Last Songs from Vagabondia

by Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey


 

IN PHILISTIA


 

OF all the places on the map,
Some queer and others queerer,
Arcadia is dear to me,
Philistia is dearer.

There dwell the few who never knew

5
The pangs of heavenly hunger,
As fresh and fair and fond and frail
As when the world was younger.

If there is any sweeter sound
Than bobolinks or thrushes,

10
It is the frou-frou of their silks—
The roll of their barouches.

I love them even when they’re good,
As well as when they’re sinners—
When they are sad and worldly wise

15
And when they are beginners.

(I say I do; of course the fact,
For better or for worse, is,
My unerratic life denies
My too erotic verses.)

20

I dote upon their waywardness,
Their foibles and their follies.
If there’s a madder pate than Di’s,
Perhaps it may be Dolly’s.

They have no "problems" to discuss,

25
No "theories" to discover;
They are not "new"; and I—I am
Their very grateful lover.

I care not if their minds confuse
Alastor with Aladdin;

30
And Cimabue is far less
To them than Chimmie Fadden.

They never heard of William Blake,
Nor saw a Botticelli;
Yet one is, "Yours till death, Louise,"

35
And one, "Your loving Nelly."

They never tease me for my views,
Nor tax me with my grammar;
Nor test me on the latest news,
Until I have to stammer.

40

They never talk about their "moods,"
They never know they have them;
The world is good enough for them,
And that is why I love them.

They never puzzle me with Greek,

45
Nor drive me mad with Ibsen;
Yet over forms as fair as Eve’s
They wear the gowns of Gibson.