Works in the Bulletin 1913
"Now come," said the Devil, he said to me,
   With his swart face all a-grin;
"This day, ere ever the clock strikes three,
   Shall you sin your darling sin.
For I've wagered a crown with Beelzebub,
Down there at the Gentlemen's Brimstone Club, 
I shall tempt you once, I shall tempt you twice,
And thrice shall you fall ere I tempt you thrice."

"Begone, base Devil!" I made reply - "Begone, with your fiendish grin! How hope you to profit by such as I, For I have no darling sin. But many there be, and I know them well, All foul with sinning and ripe for Hell. And I name no names, but the whole world knows That I am never of such as those."
"How now?" said the Devil. "I'll spread my net, And I vow I'll gather you in! By this and by that shall I win my bet, And you shall sin the sin! Come, fill up a bumper of good red wine. Your heart shall sing, and your eye shall shine, And you'll know such joy as you never have known. For the salving of man was the good wine grown."
"Begone, red Devil!" I made reply. "Parch shall these lips of mine, And my tongue shall shrink, and my throat go dry, Ere ever I taste your wine! But greet you shall, as I know full well, A tipsy score of my friends in Hell. And I name no names, but the whole world wots Most of my fellows are drunken sots."
"Ah, ha!" said the Devil. "You scorn the wine! Thrice shall you sin, I say, To win me a crown from a friend of mine, Ere three o' the clock this day. Are you calling to mind some lady fair? And is she a wife or a maiden rare? 'Twere folly to shackle young Love, hot Youth; Forbidden kisses are sweet, forsooth."
"Begone, foul Devil!" I made reply, "For never in all my life Have I looked on a woman with lustful eye, Be she maid, or widow, or wife. But my brothers! Alas! I am scandalised At their evil passions so ill-disguised. And I name no names, but my thanks I give That I loathe the life my fellow-men live."
"Ho, ho!" roared the Devil in fiendish glee. "'Tis a silver crown I win! Thrice have you fallen! O Pharisee, You have sinned your darling sin!" But, "Nay," said I; "and I scorn your lure. I have sinned no sin, and my heart is pure. Come, tell me the sin that you think you see?" But the Devil was gone .... and the clock struck three.

"C.J. Dennis"
The Bulletin, 16 October 1913, p10

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002