The Fowl






A noble lesson this should teach,
Dear children unto you.
If other people's goods you reach,
Of rectitude 'twill be a breach,
Or parsons will your virtues preach,
According to the point of view,
Or to the kind of folks you 'do'.

You steal a chicken off a fence
  With wrath the pious shake,
Although you say with eloquence
The owner used it ill, and hence
You kindly sought to recompense
The bird for troubles past, and make
It happier, for Heaven's sake.

But if you are a statesman grand,
And ships and armies raise,
To steel some feeble niggers' land,
To make its folks a Christian band,
To take their moral weal in hand
The Empire echoes with your praise,
And churches bless you all your days.

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