Robert William Service (16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)
A-sitttin' on a cracker box an' spittin' in the stove,
I took a sudden notion that I'd kindo' like to rove;
An' so I bought a ticket, jest as easy as could be,
From Pumpkinville in Idaho to Rome in Italy;
An' found myself in seven days of mostly atmosphere
A-starin' at a statoo called Appoller Belvydeer.
Now I'm a rum-soaked sinner, an' religion ain't my plan,
Yet, I was flabbergasted by that gol-darned Vattyican;
An' when I seed Saint Peter's dome, all I could do was swear,
The which I reckon after all may be a form o' prayer;
Abut as I sought amid them sights bewildered to steer,
The king-pin was the one they called Appoller Belvydeer.
Say, I ain't got no culture an' I don't know any art,
But that there statoo got me, standin' in its room apart,
In an alcove draped wi' velvet, lookin' everlastin' bright,
Like the vision o' a poet, full o' beauty, grace an' light;
An' though I know them kind o' words sound sissy in the ear,
It's jest how I was struck by that Appoller Belvydeer.
I've gazed at them depictions in the glossy magazines,
Uv modern Art an' darned if I can make out what it means:
Will any jerk to-day outstand a thousand years of test?
Why, them old Pagans make us look like pikers at the best.
An' maybe, too, their minds was jest as luminous and clear
As that immortal statoo o' Appoller Belvydeer.
An' all yer march o' progress an' machinery as' such,
I wonder if, when all is said, they add up to so much?
An' were not these old fellers in their sweet an' simple way
Serener souled an' happier than we poor mugs to-day?
They have us licked, I thought, an' stood wi' mingled gloom an' cheer
Before that starry statoo o' Appoller Belvydeer.
So I'll go back to Pumpkinville an' to my humble home,
An' dream o' all the sights I saw in everlastin' Rome;
But I will never speak a word o' that enchanted land
That taks you bang into the Past - folks wouldn't understand;
An' midmost in my memories I'll cherish close an' dear
That bit o' frozen music, that Appoller Belvydeer.
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