‘The Pelagian Drinking Song’

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!

— Hillaire Belloc

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