The Pelagian Drinking Song

Song of the Pelagian Heresy for the Strengthening of Men's Backs
and the very Robust Out-thrusting of Doubtful Doctrine and the
Uncertain Intellectual.

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

Grizzlebeard. 'This song is blasphemous.'
The Sailor. 'Not at all--the exact contrary, it is orthodox. But
now I beg of you not to interrupt, for this is the semi-chorus.'


Oh, 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.

In this semi-chorus we all joined, catching up as he went
along, and then the Sailor, begging us to put all our manhood into
it, launched upon the chorus itself, which was both strong and


With my row-ti-tow, ti-oodly-ow,
He laughed at original sin!

When we had got as far as this, which was the end of the first
verse, and defines the matter in hand, the very extravagant noise of
it all brought out from their dens not a few of the neighbourhood,
who listened and waited to see what would come. But the Sailor,
not at all abashed, continued, approaching the second verse.

Whereat the Bishop of old Auxerre
(Germanus was his name),
He tore great handfuls out of his hair,
And he called Pelagius Shame:
And then with his stout Episcopal staff
So thoroughly thwhacked and banged
The heretics all, both short and tall,
They rather had been hanged.


Oh, he thwhacked 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, ti-oodly-ow,
Their orthodox persu-a-a-sions!

At the end of this second verse the crowd had grown greater,
and not a few of them had dropped their lower jaws and stood with
their mouths wide open, never having heard a song of this kind
before. But the Sailor, looking kindly upon them, and nodding at
them, as much as to say, 'You will understand it all in a minute,'
took on the third verse, with still greater gusto, and sang:--

Now the Faith is old and the Devil is 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
Oh--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 whatever good things
Our Christendom brings,
But especially barley brew!


With my row-ti-tow, Ti-oodly-ow,
Especially barley brew!

When we had finished this last chorus in a louder mode than all
the rest, you may say that half the inhabitants of that hill were
standing round. But the Sailor, rising smartly and putting money
down upon the table to pay for our fare and somewhat over, bade us
all rise with him, which we did, and then he spoke thus to the

'Good people! I trust you clearly heard every word of what we
have just delivered to you, for it is Government business, and we
were sent to give it to you just as we had ourselves received it of
the Cabinet, whose envoys we are. And let me add for your
comfort that this same Government of our Lord the King (his
crown and dignity), ever solicitious for the welfare of the poorer folk,
has given us monies wherewith to refresh all the people of Sussex
all our way along. On which account I have left here upon the
table, in the name of the aforesaid Right Honourables, a sum of
five shillings, against which you may order ale to the breaking
point, and so good-day to you. But you are strictly charged that
you do not follow us or molest us in any fashion, to the offence
of those good Ministers who lie awake at night, considering the
good of the people, and the service of our Lord the King (his
crown and dignity). Oyez! Le Roi le veult!'


Send questions and comments to:

Back to R_Catholic-L
Back to R_Catholic-L