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The Song Of The Strange Ascetic

 If I had been a Heathen,
I'd have praised the purple vine,
My slaves should dig the vineyards,
And I would drink the wine.
But Higgins is a Heathen, And his slaves grow lean and grey, That he may drink some tepid milk Exactly twice a day.
If I had been a Heathen, I'd have crowned Neaera's curls, And filled my life with love affairs, My house with dancing girls; But Higgins is a Heathen, And to lecture rooms is forced, Where his aunts, who are not married, Demand to be divorced.
If I had been a Heathen, I'd have sent my armies forth, And dragged behind my chariots The Chieftains of the North.
But Higgins is a Heathen, And he drives the dreary quill, To lend the poor that funny cash That makes them poorer still.
If I had been a Heathen, I'd have piled my pyre on high, And in a great red whirlwind Gone roaring to the sky; But Higgins is a Heathen, And a richer man than I: And they put him in an oven, Just as if he were a pie.
Now who that runs can read it, The riddle that I write, Of why this poor old sinner, Should sin without delight— But I, I cannot read it (Although I run and run), Of them that do not have the faith, And will not have the fun.

by G K Chesterton
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