Breakfast, by Harry Graham

A favourite poem, and a sobering moral tale
The perfect breakfast, all must own, is that which man enjoys alone
Peace, perfect peace, is found, they say, only with loved ones far away
And there is naught but solitude that suits the matutinal* mood.
But there, alas! are tactless folk who choose that hour to jest and joke
Whose conversation, brisk and bright, just bearable perhaps at night
Fills with intollerable gloom the self-respecting breakfast-room.
Thus, as I verily suspect, are many happy households wrecked
So, when you break your morning fast, let no one share that first repast.
Dean Cope, the eminent divine was breakfasting at half-past nine
Perusing (as he munched his toast) ‘The Anglican or Churchman’s Post’
When in there blew, to his distress, the Bishop of the Diocese
(Most typical in size and girth of the Church Miltant on Earth)
Who shouted “Cheerio, old chap” and gave the Dean a playful slap.
Alas! What ill-timed bonhommie, the Dean inhaled his kedgeree
And turning, with his face all black, he slapped the breezy Bishop back.
Both lost their tempers there and then, and in a trice these holy men
Began (with the most unholy zeal) to throw the remnants of the meal
At one another! Buttered eggs bespattered aprons, gaitered legs
Were splashed with bacon, bits of sole, fell thick on cassock, alb, and stole
The dining-room became a sea of struggling Christianity
And when at last the luckless Dean slipped on a pat of margarine
The Bishop took a careful shot and brained him with the mustard pot.
A sight to make the angels weep! How scandalized the local sheep
Who read descriptions of the scene in ev’ry Parish Magazine.
The Diocese was deeply shocked. The Dean degraded and unfrocked
Found refuge in a city slum, lay-reader to the Deaf and Dumb
The Bishop lost his See, and sank to rural Prebendary’s rank
No, longer in his breezy way he reads the Collect for the Day
Or chants what proper hymns there be for those of Riper Years at Sea.
At Matins and at Evensong his cry goes up, “How long! How Long!”
His groans are heard through aisle and apse, bewailing his untimely lapse
As he repents him of the crime of being bright at breakfast time.
* Pertaining to early morning