Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PIRON, AND THE JUDGE OF THE POLICE, by HORACE SMITH



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PIRON, AND THE JUDGE OF THE POLICE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Piron, a poet of the gallic nation
Last Line: "so we are quits."
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Goddesses & Gods; Judges; Mythology; Poetry & Poets; Police


PIRON, a Poet of the Gallic nation,
Who beat all waggish rivals hollow,
Was apt to draw his inspiration
Rather from Bacchus than Apollo.
His hostess was his deity,
His Hippocrene was eau-de-vie;
And though 'tis said
That poets live not till they die,
When living he was often dead --
That is to say, dead drunk. "While I,"
Quoth Piron, "am by all upbraided
With drunkenness, the vilest, worst,
Most base, detestable, degraded,
Of sins that ever man repented,
None of you blames this cursed thirst
With which I'm constantly tormented. --
Worse than a cholic or a phthisic,
Even now it gripes me so severely,
That I must fly to calm it, merely
Swallowing brandy as a physic."

To cure this unrelenting fever
He poured such doses through his lips, he
Was shortly what the French call ivre,
Anglice -- tipsy;
And while the midnight bell was pealing
Its solemn tolling,
Our Bacchanal was homeward reeling,
Tumbling and rolling,
Until at last he made a stop,
Suffering his noddle, which he could not keep
Upright, upon the ground to drop,
And in two minutes was asleep,
Fast as a top.

Round came the guard, and seeing him extended
Across the gutter
Incompetent to move or utter,
They thought at first his days were ended;
But finding that he was not dead,
Having lost nothing but his head,
They popped him on a horse's back,
Just like a sack,
And shot him on the guard-house floor,
To let him terminate his snore.

Next morning when our tippling bard
Had got his senses,
They brought a coach into the yard,
And drove him off to answer his offences,
Before the Judge of the Police,
Who made a mighty fuss and clamour;
But, like some Justices of peace,
Who know as much of law as grammar,
Was an egregious ninny-hammer.
"Well, fellow," cried the magistrate,
"What have you got to say for boozing,
Then lying in the street and snoozing
All night in that indecent state?"
"Sir," quoth the culprit to the man of law,
"It was a frost last night in town,
And tired of tripping, sliding, and slipping,
Methought I might as well lie down,
And wait until there came a thaw."
"Pooh! nonsense! psha!
Imprisonment must be the lot
Of such a vagabond and sot.
But, tell me, fellow, what's your name?"
"PIRON." -- "The dramatist?" -- "The same."
"Ah, well, well, well, Monsieur PIRON,
Pray take your hat and quit the court,
For wags like you must have their sport;
But recollect, when you are gone,
You'll owe me one and thus I shew it:
I have a brother who's a poet,
And lives as you do, by his wits."
Quoth PIRON, "that can never pass,
For I've a brother who's an ass,
So we are quits."





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