A New Profession

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My hopeless boy! when I compare (Claiming a father's right to do so)Your hollow brain, your vacuous air,With all the time, and wealth and care Lavished upon your mental trousseau;

Over my waistcoat's ample pit This ravening grief holds constant session--That through a total lack of witYou are deplorably unfit To follow any known profession.

No tutelary genius shone About your scalp in school or college;Therefore you cannot be a Don,Or anything reposing on A fundamental plinth of knowledge.

You never nursed the godlike spark That kindles men to serve the nation;I trow that, as a Treasury clerk,You never could have made your mark Or even earned a decoration.

The medical prelim, would mar Your hopes of making healthy men sick;And, as for practice at the Bar,Your gifts--I don't know what they are, But know, at least, they're not forensic.

You might, by steady cram, aspire To dodge the test of martial duty;But you have shown no keen desireTo face the pom-pom's withering fire, And die for Haldane, Home and Beauty.

Remains the Church, where you might seek A paltry income from the pew-rate;Yet here, again, I find you weakIn certain graces, such as Greek, That go to make the perfect curate.

Still, there's the chauff--What's that I hear? You wish to say that, thanks to Heaven, youHave found a suitable careerAt some £300 a year Drawn from a grateful country's revenue?

My credulous son! Your faith would break The records of the Middle Ages!Skilled work, and past your wits to fake,Needs must he do who means to make Six of the best in weekly wages!

What's that? The House intends to treat Its private self to public payment?Eventually hopes to meet,By saving money on the Fleet, Its bills for bed and board and raiment?

Embrace me, boy! I felt afraid That you would never find your mission;You knew no sort of craft or trade,But here's your metier ready-made! You shall become a Politician !

My hopes for you, preposterous oaf, Were ashes; now to flame you fan 'em;No need to toil or spin or chauffWhen you can comfortably loaf, And touch £300 per annum.

Embrace your father! You shall see How well the prospect serves to stem his fearHe'll stand his son the entrance fee,And you shall join, a paid M.P., The finest Club in either hemisphere.

© Seaman Owen