Vain Protestations

by John Crowe Ransom

John Crowe Ransom

What sort of notion is this, Abbott, dear man?
It isn't as if one had to bring oneself
To kiss the royal bottom of the Guelph,
Can't you control your devils any better than
To sputter this obscene blab, you Caliban,
And hadn't you rather acknowledge a higher power
By simple gesture than mould in your ratty tower
In cold and loneliness and hate unchristian?—
But no, Cousin Paul! You can't scare a man like him,
That isn't the way! Abbott, for your brother's sake,
For the tenants, the land, a father's good name, don't make
A breach in the etiquette of the royal visit—
But Paul! there's something splendid about this—or is it
Terrible, rather—or eerie—or what synonym?—

Last updated March 26, 2023