“The Yearly Lie” by Ambrose Bierce

Xmas Special:
Hail Bierce.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Yearly Lie”

Ambrose Bierce

A merry Christmas? Prudent, as I live!—
You wish me something that you need not give.

Merry or sad, what does it signify?
To you ‘t is equal if I laugh, or die.

Your hollow greeting, like a parrot’s jest,
Finds all its meaning in the ear addressed.

Why “merry” Christmas? Faith, I’d rather frown
Than grin and caper like a tickled clown.

When fools are merry the judicious weep;
The wise are happy only when asleep.

A present? Pray you give it to disarm
A man more powerful to do you harm.

‘T was not your motive? Well, I cannot let
You pay for favors that you’ll never get.

Perish the savage custom of the gift,
Founded in terror and maintained in thrift!

What men of honor need to aid their weal
They purchase, or, occasion serving, steal.

Go celebrate the day with turkeys, pies,
Sermons and psalms, and, for the children, lies.

Let Santa Claus descend again the flue;
If Baby doubt it, swear that it is true.

“A lie well stuck to is as good as truth,”
And God’s too old to legislate for youth.

Hail Christmas! On my knees and fowl I fall:
For greater grace and better gravy call.
Vive l’Humbug!—that’s to say, God bless us all!