Poem: To a Holy Roller


“Roll on,” said Gilbert to the earth:

“Roll on,” said Byron to the sea:
Accepting natural features thus,
Freely I say “Roll on” to thee.

Time like an ever rolling stream

Bears his most rolling sons away
Byranite saint, Darwinian sage,
And even Dayton has its day.

Earth changes; sings another bard,

“There rolls the deep where grew the tree”;
Convulsions viewed with equal calm
By Tennyson and Tennessee.

But ere you roll down history’s slope,

A moment may set us thinking
How Prohibition suits their mood,
Who get so drunk by never drinking.

What rows of bottles, blends of liquor,

WE need to reach in one wild leap
Those reels and rolls you get for nothing,
Great Bacchic Maenads on the cheap!

I blame you not that, writhing prone,

You flout the grave Darwinian’s view,
Of his extremely Missing Link,
For he is quite amusing too.

Marking the human ape evolve

(He puts his rolling into Latin),
Through epochs barely large enough
To swing an old Egyptian cat in.

Since you believe Man truly tilled

The Garden for the great Controller,
You back your Garden party up,
Like a consistent Garden Roller.

We, too, may deem Adam’s birth

Some more mysterious splendor shone,
Than prigs can pick off monkey’s bones,
Never you mind! Roll on! Roll on!

Grovel and gambol on all fours

Till you have proved beyond dispute
That human dignity is freed
From all connection with the brute.

~G.K. Chesterton