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Yet sure of heaven themselves, as if they'd cribbed | Who looks on erring souls as straying pigs, The impression of St. Peter's keys in wax ! That must be lashed by law, wherever found,
And driven to church as to the parish pound. Of such a character no single trace
I do confess, without reserve or wheedle, Exists, I know, in my fictitious face.
I view that grovelling idea as one There wants a certain cast about the eye;
Worthy some parish clerk's ambitious son, A certain lifting of the nose's tip;
A charity-boy who longs to be a beadle. A certain curling of the nether lip,
On such a vital topic sure 't is odd In scorn of ali that is, beneath the sky;
How inuch a man can differ from his neighbor ; In brief, it is an aspect deleterious,
One wishes worship freely given to God, A face decidedly not serious,
Another wants to make it statute-labor, A face profane, that would not do at all
The broad distinction in a line to draw, To make a face at Exeter Hall,
As means to lead us to the skies above, That Hall where bigots rant and cant and pray,
You say, — Sir Andrew and his love of law, And laud each other face to face,
And I, - the Saviour with his law of love. Till every farthing-candle ray Conceives itself a great gaslight of grace ! Spontaneously to God should tend the soul,
Like the magnetic needle to the Pole ; Well ! — be the graceless lineaments confest !
But what were that intrinsic virtue worth, I do enjoy this bounteous beauteous earth;
Suppose some fellow, with more zeal than knowl. And dote upon a jest
edge “Within the limits of becoming mirth”;
Fresh from St. Andrew's college, No solemn sanctimonious face I pull,
Should nail the conscious needle to the north ? Nor think I'm pious when I'm only bilious,
I do confess that I abhor and shrink Nor study in my sanctum supercilious
From schemes, with a religious willy-nilly, To frame a Sabbath Bill or forge a Bull.
That frown upon St. Giles's sins, but blink I pray for grace, — repent each sinful act,
The peccadilloes of all Piccadilly, Peruse, but underneath the rose, my Bible ;
My soul revolts at such bare hypocrisy, And love my neighbor far too well, in fact,
And will not, dare not, fancy in accord To call and twit him with a godly tract
The Lord of Hosts with an exclusive lord That's turned by application to a libel.
Of this world's aristocracy. My heart ferments not with the bigot's leaven,
It will not own a notion so unholy All creeds I view with toleration thorough.
As thinking that the rich by easy trips And have a horror of regarding heaven
May go to heaven, whereas the poor and lowly As anybody's rotten borough.
Must work their passage, as they do in ships. I've no ambition to enact the spy
One place there is, — beneath the burial-sod, On fellow-souls, a spiritual Pry,
Where all mankind are equalized by death; 'T is said that people ought to guard their noses Another place there is, — the fane of God, Who thrust them into matters none of theirs ; Where all are equal who draw living breath; And, though no delicacy discomposes
Juggle who will elsewhere with his own soul, Your saint, yet I consider faith and prayers Playing the Judas with a temporal dole, Amongst the privatest of men's affairs.
He who can come beneath that awful cope,
In the dread presence of a Maker just, I do not hash the Gospel in my books,
Who metes to every pinch of human dust And thus upon the public mind intrude it,
One even measure of immortal hope, As if I thought, like Otaheitan cooks,
He who can stand within that holy door, No food was fit to eat till I had chewed it.
With soul un bowed by that pure spirit-level, On Bible stilts I don't affect to stalk ;
And frame unequal laws for rich and poor, Nor lard with Scripture my familiar talk, –
Might sit for Hell, and represent the Devil ! For man may pious texts repeat, And yet religion have no inward seat ;
The humble records of my life to search, ’T is not so plain as the old Hill of Howth,
I have not herded with mere pagan beasts ; A man has got his belly full of meat
But sometimes I have "sat at good men's feasts," Because he talks with victuals in his mouth!
And I have been “ where bells have knolled to
church." I honestly confess that I would hinder
Dear bells ! how sweet the sounds of village bells The Scottish member's legislative rigs,
When on the undulating air they swim ! That spiritual Pindar,
Now loud as welcomes ! faint, now, as farewells ! And trembling all about the breezy dells,
Gifted with noble tendency to climb, As fluttered by the wings of cherubim.
Yet weak at the same time, Meanwhile the bees are chanting a low hymn ; Faith is a kind of parasitic plant, And, lost to sight, the ecstatic lark above That grasps the nearest stem with tendril-rings ; Sings, like a soul beatified, of love,
And as the climate and the soil may grant, With, nowand then, the coo of the wild pigeon ;- So is the sort of tree to which it clings. O pagans, heathens, infidels, and doubters ! Consider, then, before, like Hurlothrumbo, If such sweet sounds can't woo you to religion, You aim your club at any creed on earth, Will the harsh voices of church cads and touters ? That, by the simple accident of birth,
You might have been High-Priest to Mumbo A man may cry Church ! Church ! at every word,
For me, — through heathen ignorance perchance, Because it keeps a-cawing from a steeple ;
Not having knelt in Palestine, I feel The Temple is a good, a holy place,
None of that griffinish excess of zeal But quacking only gives it an ill savor,
Some travellers would blaze with here in France. While saintly mountebanks the porch disgrace, Dolls I can see in Virgin-like array, And bring religion's self into disfavor !
