More Songs from Vagabondia

by Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey


 

BARNEY MCGEE


 

BARNEY McGEE, there’s no end of good luck in you,
Will-o’-the-wisp, with a flicker of Puck in you,
Wild as a bull-pup and all of his pluck in you,—
Let a man tread on your coat and he’ll see!—
Eyes like the lakes of Killarney for clarity,
5
Nose that turns up without any vulgarity,
Smile like a cherub, and hair that is carroty,—
Wow, you’re a rarity, Barney McGee!
Mellow as Tarragon,
Prouder than Aragon—
10
Hardly a paragon,
You will agree—
Here’s all that’s fine to you!
Books and old wine to you!
Girls be divine to you,
15
Barney McGee!

Lucky the day when I met you unwittingly,
Dining where vagabonds came and went flittingly.
Here’s some Barbera to drink it befittingly,
That day at Silvio’s, Barney McGee!

20
Many’s the time we have quaffed our Chianti there,
Listened to Silvio quoting us Dante there,—
Once more to drink Nebiolo spumante there,
How we’d pitch Pommery into the sea!
There where the gang of us
25
Met ere Rome rang of us,
They had the hang of us
To a degree.
How they would trust to you!
That was but just to you.
30
Here’s o’er their dust to you,
Barney McGee!

Barney McGee, when you’re sober you scintillate,
But when you’re in drink you’re the pride of the intellect;
Divil a one of us ever came in till late,

35
Once at the bar where you happened to be —
Every eye there like a spoke in you centering,
You with your eloquence, blarney, and bantering—
All Vagabondia shouts at your entering,
King of the Tenderloin, Barney McGee!
40
There’s no satiety
In your society
With the variety
Of your esprit.
Here’s a long purse to you,
45
And a great thirst to you!
Fate be no worse to you,
Barney McGee!

Och, and the girls whose poor hearts you deracinate,
Whirl and bewilder and flutter and fascinate!

50
Faith, it’s so killing you are, you assassinate,—
Murder’s the word for you, Barney McGee!
Bold when they’re sunny and smooth when they’re showery,—
Oh, but the style of you, fluent and flowery!
Chesterfield’s way, with a touch of the Bowery!
55
How would they silence you, Barney machree?
Naught can your gab allay,
Learned as Rabelais
(You in his abbey lay
Once on the spree).
60
Here’s to the smile of you,
(Oh, but the guile of you!)
And a long while of you,
Barney McGee!

Facile with phrases of length and Latinity,

65
Like honorificabilitudinity,
Where is the maid could resist your vicinity,
Wiled by the impudent grace of your plea?
Then your vivacity and pertinacity
Carry the day with the divil’s audacity;
70
No mere veracity robs your sagacity
Of perspicacity, Barney McGee.
When all is new to them,
What will you do to them?
Will you be true to them?
75
Who shall decree?
Here’s a fair strife to you!
Health and long life to you!
And a great wife to you,
Barney McGee!
80

 

Barney McGee, you’re the pick of gentility;
Nothing can phase you, you’ve such a facility;
Nobody ever yet found your utility,—
That is the charm of you, Barney McGee;
Under conditions that others would stammer in,

85
Still unperturbed as a cat or a Cameron,
Polished as somebody in the Decameron,
Putting the glamour on prince or Pawnee!
In your meanderin’,
Love, and philanderin’,
90
Calm as a mandarin
Sipping his tea!
Under the art of you,
Parcel and part of you,
Here’s to the heart of you,
95
Barney McGee!

You who were ever alert to befriend a man,
You who were ever the first to defend a man,
You who had always the money to lend a man,
Down on his luck and hard up for a V!
Sure, you’ll be playing a harp in beatitude

100
(And a quare sight you will be in that attitude)—
Some day, where gratitude seems but a platitude,
You’ll find your latitude, Barney McGee.
That’s no flim-flam at all,
Frivol or sham at all,
105
Just the plain— Damn it all,
Have one with me!
Here’s luck and more to you!
Friends by the score to you,
True to the core to you,
110
Barney McGee!