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Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

To A Stuffed Shirt


On the tide you ride head high,
Like a whale 'mid little fishes;
I should envy you as I
Help my wife to wash the dishes.
Yet frock-coat and stove-pipe hat
Cannot hide your folds of fat.

You are reckoned a success,
And the public praise you win;
There's your picture in the Press,
Pouchy eyes and triple chin.
Wealth,--of it you fairly stink;
Health,--what does your Doctor think?

Dignity is phoney stuff.
Who is dignified deep down?
Strip the pants off, call the bluff,
Common clay are king and clown.
Let a bulging belly be
Your best bid for dignity.

Miserable millionaire!
For indulgence you must pay.
Yet there's salvation in prayer,--
Down on your fat knees and pray.
Know that with your dying breath
There is dignity in death.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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