for his stalwart but sometimes uncouth friend, Christopher Hitchens
Don’t tipple at tiffin1
Or roar2 for your rum.
Don’t scowl at a griffin3 –
You’ll only look dumb.
Don’t nobble your neighbour4
Or haver5 at bees;
But strive to be kindly
And always to please.6
1 Hitchens is known to imbibe immoderately at luncheon.
2 When his drink is slow in coming to the table, Hitchens often raises his voice at the waiter/bartender.
3 The griffin, being a union of terrestrial beast and aerial bird, is seen in Christianity as a symbol of Jesus, whom Hitchens deplores.
4 In the ‘Watkins leaving-present affair’ of the late 1970s, Hitchens collected handsome subscriptions from his fellow New Statesman staffers for the departing Alan Watkins, yet produced a meagre gift.
5 Hitchens is wont to haver at any animate audience, including bees.
6 Although he is a man of great courage and conviction, Hitchens is not known for his complaisance.