A is an Agnostic dissecting a frog,
B was a Buddhist who had been a dog,
C was a Christian, a Christist I mean,
D was the Dog which the Buddhist had been,
E is for Ethics that grow upon trees,
F for St. Francis who preached to the fleas,
G is for God which is easy to spell,
H is for Haeckel and also for Hell,
I is for Incas now commonly dead,
J is for Jesuit under the bed,
K is the letter for Benjamin Kidd,
The Angels and Devils said don’t but he did
L Louis the Ninth who unlike the Eleventh,
Was a much better man than King Edward the Seventh.
M is for Man, by the way, what is Man?
N is for Nunquam who’ll tell if he can,
O is for Om about which I won’t trouble you,
P for the Pope and P.W.W. (1)
Q is the Quaker quiescent in quod,
R is for Reason, a primitive God,
S is for Superman, harmless but fat,
T is a Theosophist losing his hat,
U the Upanishads, clever but slight,
V is a Virtuous Man Killing Beit, (2)
W is for Wesley who banged with his fist,
X for King Xerxes, a monotheist,
Y is for You who depraved as you are,
Are Lord of Creation and Son of a Star.
Z Zarathustra who couldn’t take stout,
He made war on the weak and they banged him out.
(1) P.W.W. was P.W. Wilson, a colleague of Chesterton’s on The Daily News.
(2) Alfred Beit was a Hamburg-born financier (reputedly the world’s richest man) whose wealth came from South Africa and whom Chesterton loathed. He is the subject of this clerihew by Bentley:
"Mr Alfred Beit
Screamed suddenly in the night.
When they asked him why
He made no reply."