Copyright 1938 by Benjamin DeCasseres
Speed, I bid you, speed the earth
Onward with a shout of mirth!
There was a man in the land of America whose name
was Don, and that man was upright and eschewed evil.
Now there was a day when the Sons of Light came to
present themselves before the Great Impresario of
Spectacles, and Satan came also among them.
And the Great Impresario said unto Satan:
"Hast thou considered Don, that there is none like
him, that he is an upright man, one that escheweth evil,
one that is beloved of all men and who giveth to his last?"
Satan then answered:
"What wouldst thou with him, Sire?"
And the Great Impresario said unto Satan:
"Strip him of all he hath in the manner of Job".
And Satan then was puzzled, for he knew no sin that
Don had committed or why he should thus be in ill-favor
with the Great Impresario.
And so he asked:
"But why must this be, Sir? Don is impregnable against
all my wiles. Even I, the Supreme Tempter, honor him,
knowing that he is sublime in his nature."
Then the Great Impresario, turning his back on Satan,
"Do as I bid thee! This man hath in him the unpardonable
sin: a sense of humor touching things sacred and divine.
Go and do!"
And so that man Don, in the land of America, who
was upright and eschewed evil and who was beloved of
all men and who gave to his last, had his son taken from
him, and then his wife, and then his daughter, and then
he was stricken blind, and then he had his second wife
taken from him, and then he was paralyzed, and then his
speech was taken from him, and then his mind was darkened.
and then he was paralyzed again--and thus, utterly
helpless and stricken, his properties and moneys were
drained from him, and he lay in great agony and weakness
until the Great Impresario and his man Satan, seeing
that no further evil could be done unto Don, who was
upright, eschewed evil, who was beloved by all men and
who gave to his last, sent his soul into the Valley of the
Again there was a day when the Sons of Light came
to present themselves before the Great Impresario of
Spectacles, and Satan came also among them, and with
him came Don.
And Satan said unto the Great Impresario:
"Behold, Sire, I have brought before thee the man Don
who was upright, who eschewed evil and who was
beloved of all men and who gave to his last and who has
been stripped of all things."
And then Don spake unto the Great Impresario and
"Sire, why didst thou do this things to me? I wronged
no man in my lifetime and my heart was heavy with love
and pity for all who suffered and my hand was ever ready
"But thou, laying on me one great disaster after another
as of one who had offended thee overmuch, didst
take from me my children, my wives, my sight, my mind,
my limbs, my goods and nailed me to a mountain of torture
and suffering as was done to Prometheus. Wherefore?"
And the Great Impresario of Spectacles of a sudden
great gray on his throne, and Satan shriveled up like a
man of a thousand thousand years, and the heavens beyond
and above and around were slowly flooded as with
a silver light.
And rising in the light, filling the heavens to the remotest
angles of space, advancing in a gradually closing
semicircle over the Great Impresario of Spectacles, came
the Angels of Laughter, and they filled the heavens with
more numbers than the stars.
And as with one voice the heavens, the stars and the
spaces were shaken with the Chant of the Angels of
Laughter, and they then shouted:
"Thou, Sire, hath stripped Don, who was upright, who
eschewed evil, who was beloved of all men and who gave
unto his last, of all but one thing, his sense of Humor,
and that clothes him now in triple brass.
"This man is saved, and is even now become one of us,
for Laughter is the highest form of Thought and Love.
"Thy kingdoms of Good and Evil, O Great Impresario
of Spectacles, are at an end for this earth-freed
spirit, for a greater thing hath been found by Don Marquis,
the Kingdom of Cosmic Mirth, the Laughter that
topples gods from their thrones, and against that nought
And Don the well-beloved, Don the sublime, Don the
Poet, Don the Wit, Don who was stripped of all things in
the manner of Job was lifted high into the Light by the
healing Angels of Laughter, and his soul was carried into
the Valhalla of Triumphant Mirth, where he shall reign
as a shining spiritual presence while there still lives on
Earth a single man or woman who knew DON MARQUIS.
-- Benjamin DeCessares was a writer, author, poet,
journalist, contemporary, and a friend of Don Marquis.