In praise of pipe-smoking

The world is crawling with nasty, sour, narrow-minded puritans who try to make it difficult for us nice, salt-of-the-earth, broad-minded pipe-smokers to enjoy our perfectly legal, peaceful, thought-inducing (and heavily taxed) habit. To them I say:

Read, and take to heart (if you have one), what Charles Kisfaludy - one of the foremost poets, dramatists and literary figures in Hungary during the first half of the 19th century, and not to be confused with his poet-brother Alexander - had to say on the matter, back in 1827!

And, just in case any of you try to wriggle out of doing so by shamelessly pleading ignorance of the Hungarian tongue, I append for your benefit a rough translation, which should give you the flavour (even if, unlike the original, it does not rhyme nor scan properly).

As for those who do read Hungarian: since the ISO Latin I character set, in favour with HTML, is ridiculously limited in its scope, I was forced to use ô and û where long ö and ü - normally shown with two acute accents, rather then two dots, over the letter - are called for.

P I P A D A L                      P I P E S O N G

Kisfaludy Károly                   Charles Kisfaludy

Gyûlöljön bár sok finnyás orr,     Many a fastidious nose may,
   Édes pipám! tégedet,               Darling pipe mine! hate thee though:
Hû vitézed én mindenkor            Thy champion, I shall ever
   Pártul fogom ügyedet.              Represent thy cause against them.
Te vagy éltem kisérôje,            Companion of my life art,
   Egészségem hévmérôje,              Thermometer of my health,
S játszi bodor füstöddel           With thy playful curly smoke dost 
   Búmat vígan ûzöd el.               Gaily sorrows mine dispel.

Ha látom a porlelkeket             When I see souls dusty-natured
   Ezer kínnal mozogni,               Crawl about with thousand woes,
S büszkén rázva bilincseket        Proud of shackles laid upon them
   Üres fényben ragyogni;             Radiating vacant glow;
Reád gyújtok s azt gondolom:       Then I light thee, and I ponder:
   Szánandó kit ily átok nyom!        Pitiable who so cursed!
Lepje bár arany, ezüst,            Clad maybe in gold and silver, 
   Léte mégis hiú füst.               Yet their life's a whiff of smoke.

Hány bajlódik szerelmével,         How many by love afflicted
   Néz, szalad, int, áldozik,         Scurry, weep and sacrifice,
Hevûl, fázik, nyugtot nem lel,     Fevered, freezing, always restless,
   Hold felé sóhajtozik.              Sighing vainly to the Moon.
Én rád gyújtok, s azt gondolom:    I then light thee, and I ponder:
   Szánandó, kit ön szive nyom,       Pity those whose heart their burden,
Mert a szép szó s leánykegy        For nice words and girlish favours
   Vajmi hamar füstbe megy.           Waft away as fast as smoke.

Ha valaki tág tüdôvel              When a person noisy bruiting
   Magát hírbe kürtöli,               Trumpets loudly own renown,
Fényleni vágy nagy erôvel,         With great effort tries to sparkle,
   S más érdemit elöli;               Trampling other people's worth;
Én rád gyújtok, s azt gondolom:    I then light thee, and I ponder:
   Itt legtöbbet az idô nyom,         Passing time will tip the scales,
S koszorúdat neveddel              And his garlands, aye, his name too
   Füst gyanánt oszlatja el.          Will disperse like flighty smoke.

Ha egy úrfi, pézsmán hízott        When a dandy, reeking musky,
   Felfürtözött üres kép,             Hair in ringlets, vacant face,
Szûk elméjû, de elbízott,          Mind a blank yet brazen sanguine,
   Nagy gôgösen hozzám lép,           Comes to see me filled with pride,
Magát, javát fitogtatja,           Brags about himself, his fortune,
   Drága idôm elragadja:              Wasting thus my treasured time: 
Fegyver leszen pipámból,           Then my pipe becomes a weapon,
   Kifüstölöm szobámból.              And I smoke him from my room.

De ha jô egy lelkes magyar,        But when a Hungarian calls,
   Szivcserére kész velem,            Spirited, to have a chat,
Szembe nem méz, hátul nem mar,     No honeyed words no knife in back,
   Nyiltan leli kebelem;              Open he will find my heart;
Sokat ugyan nem adhatok,           Much, in truth, I cannot give him,
   Legfelebb egy dalt mondhatok:      Just a simple verse at most:
De felcsapván jobbjával,           But I shake his hand with pleasure,
   Megkinálom pipával.                And offer him a pipe to smoke.

Némely szépek, idegenhez           Some fair beauties oft' to strangers
   Másképp nem idegenek,              Show themselves in no way strange,
Csak a szegény pipafüsthez         Only to poor pipe-smoke are they 
   Oly igen kegyetlenek:              Most vindictive, very cruel:
Pedig mennyi gazt táplálunk!       Yet we nurture weeds aplenty!
   Én úgy vélem: dohány nálunk,       I opine: tobacco `midst us,
Bárki mit állitana                 Say whoever what they may,
   A legjobb indigena.                Is of immigrants the best.

Should you still not be convinced: consider that in the 20th century -

were both adamantly opposed to smoking and smokers, while were both dedicated smokers.

It is up to you which of these you prefer as your role model!

And visit the Smokepeace Europe Web site.

Return to the Stephen Pálffy page.