The Vindication
of Grant Duff




'So are they all, all honourable men.
—See today's telegram.'




The man who digs himself a tomb
And hastes to drop forgotten in it,
May justly, ere he meets his doom,
Address Creation in a Minute.
It cannot harm a reputation
Gone past all prospect of salvation.

'Oh! very honourable men'—
Thus writes the Ruler of Madras—
"Your enemies" are happy, when
The bounds of right you overpass.
And, since they are so spiteful—why,
When you go wrong, the fact deny?

All grossly patent forms of fraud
Are inexpedient, because
They to our enemies afford
Excuse to prate of breach of laws.
Don't blush, my friends! I also find
How soon old rules slip out of mind.

The Decalogue, for instance, is
A simple Code of Sections ten,
Yet we occasionally miss
An odd commandment now and then.
Well—Laws are long and Life is short!
So, keep your trading out of Court .

Observe, I drop no word of blame,
No syllable of censure mild;
Nor can men's "spiteful nonsense" shame
My colleagues pure and undefiled.
But since the world is so abusive,
Don't make your land-jobs too obtrusive.

You see, a narrow-minded herd
By spite and malice actuated,
Take views which are, we know, absurd
Of lapses such as I have stated.
Wherefore, I do adjure you, then,
Keep straight in public, gentlemen.

Buy land in provinces afar—
The sinful Pioneer eschew;
Mistrust the wily zemindar
Who notes whate'er you say and do.
So shall each full of honours die
A pure and pensioned C.S.I.

Fit ending to a fit career—
A dwindling reputation's close—
But, let us, while we scoff, revere
The man who, even as he goes,
Paints in the shame with artist hand,
And flaunts the picture through the land.