Nor for a scuffle with the idols hanker
Like crazy Quixotte at the puppet's play, Church is “a little heaven below,
If their “offence be rank," should mine be rancor} I have been there and still would go," Yet I am none of those who think it odd A man can pray unbidden from the cassock, Around a cankered stem should twine,
Suppose the tender but luxuriant hop And, passing by the customary hassock,
What Kentish boor would tear away the prop Kneel down remote upon the simple sod,
So roughly as to wound, nay, kill the bine ? And sue in forma pauperis to God. As for the rest, intolerant to none,
The images, 't is true, are strangely dressed, Whatever shape the pious rite may bear,
With gauds and toys extremely out of season ;
The carving nothing of the very best,
The whole repugnant to the eye of Reason,
Shocking to Taste, and to Fine Arts a treason, An aim, though erring, at a “world ayont,
Yet ne'er o'erlook in bigotry of sect
One truly Catholic, one common form, Acknowledgment of good, - of man's futility,
At which unchecked A sense of need, and weakness, and indeed
All Christian hearts may kindle or keep warm. That very thing so many Christians want,
Say, was it to my spirit's gain or loss, I have not sought, 't is true, the Holy Land,
One bright and balmy morning, as I went As full of texts as Cuddie Headrigg's mother,
From Liege's lovely environs to Ghent, The Bible in one hand,
If hard by the wayside I found a cross,
That made me breathe a prayer upon the spot, – And my own commonplace-book in the other;
While Nature of herself, as if to trace
The emblem's use, had trailed around its base Resemble copper wire or brass,
The blue significant Forget-Me-Not ? Which gets the narrower by going farther !
Methought, the claims of Charity to urge
More forcibly along with Faith and Hope, Worthless are all such pilgrimages -- very !
The pious choice had pitched upon
verge If Palmers at the Holy Tomb contrive
Of a delicious slope, The human heats and rancor to revive
Giving the eye much variegated scope ! That at the Sepulchre they ought to bury.
“Look round,” it whispered, on that prospect A sorry sight it is to rest the eye on,
rare, To see a Christian creature graze at Sion,
Those vales so verdant, and those hills so blue ; Then homeward, of the saintly pasture full, Enjoy the sunny world, so fresh and fair, Rush bellowing, and breathing fire and smoke,
But" (how the simple legend pierced me through!) At crippled Papistry to butt and poke,
“PRIEZ POUR LES MALHEUREUX." Exactly as a skittish Scottish bull Hunts an old woman in a scarlet cloke. With sweet kind natures, as in honeyed cells,
Religion lives, and feels herself at home;
But only on a formal visit dwells
| To his tuned spirit the wild heather-bells Where wasps instead of bees have formed the Ring Sabbath knells ; comb.
The jubilate of the soaring lark Shun pride, O Rae ! — whatever sort beside
Is chant of clerk ; You take in lieu, shun spiritual pride!
For choir, the thrush and the gregarious linnet; A pride there is of rank, - a pride of birth, The sod 's a cushion for his pious want; A pride of learning, and a pride of purse, And, consecrated by the heaven within it, A London pride, — in short, there be on earth The sky-blue pool, a font. A host of prides, some better and some worse ; Each cloud-capped mountain is a holy altar ; But of all prides, since Lucifer's attaint,
An organ breathes in every grove; The proudest swell's a self-elected Saint.
And the full heart 's a Psalter,
Rich in deep hymns of gratitude and love ! To picture that cold pride so harsh and hard, Fancy a peacock in a poultry-yard.
Once on a time a certain English lass Behold him in conceited circles sail,
Was seized with symptoms of such deep decline, Strutting and dancing, and now planted stiff,
Cough, hectic flushes, every evil sign, In all his pomp of pageantry, as if
That, as their wont is at such desperate pass, He felt “the eyes of Europe " on his tail ! The doctors gave her over
to an ass. As for the humble breed retained by man, He scorns the whole domestic clan,
Accordingly, the grisly Shade to bilk, He bows, he bridles,
Each morn the patient quaffed a frothy bowl He wheels, he sidles,
Of asinine new milk, As last, with stately dodgings in a corner, Robbing a shaggy suckling of a foal, He pens a simple russet hen, to scorn her Which got proportionably spare and skinny; Full in the blaze of his resplendent fan ! Meanwhile the neighbors cried, “ Poor Mary
Ann! “Look here," he cries, (to give him words,)
She can't get over it ! she never can!” “ Thou feathered clay, thou scum of birds !"
When, lo ! to prove each prophet was a ninny, Flirting the rustling plumage in her eyes,
The one that died was the poor wet-nurse Jenny. “Look here, thou vile predestined sinner, Doomed to be roasted for a dinner,
To aggravate the case, Behold these lovely variegated dyes !
There were but two grown donkeys in the place ; These are the rainbow colors of the skies, And, most unluckily for Eve's sick daughter, That heaven has shed upon me con amore, The other long-eared creature was a male, A Bird of Paradise ? - a pretty story!
Who never in his life had given a pail I am that Saintly Fowl, thou paltry chick !
Of milk, or even chalk-and-water. Look at my crown of glory!
No matter : at the usual hour of eight Thou dingy, dirty, dabbled, draggled jill !” Down trots a donkey to the wicket-gate, And off goes Partlett, wriggling from a kick, With Mister Simon Gubbins on his back : With bleeding scalp laid open by his bill ! “Your sarvant, miss,
day, That little simile exactly paints
Bad time for hasses, though! good lack ! good How sinners are despised by saints.
lack ! By saints ! - the Hypocrites that ope heaven's
Jenny be dead, miss, — but I'ze brought ye door
He does n't give no milk, — but he can bray." In parish stocks, instead of breeches.
So runs the story,
And, in vain self-glory, Thrice blessed, rather, is the man with whom
Some Saints would sneer at Gubbins for his blindThe gracious prodigality of nature,
ness ; The balm, the bliss, the beauty, and the bloom,
But what the better are their pious saws The bounteous providence in every feature, To ailing souls, than dry hee-haws, Recall the good Creator to his creature,
Without the milk of human kindness? Making all earth a fane, all heaven its dome !