English poetry

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To A Stuffed Shirt

To A Stuffed Shirt

On the tide you ride head high,
Like a whale ‘mid little fishes;
I should envy you as I
Help my wife to wash the dishes.
Yet frock-coat and stove-pipe hat
Cannot hide your folds of fat.

You are reckoned a success,
And the public praise you win;
There’s your picture in the Press,
Pouchy eyes and triple chin.
Wealth, of it you fairly stink;
Health, what does your Doctor think?

Dignity is phoney stuff.
Who is dignified deep down?
Strip the pants off, call the bluff,
Common clay are king and clown.
Let a bulging belly be
Your best bid for dignity.

Miserable millionaire!
For indulgence you must pay.
Yet there’s salvation in prayer,
Down on your fat knees and pray.
Know that with your dying breath
There is dignity in death.



Poem To A Stuffed Shirt - Robert William Service