Monday, August 03, 2009

The Pelagian Drinking Song

I'd love anyone who could point me to a tune I could sing this thing to! It was written by Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953), and I understand they sing it at meetings of the Belloc Society. I'm sure it can't be fully appreciated until it's seen performed with much clanking of beer steins on wooden tables.

Pelagius lived at Kardanoel
And taught a doctrine there
How, whether you went to heaven or to hell
It was your own affair.
It had nothing to do with the Church, my boy,
But was your own affair.

No, he didn't believe
In Adam and Eve
He put no faith therein!
His doubts began
With the Fall of Man
And he laughed at Original Sin.
With my row-ti-tow
He laughed at original sin.

Then came the bishop of old Auxerre
Germanus was his name
He tore great handfuls out of his hair
And he called Pelagius shame.
And with his stout Episcopal staff
So thoroughly whacked and banged
The heretics all, both short and tall --
They rather had been hanged.

Oh he whacked them hard, and he banged them long
Upon each and all occasions
Till they bellowed in chorus, loud and strong
Their orthodox persuasions.
With my row-ti-tow
Their orthodox persuasions.

Now the faith is old and the Devil bold
Exceedingly bold indeed.
And the masses of doubt that are floating about
Would smother a mortal creed.
But we that sit in a sturdy youth
And still can drink strong ale
Let us put it away to infallible truth
That always shall prevail.

And thank the Lord
For the temporal sword
And howling heretics too.
And all good things
Our Christendom brings
But especially barley brew!
With my row-ti-tow
Especially barley brew!

On a vaguely related note, I've just run across a Catholic blessing for beer and learned that the Latin word for "beer" is "cerevisae", which explains why the species of yeast that's commonly used in lab research is called saccharomyces cerevisiae-- it was probably first isolated for study from beer. :)


Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Yeast - brilliant!

Gabriella said...

The tune is 'British Grenadiers' :)


Rachel Gray said...

Oh Gabriella, THANK YOU!! :)