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Bland Blairs
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BLAND BLAIRS

By Jerry Kahn in the style of Matthew Prior

 

 

Bound three scores and one,

 

Their course around the sun did run,

 

While empires rose and fell,

 

And others marched through hell,

 

Life for Chris and Connie Blair

 

Were details tended with great care:

 

They pinched coupons from the mags,

 

Washed their rags and reused bags,

 

And empty rooms they were not lit,

 

Of course they had a compost pit.

 

They ate, and cleaned, and walked, and then,

 

Of course they ate, and cleaned, and walked again.

 

The daylight passed, the evening came,

 

And they were always quite the same;

 

They soundly slept the night away,

 

And worked at twiddling all the day.

 

 

 

 

Their money came from five-and-dime,

 

Which maintained them through their lifetime.

 

Two clerks was all the help it took,

 

So all they did was keep the books.

 

Their store and home were an inheritance;

 

It fueled their small-town arrogance.

 

Proud like peacocks for what they had,

 

Possession flaunting made them glad.

 

For them its wealth that measured worth,

 

And was the origin of all their mirth.

 

Their moral values and economy,

 

The couple niggardly agreed:

 

That each virtue has its proper bound,

 

So don't trespass on another's ground;

 

Both charity and help were not their way,

 

For all who took, they had to pay.

 

Their favorite moral recipe:

 

"Never a borrower or beggar be."

 

Even for church, they paid the rate,

 

And nothing more would allocate.

 

They saved and saved for rainy day,

 

And when with age work's passť.

 

 

 

In spite of fragile ways, they had some kids,

 

Because its what tradition bids;

 

Tis Connie's duty to replenish earth,

 

Thus rightly she three times gave birth.

 

With granny's help she raised the kids,

 

And did as the parson bids.

 

Their children were, like them slanted,

 

Because their values they implanted.

 

The kids grew up and went away,

 

And Granny died on Easter Day

 

 

 

At last no more a family them annoyed

 

Freedoms pleasures were now enjoyed;

 

Off to Cancun Hilton for one week,

 

It was experience unique.

 

They bought a cabin at the lake;

 

There theyd go for needed breaks.

 

The Blairs had sat and rocked their days away;

 

Tomorrow was todays replay;

 

Thats the way their time they bide:

 

Nor thought, nor cared, nor laughed, nor cried,

 

And so they lived, and so they died.

 

 

(Inspired by the poem by Matthew Prior, below.)

 

 

        AN EPITAPH

By Matthew Prior, a 17TH century poet

 

Interred beneath this marble stone,

 

Lie sauntering Jack and idle Joan.

 

While rolling threescore years and one

 

Did round this globe their courses run,

 

If human things went ill or well,

 

If changing empires rose or fell,

 

The morning passed, the evening came,

 

And found this couple still the same.

 

They walked and eat, good folks what then?

 

Why then they walked and eat again.

 

They soundly slept the night away;

 

The did just nothing all the day;

 

And having buried children four,

 

Would not take pains to try for more.

 

Nor sister either had, nor brother;

 

They seemed just tallied for each other.

 

Their moral economy

 

Most perfectly they made agree;

 

Each virtue kept it proper bound.

 

Nor trespassed on the others ground.

 

Nor fame nor censure they regarded;

 

They neither punished nor rewarded.

 

He cared not what the footmen did;

 

Her maids she neither praised, nor chid;

 

So every servant took his course,

 

And bad at first, they all grew worse.

 

Slothful disorder filled his stable,

 

And sluttish plenty decked her table.

 

Their beer was strong; their wine was port;

 

Their meal was large; their grace was short.

 

They gave the poor the remnantmeat,

 

Just when it grew not fit to eat.

 

 

 

They paid the church and parish rate,

 

And took, but read not the receipt;

 

For which they claimed their Sundays due,

 

Of slumbering in an upper pew.

 

 

 

No mans defects sought they to know

 

So never made themselves a foe.

 

No mans good deeds did they commend;

 

So never raised themselves a friend.

 

Nor cherished they relations poor,

 

That might decrease their present store;

 

Nor barn nor house did they repair,

 

That might oblige their future heir.

 

 

 

They neither added nor confounded;

 

They neither wanter nor abounded.

 

Each Christmas they accompts did clear,

 

And wound their bottom round the year.

 

Nor tear nor smile did they employ

 

At news of public grief or joy.

 

When bells were rung, and bonfires made,

 

If asked they neer denied their aid:

 

Their jug was to the ringers carried

 

Whoever either died or married.

 

Their billet at the fire was found,

 

Whoever was deposed, or crowned.

 

 

 

 

Nor good, nor bad, nor fools, nor wise;

 

They would not learn, nor could advise:

 

Without love, hatred, joy, or fear,

 

They led a kind of, as it were:

 

Nor wished, nor cared, nor laughed, nor cried;

 

And so they lived; and so they died.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Prior, 1664-1721, English poet and diplomat, buried in Westminster’s Abbey, in the Poet’s Corner.   

Inspired by MATTHEW PRIOR’s satire: AN EPITAPH

Interred beneath this marble stone,

Lie sauntering Jack and idle Joan.

While rolling threescore years and one

Did round this globe their courses run,

If human things went ill or well,

If changing empires rose or fell,

The morning passed, the evening came,

And found this couple still the same.

They walked and eat, good folks——what then?

Why then they walked and eat again.

They soundly slept the night away;

They did just nothing all the day;

And having buried children four,

Would not take pains to try for more.

Nor sister either had, nor brother;

They seemed just tallied for each other.

Their moral economy Most perfectly they made agree;

Each virtue kept it proper bound.

Nor trespassed on the other’s ground.

Nor fame nor censure they regarded;

They neither punished nor rewarded.

He cared not what the footmen did;

Her maids she neither praised, nor chide;

So every servant took his course,

And bad at first, they all grew worse.

Slothful disorder filled his stable,

And sluttish plenty decked her table.

Their beer was strong; their wine was port;

Their meal was large; their grace was short.

They gave the poor the remnant—meat,

Just when it grew not fit to eat.

They paid the church and parish rate,

And took, but read not the receipt;

For which they claimed their Sunday’s due,

Of slumbering in an upper pew.

No man’s defects sought they to know

So never made themselves a foe.

No man’s good deeds did they commend;

So never raised themselves a friend.

Nor cherished they relations poor,

That might decrease their present store;

Nor barn nor house did they repair,

That might oblige their future heir.

They neither added nor confounded;

They neither wanter nor abounded.

Each Christmas they accompts did clear,

And wound their bottom round the year.

Nor tear nor smile did they employ

At news of public grief or joy.

When bells were rung, and bonfires made,

If asked they ne’er denied their aid:

Their jug was to the ringers carried

Whoever either died or married.

Their billet at the fire was found,

Whoever was deposed, or crowned.

Nor good, nor bad, nor fools, nor wise;

They would not learn, nor could advise:

Without love, hatred, joy, or fear,

They led——a kind of——as it were:

Nor wished, nor cared, nor laughed, nor cried;

And so they lived; and so they died.