Original Text: 
Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Word Book (New York: Doubleday, 1906), pp. 28-29. Republished as The Devil's Dictionary (New York: Dover, 1958). PS 1097 D4 1958 Robarts Library.
Decalogue, n. A series of commandments, ten in number--just enough to permit an intelligent selection for observance, but not enough to embarrass the choice. Following is the revised edition of the Decalogue, calculated for this meridion.
2'Twere too expensive to have more.
3No images nor idols make
5Take not God's name in vain: select
6A time when it will have effect.
7Work not on Sabbath days at all,
8But go to see the teams play ball.
9Honor thy parents. That creates
10For life insurance lower rates.
11Kill not, abet not those who kill;
12Thou shalt not pay thy butcher's bill.
13Kiss not thy neighbor's wife, unless
14Thine own thy neighbor doth caress.
15Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete
16Successfully in business. Cheat.
17Bear not false witness--that is low--
18But "hear 'tis rumored so and so."
19Covet thou naught that thou hast got
20By hook or crook, or somehow, got.


1] See Exodus 20.1-10 for the ten commandments handed down by God to Moses. Back to Line
4] Roger Ingersoll: perhaps Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-99), an agnostic US lawyer. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.