A Dream of Hindostan

" THE longer one lives, the more one learns, "
Said I, as off to sleep I went,
Bemused with thinking of Tithe concerns,
And reading a book by the Bishop of Ferns ,
On the Irish Church Establishment.
But lo! in sleep not long I lay,
When Fancy her usual tricks began,
And I found myself bewitched away
To a goodly city in Hindostan —
A city where he who dares to dine
On aught but rice is deemed a sinner;
Where sheep and kine are held divine,
And accordingly — never drest for dinner.

" But how is this? " I wondering cried —
As I walkt that city fair and wide,
And saw, in every marble street,
A row of beautiful butchers' shops —
" What means, for men who don't eat meat,
" This grand display of loins and chops? "
In vain I askt — 't was plain to see
That nobody dared to answer me.

So on from street to street I strode:
And you can't conceive how vastly odd
The butchers lookt — a roseate crew,
Inshrined in stalls with naught to do;
While some on a bench , half dozing, sat,
And the Sacred Cows were not more fat.
Still posed to think what all this scene
Of sinecure trade was meant to mean,
" And, pray, " askt I — " by whom is paid
The expense of this strange masquerade? " —
" The expense! — oh! that 's of course defrayed
(Said one of these well-fed Hecatombers)
" By yonder rascally rice-consumers. "
" What! they who must n't eat meat! " —
No matter —
(And while he spoke his cheeks grew fatter,)
" The rogues may munch their Paddy crop,
" But the rogues must still support our shop,
" And depend upon it, the way to treat
" Heretical stomachs that thus dissent,
" Is to burden all that won't eat meat,
" With a costly M EAT E STABLISHMENT . "

On hearing these words so gravely said,
With a volley of langhter loud I shook,
And my slumber fled and my dream was sped,
And I found I was lying snug in bed,
With my nose in the Bishop of Ferns'S book.
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