Let Us All Be Unhappy On Sunday

A Lyric for Saturday Night

We zealots, made up of stiff clay,
The sour-looking children of sorrow,
While not over-jolly today,
Resolve to be wretched tomorrow.
We can’t for a certainty tell
What mirth may molest us on Monday;
But, at least, to begin the week well,
Let us all be unhappy on Sunday.

That day, the calm season of rest,
Shall come to us freezing and frigid;
A gloom all our thoughts shall invest,
Such as Calvin would call over-rigid,
With sermons from morning to night,
We’ll strive to be decent and dreary:
To preachers a praise and delight,
Who ne’er think that sermons can weary ...

All tradesmen cry up their own wares;
In this they agree well together:
The Mason by stone and lime swears;
The Tanner is always for leather.
The Smith still for iron would go;
The Schoolmaster stands up for teaching;
And the Parson would have you to know,
There's nothing on earth like his preaching.

The face of kind Nature is fair;
But our system obscures its effulgence:
How sweet is a breath of fresh air!
But our rules don't allow the indulgence.
These gardens, their walks and green bowers,
Might be free to the poor man for one day;
But no, the glad plants and gay flowers
Mustn't bloom or smell sweetly on Sunday.

What though a good precept we strain
Till hateful and hurtful we make it!
What though, in thus pulling the rein,
We may draw it as tight as to break it!
Abroad we forbid folks to roam,
For fear they get social or frisky;
But of course they can sit still at home,
And get dismally drunk upon whisky.

Then, though we can't certainly tell
How mirth may molest us on Monday;
At least, to begin the week well,
Let us all be unhappy on Sunday.

--Charles Lord Neaves





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