O Baal, Hear Us!
Scene: A Palace in Cloudland.
MORAL TEXT-BOOK COMMITTEE
discoered at a round table, singing.
From over the sea,
From the land where philosophers plenty be
From the land that produced no Kants with a K,
But many Cants with a C.
Where the Hodmadod crawls in its shell confined,
The Symbol exalted of Fetterless Mind,
And Arithmetic sits on her throne of pride
As Theology personified.
We have fished in the Lake,
And the Worm wouldn't bite.
Our preachers have covered
The Pit from our sight.
By the wisdom of Comte
We have learned to devise
Our own little roofs, and
Dispense with the skies.
The Gods and the Godlings
On dust-laden shelves
Repose for a sign.
We are all Gods ourselves!
And so we come here
With gum-pot and shear
Devoid of convictions, but blessed with long faces,
From every land's vext Book
To clip out a text-book
Which gives us religion on natural bases .
PRESIDENT (solo, tremolo)
In Afric's sunny clime the slave
Assuages both catarrh and grief
By blowing of his nose upon
The Moral Pocket-handkerchief.
His fetich grins beneath the tree
A skull, three rags, an ostrich-feather;
He turns aside to us who give
Good texts and textile goods together.
Ber-etheren, ere ye stain the pen,
Think of that joyous Afrikander;
What saith the Chief of Married Men?
Sauce for the goose will suit the gander.]
(Flourish of silver trumpets)
In the name of the Great God Fudge,
I charge ye take good heed
To weigh and sift and sniff and judge
The merits of every creed,
That no man may your wage begrudge,
That your fame may be great indeed.
Who have gotten a God at the Government's nod
In the land where the deities breed.
The COMMITTEE fall to their labours.
The INDIAN PANTHEON rises behind them in red fire.
CHORUS OF THE INDIAN PANTHEON
We be the Gods of the East,
Older than all
Rulers of Greatest and Least,
Rulers of Mourning and Feast,
Rulers of Man and of Beast.
How shall we fall
Whose feet are made firm on men's necks—
Whose hands hold their heart-strings in thrall?
Over the strife of the schools
Low the day burns;
Back as the kine to the pools
Each one returns
To the life that he knows, where the altar-flame glows, and the
tulsi is trimmed in the urns.
Will they gape for the husks that ye proffer,
Or move to your song?
And we—have we nothing to offer
Who held them so long
In the cloud of the incense, the clash of the cymbal, the blare
Of the conch and the gong?
We'll get the text-book ready as quickly as we can
For the Ary-for the Ary- for the Ary-an!
I'll go and hunt the Vedas while you play with the Ko-ran"
For the Ary- for the Ary- for the Ary-an!
DUET AND DANCE
Oh, isn't it nice to root out Vice, and usher Virtue in!
And isn't it sad a cultured lad should stumble into sin!
We d like to have him moral; but, oh, where shall we begin
With the Ary- with the Ary- with the Ary-an?
CHORUS OF COMMITTEE
Help the Ary- help the Ary- help the Ary-an!
Three-and-thirty million Gods don't improve a man!
Wait till we have forced our potted morals in a can
Down the Ary- down the Ary- down the Ary-an!
PRESIDENT (patter-song with piccolo accompaniment)
Take a little Rabelais—just a garlic hint;
Out of Locke and Bacon steal something fit to print.
Grind em down with Butler, add morsels of Voltaire;
Don't forget the `Precious Fools sketched by Molière!
Robert Elsmere, Mallock, Hume, Gibbon (on his knees).
Knock the Ten Commandments out if they fail to please;
Substitute the Penal Code—sections underlined.
There you have a perfect book to form the infant mind!
(Encore verses may be introduced here according
to the taste of the singer or the educational policy
of the Government of India.)
[AERIAL CHORUS OF INVISIBLES (Stringed instruments only)
The kine went forth to the clover
In the flush of the morning-tide,
But long ere the day was over
They suffered from pains inside
They laid them down in the clover
They swelled and they bust and they died.
Now was it the fault of the clover
That tenders its bloom to the bees?
And how did the kine come over
From the scant, dry grass of the leas,
To eat and to burst in the clover
That never had injured the bees?
(Con molt. ezp.)
They had opened the gates to the clover,
They said it would fatten the kine;
But never a man could discover
It was wrong for cattle to dine
On the windy and wine-red clover,
Too fair—too free—and too fine. (his)]
The COMMITTEE conclude their labours,
and produce Moral Text-Book
wrapped in a white handkerchief.
Now whoso sneers
At our paste and shears
May go, if he can, to the Deuce!
We have built for the Pagan
A first-class Dagon
For strictly official use.
[(They dance round the M. TB. with appropriate gestures.)]
CHORUS OF ADMIRING ARYAVARTAS
(organ, plagal cadence)
When Dagon was builded of old
By the Demons who wrought in a day,
His forehead was brazen, his belly was gold,
And his throne was the red river-clay
[And the tempest dissolved it away—]
But our masters are wiser than they.
For when Dagon was builded anew,
By the breath of their order they made him;
By the froth of their ink-pots they stayed him,
In cut-paper frills they arrayed him,
The subtle, the supple, the new,
Who is greater than scourges or rods
An olla podrida
Of Faiths and Fifth-Reader,
The Friend of all Possible Gods!
[COMMITTEE (scattering text-books abroad)
It s bound in cloth and it's one rupee,
And a very good thing you ll find it.
It may almost pass for—what you please,
If nobody gets behind it.
(Grand general walk-round of COMMITTEE
Bundles of M.T.B. their arms; hats over one eye.)
We don't know anything about it at all,
But here s the book you see;
So we'll supply the school and cry:
`Are you there Mor-al-i-tee?
(Kick-dance in order of Seniority)
(f)We don't care anything about it at all,
For devil a faith have we;
But we'll all look sly and gaily cry:
`Are you there mor-al-i-tee?"
BOUQUETS, BLUE-FIRE, GENERAL
REFORMATION AND CURTAIN.]