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Twin idols

 There are two phrases, you must know,
So potent (yet so small)
That wheresoe'er a man may go
He needs none else at all;
No servile guide to lead the way
Nor lackey at his heel,
If he be learned enough to say
"Comme bien" and "Wie viel.
" The sleek, pomaded Parleyvoo Will air his sweetest airs And quote the highest rates when you "Comme bien" for his wares; And, though the German stolid be, His so-called heart of steel Becomes as soft as wax when he Detects the words "Wie viel.
" Go, search the boulevards and rues From Havre to Marseilles-- You'll find all eloquence you use Except "Comme bien" fails; Or in the country auf der Rhine Essay a business deal And all your art is good fuhr nein Beyond the point--"Wie viel.
" It matters not what game or prey Attracts your greedy eyes-- You must pursue the good old way If you would win the prize; It is to get a titled mate All run down at the heel, If you inquire of stock effete, "Comme bien" or "Wie viel.
" So he is wise who envieth not A wealth of foreign speech, Since with two phrases may be got Whatever's in his reach; For Europe is a soulless shrine In which all classes kneel Before twin idols, deemed divine-- "Comme bien" and "Wie viel.
"

by Eugene Field
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