Ambrose Bierce

(24 June 1842 - 26 December 1913 / Horse Cave Creek, Ohio)

Ad Cattonum - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

I know not, Mr. Catton, who you are,
Nor very clearly why; but you go far
To show that you are many things beside
A Chilean Consul with a tempting hide;
But what they are I hardly could explain
Without afflicting you with mental pain.
Your name (gods! what a name the muse to woo
Suggesting cats, and hinting kittens, too!)
Points to an origin-perhaps Maltese,
Perhaps Angoran-where the wicked cease
From fiddling, and the animals that grow
The strings that groan to the tormenting bow
Live undespoiled of their insides, resigned
To give their name and nature to mankind.
With Chilean birth your name but poorly tallies;
The test is-Did you ever sell tamales?

It matters very little, though, my boy,
If you're from Chile or from Illinois;
You can't, because you serve a foreign land,
Spit with impunity on ours, expand,
Cock-turkeywise, and strut with blind conceit,
All heedless of the hearts beneath your feet,
Fling falsehoods as a sower scatters grain
And, for security, invoke disdain.
Sir, there are laws that men of sense observe,
No matter whence they come nor whom they serve
The laws of courtesy; and these forbid
You to malign, as recently you did,
As servant of another State, a State
Wherein your duties all are concentrate;
Branding its Ministers as rogues-in short,
Inviting cuffs as suitable retort.

Chileno or American, 'tis one
Of any land a citizen, or none
If like a new Thersites here you rail,
Loading with libels every western gale,
You'll feel the cudgel on your scurvy hump
Impinging with a salutary thump.
'Twill make you civil or 'twill make you jump!


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, September 27, 2012



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