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The Best Pipe



In vain you fervently extol,
In vain you puff, your cutty clay.
A twelvemonth smoked and black as coal,
'Tis redolent of rank decay
And bones of monks long passed away—
A fragrance I do not admire;
And so I hold my nose and say,
Give me a finely seasoned briar.

Macleod, whose judgment on the whole
Is faultless, has been led astray
To nurse a high-born meerschaum bowl,
For which he sweetly had to pay.
Ah, let him nurse it as he may,
Before the colour mounts much higher,
The grate shall be its fate one day.
Give me a finely seasoned briar.

The heathen Turk of Istamboul,
In oriental turban gay,
Delights his unbelieving soul
With hookahs, bubbling in a way
To fill a Christian with dismay
And wake the old Crusading fire.
May no such pipe be mine, I pray;
Give me a finely seasoned briar.

Clay, meerschaum, hookah, what are they
That I should view them with desire?
Both now, and when my hair is grey,
Give me a finely seasoned briar.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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