Works in the Herald 1934

Preaching in Melbourne this week, the Rev. Griffith Roberts said: "Nothing breaks the morale of Christian life more than living in an interminable atmosphere of despair. Despair is the devil's favorite tool."

"Alas!" said the devil, said he to me --
   And his swart face drooped with care --
"Life is a liar, a cheat," said he
   "And the end of it all -- despair.
Why mourn you here, poor pawn of the Fates?
The way lies ready: the hemlock waits.
   And I'll give you a toast ere you seek release:
   'To Death, the gentleman, crowned with peace'!"

"Have done, smart devil!" I made reply.
   "Have done with your air of gloom.
The world seemed dreary for such as I
   Ere you came into the room.
I was ready, I own, for the crowning sin,
But your foolish babbling makes me grin.
   Yet the poisoned cup might I e'en now quaff;
   But how can I drink when I want to laugh?

"Poor fool!" moaned the devil. "Vain words you lisp,
   Dull dupe of an ancient lie.
What seek you here but a will-o'-the-wisp,
   Mocking you till you die?
For the world's gone mad and th enations rave.
Choose!  An ugly dream, or a peaceful grave.
   You shall thirst, you shall starve while the earth you roam.
   Ah, pick up the dagger and drive it home."

"Oh, foolish devil!" I made reply.
   "Thus to defeat you end,
With your woeful visage and wistful eye:
   I could greet you now as a friend.
For, as in a mirror, I now have seen
The fear-crazed fool that I might have been.
   Come; tell me some more of this cheerless earth."
   But the devil was gone; and I shrieked with mirth.

Herald, 7 May 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003-06