Since This Is Tax Day

for our Canadian friends, here is one of those delightfully quirky English odes, penned as a covering letter to a Tax Return.

Frames of Mind, by G.K. Menzies

‘I declare that the above statement contains a full, just and true account and return of the whole of my income from every source whatsoever for the year ending the 5th day of April, 1905.’
Extract from Income Tax Return Form

O Mr Surveyor of Taxes,
A terrible task you impose!
I claim some abatement: you ask for a statement
Of details which nobody knows.
My revenue wanes and it waxes
Along with my varying mood;
It’s mainly a question, I think, of digestion,
And largely depends upon food.
Then how fill up the form?
My income how to foretell?
How know what cheer the coming year
Is bringing near, with smile or tear?
O, will my hearth be warm,
My table furnished well?
Or will my fare be sordid care,
Another weary spell?

When late at the Carlton I tarry,
Where riches and luxury reign,
When I sup con amore and trail clouds of glory
Inspired by the best of champagne,
I am then a great playwright – a Barrie –
Three plays at a time on the boards –
The royalties pour in and put more and more in
My purse till it’s fat as a lord’s.

When Economy raises her finger
And bids me reluctantly go
To dine for a florin in haunts that are foreign
And doubtful in dingy Soho,
Fair visions will no longer linger,
The future begins to look black;
I see myself earning with toil and heart-burning
The wage of a newspaper hack.

When, growing more prudent than ever,
On messes of pottage I sup,
Or dine somewhat sparsely on cutlets of parsley,
And drink Adam’s ale from my cup;
When I struggle with frugal endeavour
By ‘diet’ to keep down the bill,
When I feel filled-and-emptied, I’m very much tempted
To send in my income as nil.
Then how fill up the form?
My income how foretell?
How know what cheer the coming year
Is bringing near, with smile or tear?
O, will my heart be warm,
My table furnished well?
Or will my fare be sordid care,
Another weary spell?

Tax

Retweet information »

Comments

  1. Well, we’ve covered death and we’ve covered taxes. Is there a need to talk about anything else? ;-)

  2. Cheifetz, Allocating Financial Responsibility Among Solvent Concurrent Wrongdoers (2004) 28 Adv. Q. 137 at p. 351, endnote 11

    11. Footnote 163. W.H. Auden wrote in Law Like Love:

    Law, says the judge as he looks down his nose,
    Speaking clearly and most severely,
    Law is as I’ve told you before,
    Law is as you know I suppose,
    Law is but let me explain it once more,
    Law is The Law.