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This verse was orig­i­nally written in December MMX to subtly poke fun at male cama­raderie, the so-called imper­a­tives of the clubman. For as G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “…the thread of com­rade­ship and con­ver­sa­tion must be pro­tected because it is so friv­o­lous. It must be held sacred, it must not be snapped, because it is not worth tying together again. It is exactly because argu­ment is idle that men (I mean males) must take it seri­ously…,” and, of course, I do not take it seri­ously at all.

That a gen­tleman has needs there is no doubt,
For he must breathe air, slake thirst, and take of meat.
He requires gar­ments tame
To fashion on his frame,
And a house that’s both respectable and neat.

Every Sunday he’s compell’d to some repose,
That he might renew the con­course with his god.
To his con­fessor plead,
Pray the virgin intercede,
Then sing glory, alleluia, praise, and laud.

Domes­ticity befits him very well
And mar­ital con­gress won’t be malign’d.
His son inspires ardour,
For his daughter, he’s a martyr,
And to spousal sat­is­fac­tion he’s inclin’d.

In industry he to the town repairs,
Col­lects his weekly wages from his betters,
Thus employ’d his hand persists,
’Til his beating heart desists,
To pro­vide his house with free­doms not with fetters.

He embodies all the virtues Anglo-Saxon,
Press of busi­ness and a stoic reservation.
His labours né’er will cease,
’Til with Christ he makes his peace,
’Til his fortune’s fix’d in upward animation.

But the cul­tured gen­tleman is oft afflict’d
By the vapours spilling forth from off the sea.
And without his club and fellows,
He’d suc­cumb to foggy gallows.
A sple­netic, morbid chap he’d come to be.

So insist I do upon this solemn want,
That a gen­tleman with­draw from frown of trouble.
May his spirits thus replenish,
May his sorrow thus diminish,
May he hap­pi­ness define and promptly double.

This excludes the min­is­tra­tions of his lover
And the frol­icking of chil­dren at his feet.
Camaraderie’s requir’d,
Drink and smoke is too desir’d,
And an atmos­phere con­ducive to retreat.

Lots of leather, pan­eled walls are much in vogue,
And a hearth­stone set ablaze with fiery might.
On the walls let tro­phies shine,
On the floor let dogs recline.
All dis­cus­sion must be held in warm, dim light.

Here a man may talk of pol­i­tics and parties,
Ethics, œco­nomics, and the derby race,
How one’s clergyman’s a coward,
How the ship of state is power’d,
And how Rochester is lewd but worth his place.

Here a man may ply his verses to his brethren
And receive the crit­i­cism that he may;
And recite his horrid prose,
Looking down his lofty nose,
Quoding Pope and Johnson, Addison and Gay.

To par­take of all the plea­sures there’n provid’d,
Drink his brandy or his scotch — smoke his cigar,
Eat anchovies on his toast,
Of his con­sti­tu­tion boast,
His liver to irreparably scar!

Though he never should exceed temp’rate behaviour,
The dal­liance of this baili­wick he needs.
For without it he’ll go mad
And in bedlam he’ll be had,
Where the worm upon one’s mad­ness ever feeds.

If these prin­ci­ples are kept and né’er abandon’d,
He may hap­pi­ness, con­tent, and virtue know.
He’ll be hus­band to his wife,
In his work there’ll be no strife,
And his for­tune will not ever cease to grow.

I declare it from the seat with much pretension.
This opinion do I foster as a truth:
That a man must needs retire
To a drink, pipe, friend, and fire.
Need I fur­nish more than what I have as proof?