(((while the patron,
((((Something of a specialist in the art of good living,
Who would shudder to see an expensive fruit
Given to the kiss of a steel blade)))),
Knowing that all men carry, wisely hidden
In a bulging sack which they would rather believe was flat,
Their personal faults upon their backs,
Seeking the swing of the thurible to secure their salvation,
So that fortune will favour them, she whose wheel's
Spokes move, turning without peace and without cease,
- Like the hat of a simpleton before his superior -
Like any host he flatters, pays heed, agrees with an important person,
Even when it is affirmed: - that to save money
One should never pay the cobbler's bill;
- That a dwarf no taller than your waist, standing in front of a mirror,
Would seem like a giant if placed under a dolmen;
- That it is necessary, when dinner is served, to force a man to eat
Whose family is infected with ringworm;
- That there is more instinctive feeling between a woman and her husband
Than between an old maid and her canary;
- That across the Channel, for certain intimate ablutions,
Necessarily performed blind, the Times is never used;
- That a tuberculosis sufferer in Paris, more quickly than in Menton,
Gains weight through peace and fresh air alone;
- That in deference to asparagus in May, when he urinates,
The replete gourmet never closes his eyes and flares his nostrils;
- That it is ignorant in its glass cage, the little frog, when according
To its own fancy it ascends or descends a rung of its ladder;
- That a fly swimming in one's cup enhances
The attraction exercised by the drink contained therein;
- That it is as well to be so sensitive to cold as to raise one's collar
When mercury freezes and alcohol becomes necessary;
- That there is nothing remotely boot-shaped about that country
Where, according to Mignon, the bees always buzz;
- When a poltroon receives without quaking a duelling-card
That he will have none other come against him than Tell;
- That the fire was designed to bend still further the backs of the Czars,
That in brilliant strategy was lit by Rasputin;
- That a released cork, rather than an unreleased one, in flight
Would jump across the length of a high ceiling;
- That the sum of stars is increased around
The Moon, the rounder and brighter she is;
- That nobody was the equal of Napoleon 1st
In the art of avoiding eating his bread first;
- That with the art of exposing the shortcomings of the bluestocking*
Moliere has never gifted the servant;
- That everybody would refuse he who politely
Asks permission before opening an envelope in company;
- That if a black specimen is a rare thing amongst pearls
As opposed to white, then the same is the case with swifts;
- That he who has been dealt a good hand in a game of Nain
Jaune* would much rather finish without having had the hand;
- That it was far from his Spring when, moved by an alder tree,
The human St. Martin gave his cloak to the poor;
- That in love nothing could be the equal of Onan
With his universal law of "gimme gimme";
- That the sound is changed less effectively by an accidental
Than by a key-change at the double-bar;
- That the ant has always, for his unaware neighbour,
Obligingly provided everything when the North Wind blows;
- That Attila, more highly valued than his elder Rodrigo,
Is more feted in famous Alexandrines;
- That a curved route, when running towards a sudden noise,
Is more direct than a straight for connecting two points;
- That the most noble weapon is the anonymous letter
Used for defaming one's rivals in the battle for honours;
- That there is a letter which, disgusted, the noble Calino
Threw unopened into the waste-paper basket -
Or that a law excluding females exists in the bee world;)))



*Bluestocking. i.e. femme savante, from Moliere's play of that title.
*Nain Jaune. A card game called Pope Joan.


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1.
What prosperities, what fine fortunes,
To him who is not blind, clearly spring from an infamous source!
The piano prize depends more for the woman
Upon the number of admirers she has on the jury
Than upon her playing and upon her developed talents
Which she either reveals or not while playing her sonata;
Many an X... Spa owes less to its bicarbonate
Than to the gamblers who frequent its casino at night.


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