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A Gentleman’s Trade

From the Albuquerque Morning Journal, April 15, 1915.

When gentlemen wearied of castle and court
    In kingdoms that flourished of yore,
They deemed it a pleasant and elegant sport
    To mix for a while in war,
And skill with the mace and the crossbow and lance—
    Good well-seasoned killing ability—
Enrolled a man’s name on the scroll of romance
    As a person of lofty gentility.

When guns were invented the man who could aim
    With a steady and murderous eye
Was the man who excelled in the gentleman’s game
    And whose rank was uncommonly high.
Nobility rated according as men
    In murder grew cunning and keen;
The gentle killed five and the gentler killed ten,
    While the gentlest killed twelve or fifteen.

And now, when the howitzers mow down a crowd
    With a single discharge of a shell,
The gentlemen soldiers should feel very proud
    For they seem to be doing quite well.
When sometimes a couple of thousand or more
    Are slaughtered by one cannonade,
It can’t be denied that the business of war
    Is still a real gentleman’s trade.

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