The Faithful Soul






'The Hills Exodus is wrong in principle.' Calcutta Press
'The Exodus question is to the Calcutta Press as a red rag
to a bull.' Press of Upper India.

In the nethermost silo of Sheol, where Lawyers and Editors fry,
Was the soul of a turbulent pressman who had lately decided to die.
He had fought on the Exodus Question, and fought on the losing side,
So fired one white-hot leader—then fired a pistol and died.

In the nethermost silo of Sheol he settled himself at his ease,
For Sheol is Shiloh to those who have laboured a public to please
And the roar of the Great Blast-Furnace was sweet to his jaded brain,
For it seemed like the hum of the press-room he never need enter again.

But peace is forbidden in Sheol; and, after an aeon or so,
The heart of the turbulent pressman was filled with an old-time woe—
With the fine, fierce ardour of conflict that harried his spirit on earth,
And he howled:—'I will settle the Question in the ultimate home of its birth.'

As a war-horse answers the bugle, or wild hawk stoops to its prey,
On the lines of the Exodus Question the Editor started the fray;
And proved to the joy of the Devils, in argument terse and clear,
The crime of remaining in Heaven for twelve months out of a year.

He showed-—while the spirits applauded—how most of their torments were bred,
Through 'want of touch' and 'the absence of a permanent, resident head'.
He dwelt on the value of Sheol, which some were disposed to deny—
And scoffed at 'the Capuan playground, as he scoffed in the days gone by.

Though praising the present direction—since Satan deserved much thanks,
For his note on the Sub-Committee's report of the Kerosine Tanks—
His duty towards his fellows and conscience compelled him to state
The staff of subordinate Devils was slack and inadequate.

This rose from the crass indifference displayed by the Powers above,
In the state of the Lower Province, as he was prepared to prove.
By way of clinching the question, he quoted the ruling dry,
On a third reminder from Dives, re roadways and water-supply.

Then, getting abreast of his business, an eloquent hour he spent
On showing that Sheol was made for the seat of the Government.
And, such is the force of statistics, the people of Sheol avowed,
Their own dry climate was better than rainbow and mist and cloud.

* * * * *

Then the days of his torment ended. They called him up from beneath.
He rose with a sneer on his visage—a half-chewed pen in his teeth;
He trampled the amaranth blossoms, the breeze blew cheery and chill.
'What! Work in a perfect climate!' said he, 'I am d—d if I will.

I have lived on the dear old grievance, on Earth, and,—ahem—elsewhere,
At the public meetings down yonder, they vote me into the chair.
And, further, the principle's rotten. You ask me to sanction it—No!
As a practical permanent protest, I choose to remain below!'

And the aeons came and departed, and worlds that were young grew old,
And the Stars burnt out into ashes, and the Sun got dingy and cold.
In the nethermost silo of Sheol with pamphlet, oration, and pen
He threshed out the Exodus Question for ever and ever amen!