The Peace Society by C.J. Dennis

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Now, in the town of Tooralee
They formed a Peace Society;
   And they were noted near and far
   From Hitemup to Nastijar,
The folk of this Society,
For piety - true piety.
   They met and talked from time to time,
   And held all fighting was a crime,
A sin of dark variety
   In ev'ry age and clime.

They scoffed and sneered at War's alarms,
And said that folk who carried arms
   Were to be pitied and despised
   As savage and uncivilised,
Devoid of all humanity
Or sanity - true sanity:
   Seduced from happy, peaceful life
   By bloody hates of gun and knife,
And led by martial vanity
   To savag'ry and strife.

And they declared with ve-he-mence
Against all measures for defence,
   Maintaining that a peaceful pose
   Was quite embarrassing to foes,
And gained for the community
Immunity - immunity.
   They said no foe would ever harm
   The nation that refused to arm,
Nor seize the opportunity
   To raise the dread alarm.

Said they, if nations A and B
Sail battleships upon the sea,
   The day will come when some excuse
   They'll coin to let the War Dogs loose,
And shock with their brutality
Morality - morality.
   While nations, D and E who keep
   No fighting ships upon the deep,
Preserve a strict neutrality,
   And all the blessings reap.

'Twas such a very simple plan.
Quite plain to any thinking man:
   For A and B, you understand,
   Would never seek, by sea or land,
To tackle nations D or E
(In theory - good theory).
   Though A and B might rend the skies
   With cannon shot and battle cries,
With nation D, you see, or E
   No trouble could arise.

The Peace Society soon grew
Quite popular, as such things do,
   Its logic was so clear, you see,
   And Michael Slattery, J.P.,
A well respected resident,
Was president - High President,
   And Mr. Obadiah Lee
   Was Treasurer and Secret'ry -
Another noted resident,
   As peaceful as could be.

But in the town of Tooralee
And in full many towns there be
   A certain rowdy element
   Which causes strife and discontent,
And often falls to bickering
When liquoring - wet liquoring.
   Tim Monagin was such a one;
   When sober he was full of fun,
But when he started shickering
   He fairly took the bun.

Pat Lonagin, another lad
In whom the beer brought out the bad,
   Had long with Monagin a feud
   Which, when in liquor, he pursued.
And folk would cry, "There's Lonagin!
He's on agin - he's on agin!
   For all the day an' half the night
   He's scoured the town in search iv fight.
Shure, if he meets wid Monagin
   'Twill be a dandy sight!"

The Peace Society was pained
To see this wicked feud maintained;
   And Michael Slattery, J.P.,
   Suggested unto Mr. Lee
That they might, with impunity,
In unity - sweet unity -
   Approach the ever-warring pair,
   And reconcile them then and there.
They longed for opportunity,
   Their theories to air.

The opportunity came soon:
For on one summer afternoon
   The President and Secret'ry,
   The Peaceful Slattery and Lee,
Came suddenly on Monagin
And Lonagin - wild Lonagin -
   Engaged in sanguinary war;
   And, as they punched and kicked and tore,
Cried Monagin, "Come on agin!"
   While Lonagin he swore.

The President said just one word,
'Twas all the few spectators heard;
   Then Lonagin he turned from Tim
   To Slattery, and went for him
With fierce assault and battery.
On Slattery - mild Slattery -
   Came Lonagin with all his might
   And landed him with left and right.
'Twould be employing flattery
   To call the thing a fight.

And as for Monagin - well, he
Was busily employed with Lee,
   Who wished, and with a wish immense,
   He'd learnt the art of self-defence.
Blind rage and animosity,
Ferocity - ferocity -
   Beseiged the soul of Mr. Lee.
   He longed to slay his enemy,
Who, 'spite his ebriosity,
   Was fighting mighty free.

They say the Peace Society
Is dead in distant Tooralee.
   When next day they met, the President
   Confined his speech to one comment.
"Takes two to make a fight?" says he.
"Quite right," says he - "quite right," says he.
   "But Peace Societies won't do
   Unless the other chap jines too!
I bid you all good night," says he,
   "As President I'm through."

And as for Mr. Lee, he sought
A rude, uncultured man who taught
   The useful art of self-defence.
   He vaguely hopes that some day hence
He'll get a battle on again
With Monagin, mad Monagin,
   And then - but it were wise to state
   That they that learn the art too late
Are apt to find they're gone again.
   It isn't wise to wait.

The lesson is a simple one;
If you refuse to buy a gun
   You'll meet you Monagin some day
   And cut no figure in the fray,
Despite your notoriety
For piety - deep piety.
   A foe's a foe, howe'er you view
   The matter; and it doesn't do
To join a Peace Society
   Unless he joins it too.

First published in The Bulletin, 25 December 1913

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 25, 2013 11:05 AM.

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