must I hear you call the roll Of all the vices that infest your soul? Was't not enough that lately you did bawl Your money-worship in the ears of all?[A] Still must you crack your brazen cheek to tell That though a miser you're a sot as well? Still must I hear how low your taste has sunk-- From getting money down to getting drunk?[B]
Who worships money, damning all beside, And shows his callous knees with pious pride, Speaks with half-knowledge, for no man e'er scorns His own possessions, be they coins or corns. You've money, neighbor; had you gentle birth You'd know, as now you never can, its worth.
You've money; learning is beyond your scope, Deaf to your envy, stubborn to your hope. But if upon your undeserving head Science and letters had their glory shed; If in the cavern of your skull the light Of knowledge shone where now eternal night Breeds the blind, poddy, vapor-fatted naughts Of cerebration that you think are thoughts-- Black bats in cold and dismal corners hung That squeak and gibber when you move your tongue-- You would not write, in Avarice's defense, A senseless eulogy on lack of sense, Nor show your eagerness to sacrifice All noble virtues to one loathsome vice.
You've money; if you'd manners too you'd shame To boast your weakness or your baseness name. Appraise the things you have, but measure not The things denied to your unhappy lot. He values manners lighter than a cork Who combs his beard at table with a fork. Hare to seek sin and tortoise to forsake, The laws of taste condemn you to the stake To expiate, where all the world may see, The crime of growing old disgracefully.
Religion, learning, birth and manners, too, All that distinguishes a man from you, Pray damn at will: all shining virtues gain An added luster from a rogue's disdain. But spare the young that proselyting sin, A toper's apotheosis of gin. If not our young, at least our pigs may claim Exemption from the spectacle of shame!
Are you not he who lately out of shape Blew a brass trumpet to denounce the grape?-- Who led the brave teetotalers afield And slew your leader underneath your shield?-- Swore that no man should drink unless he flung Himself across your body at the bung? Who vowed if you'd the power you would fine The Son of God for making water wine?
All trails to odium you tread and boast, Yourself enamored of the dirtiest most. One day to be a miser you aspire, The next to wallow drunken in the mire; The third, lo! you're a meritorious liar![C] Pray, in the catalogue of all your graces, Have theft and cowardice no honored places?
Yield thee, great Satan--here's a rival name With all thy vices and but half thy shame! Quick to the letter of the precept, quick To the example of the elder Nick; With as great talent as was e'er applied To fool a teacher and to fog a guide; With slack allegiance and boundless greed, To paunch the profit of a traitor deed, He aims to make thy glory all his own, And crowd his master from the infernal throne!
[Footnote A: We are not writing this paragraph for any other purpose than to protest against this never ending cant, affectation, and hypocrisy about money. It is one of the best things in this world--better than religion, or good birth, or learning, or good manners.--The Argonaut.]
[Footnote B: Now, it just occurs to us that some of our temperance friends will take issue with us, and say that this is bad doctrine, and that it is ungentlemanly to get drunk under any circumstances or under any possible conditions. We do not think so.--The same.]
[Footnote C: The man or woman who, for the sake of benefiting others, protecting them in their lives, property, or reputation, sparing their feelings, contributing to their enjoyment, or increasing their pleasures, will tell a lie, deserves to be rewarded.--The same.]
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