The Sabbath-Breaker by C.J. Dennis

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They are looking at me, good Christian folk,
   They are looking at me in scorn,
As they troop to church in their Sabbath dress,
And I lounge here in idleness
   This glorious Sunday morn.

They are sniffing at me with Christian sniffs,
   As they pass me, garbed in gloom;
Right glad am I as I sprawl at ease,
With a pipe and a book beneath the trees;
   But they've marked me down for Doom.

They are gazing at me, good Christian folk,
   And their gaze is dour and stern;
And their eyes are hard, and their lips are long,
For they heard me trolling a worldly song,
   And they look to see me burn.

Nay, what have I done, good Christian folk?
   And how have I earned your scorn?
May I not he filled with joy to see
The gifts the good God sends to me
   On this glad Sabbath morn?

Would ye have me wear a bilious air,
   And clothe myself in gloom,
And don my best black Sunday dress,
And walk in mournful righteousness,
   And ponder on the Tomb?

Nay, but all Nature laughs, good folk --
   Laughs at your mood austere.
The festive birds, the joyous trees,
The wooing of the wanton breeze,
   All bid me tarry here.

They are coming from church, good Christian folk,
   And their gloom has deepened thrice.
They are pondering what the preacher said
Of the mouldy grave and the wormy dead;
   They are storing his sage advice.

They are looking at me again.  God wot
   How have I earned such blame!
I feel glad life with ev'ry breath;
I cannot meditate on death
   Nor count my joy a shame.

Nay, let me be, good Christian folk.
   I pray ye let me rest.
For I cannot join ye here below;
If I join ye not where'er ye go,
I am quite content to have it so;
   For I should be sore oppressed.

First published in The Bulletin, 27 April 1911

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 27, 2013 9:15 AM.

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