The Logical Vegetarian - (2014)
G. K. Chesterton
for baritone and piano
You will find me drinking rum,
Like a sailor in a slum,
You will find me drinking beer like a Bavarian.
You will find me drinking gin
In the lowest kind of inn,
Because I am a rigid Vegetarian.
So I cleared the inn of wine,
And I tried to climb the sign,
And I tried to hail the constable as “Marion.”
But he said I couldn’t speak,
And he bowled me to the Beak
Because I was a Happy Vegetarian.
Oh, I knew a Doctor Gluck,
And his nose it had a hook,
And his attitudes were anything but Aryan;
So I gave him all the pork
That I had, upon a fork;
Because I am myself a Vegetarian.
I am silent in the Club,
I am silent in the pub,
I am silent on a bally peak in Darien;
For I stuff away for life
Shoving peas in with a knife,
Because I am at heart a Vegetarian.
No more the milk of cows
Shall pollute my private house
Than the milk of the wild mares of the Barbarian;
I will stick to port and sherry,
For they are so very, very,
So very, very, very Vegetarian.
5 pages, circa 3' 15"
G. K. Chesterton
The text is found in Wine, Water and Song, Poems by G. K. Chesterton; 1915, Methuen and Co., London. Spirits made from various grains and grapes and other plants certainly qualify the hearty imbiber as a 'vegetarian' in the mind of a witty intellect, writer of prose and rhyme, lay theologian and philosopher.
Chesterton advised: "Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. Never drink when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced gin-drinker in the slum; but drink when you would be happy without it, and you will be like the laughing peasant of Italy. Never drink because you need it, for this is rational drinking, and the way to death and hell. But drink because you do not need it, for this is irrational drinking, and the ancient health of the world."
He also observed: "Man is always something worse or something better than an animal; and a mere argument from animal perfection never touches him at all. Thus, in sex no animal is either chivalrous or obscene. And thus no animal invented anything so bad as drunkenness – or so good as drink."
For other settings of Chesterton's texts, click here.
An arch of parallel diatonic triads with a step motion bass line accompany the opening strophes. Tempo changes and more complex harmonies carry the middle strophes, and the last strophe returns to the opening with a short coda to end this tribute to drink.
The score for The Logical Vegetarian is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.
The Logical Vegetarian