John Betjeman

An Impoverished Irish Peer

Within that parsonage
There is a personage
Who owns a mortgage
       On His Lordship’s land,
On his fine plantations,
Well speculated,
With groves of beeches
       On either hand – 
On his ten ton schooner
Upon Loch Gowna,
And the silver birches
       Along the land –
Where the little pebbles 
Do sing like trebles
As the waters bubble
       Upon the strand – 

On his gateway olden
Of plaster moulded
And his splendid carriage way
       To Castle Grand,
(They’ve been acquainted
For a book that’s printed
And even wanted
       In far England)
His fine saloons there
Would make you swoon, sir,
And each surrounded
       By a gilded band – 
And ‘tis there Lord Ashtown
Lord Trimlestown and
Clonmore’s Lord likewise
       Are entertained.

As many flunkeys
As Finnea has donkeys
Are there at all times
       At himself’s command.
Though he doesn’t pay them
They all obey him
And would sure die for him
       If he waved his hand;
Yet if His Lordship
Comes for to worship
At the Holy Table
       To take his stand,
Though humbly kneeling
There’s no fair dealing
And no kind feeling
       In the parson’s hand.
Preaching of Liberty
Also of Charity
In the grand high pulpit
       To see him stand,
You’d think that personage
In that parsonage
Did own no mortgage
       On His Lordship’s land.