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Alfre Woodard

After 9/11 and the impending actors' strike of a few years ago, roles dried up for everyone.

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The Cobra And The Mongoose

“Tell me mongoose why are you trying to steal my eggs? ”
“Well, I’ve not eaten for weeks and I’m dying on my legs.”
“Don’t you realise that very soon these eggs will be my children? ”
“But you have so many and you won’t miss nine or ten.”

“How wrong you are mongoose I’ll miss every one of them.”
“Well tell me cobra, are you prepared to die for just ten? ”
“Mongoose, I am a mother and for only the one I would die.”
“Why are you swaying Cobra, and is that a tear in your eye? ”

“Aren’t you feeling sleepy mongoose, you do have heavy eyes? ”
“I know what you’re doing cobra, you’re trying to hypnotise.”
For your information mongoose, I’m doing my cobra dance,
it’s a dance of magic, which gives my enemies no chance.

Don’t think that I can’t see you mongoose trying to circle around me,
first in one direction, and then the other so tactically.
I must warn you mongoose that I have a bite that can instantly kill,
and if you don’t die straight away, moments later you will.”

I’ve heard about your bite cobra, but you don’t frighten me,
I have the thickest skin and coarsest hair, as ever you’ll see.
I also must warn you cobra that my teeth are as sharp as swords,
and combined with my agility I will have the last words.”

“Well, if I were you mongoose I would leave while you can…
unless you want to be the cause of my indigestion.”
“I was thinking cobra, you and your eggs would just be my fill,
and now that only leaves the formality of the kill.”

For hours and hours the pair did spar and fight,
throughout the day and throughout the night.
The mongoose went close and the cobra did strike,
but not one had yet applied the decisive bite.

Both were aching and tiring, and their sharpness was wearing thin.
The mongoose considered one last attack then he would pack it in.
With a last almighty effort the mongoose jumped as high as he could,
after somersaulting in the air it buried its teeth below the cobra’s hood.

This bite severed the cobra’s spine and instantly killed the snake,
but the mongoose bit once again to make sure of no mistake.
It then bit off and swallowed the cobra’s once swaying head,
but the fangs of the cobra punctured its stomach, it too was dead.

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Quatrain #462 - The old and the new.......

The old and the new
make up quite a few
and all that shall come
will complete the sum.

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And The Walls Fell Down

When morning time breaks
My lonely heart aches, yeah
But no one I touch
Can tell me how much
A lonely heart takes
Cause the walls fell down
And the seas will drown
But nobody listens to my song
And the storm just broke
And the rain came down
But nobody listens to a clown
I look for your light
By day and by night
Im wasting my time
Just trying to find
Your face in my life
Cause the walls fell down
And the seas will drown
But nobody listens to my song
And the storm just broke
And the rain came down
But nobody listens to a clown
Cause the walls fell down
And the seas will drown
But nobody listens to my song
And the storm just broke
And the rain came down
But nobody listens to a clown (fade out)

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Time And The River

Time and the river
Will bring my love to me
If I must, Ill wait forever
By the river that took her to the sea.
Here by the river
We loved, we laughed, we cried
But with time, my love, my darling,
Left my arms and was gone with the tides.
*How long Ive been lonely, star of love; shine bright.
I need her, oh, lead her to my arms tonight.
Time and the river,
How swiftly they go by.
But my heart will beat for no other
Till time stands still and the river runs dry.
(Instrumental interlude and pick up at *.)
*How long Ive been lonely, star of love; shine bright.
I need her, oh, lead her to my arms tonight.
Time and the river,
How swiftly they go by.
But my heart will beat for no other
Till time stands still and the river runs dry.

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Tonight at Noon (for Charles Mingus and the Clayton Squares)

Tonight at noon
Supermarkets will advertise 3d EXTRA on everything
Tonight at noon
Children from happy families will be sent to live in a home
Elephants will tell each other human jokes
America will declare peace on Russia
World War I generals will sell poppies in the streets on November 11th
The first daffodils of autumn will appear
When the leaves fall upwards to the trees

Tonight at noon
Pigeons will hunt cats through city backyards
Hitler will tell us to fight on the beaches and on the landing fields
A tunnel full of water will be built under Liverpool
Pigs will be sighted flying in formation over Woolton and Nelson will
not only get his eye back but his arm as well
White Americans will demonstrate for equal rights in front of the Black House
and the Monster has just created Dr Frankenstein

Girls in bikinis are moonbathing
Folksongs are being sung by real folk
Artgalleries are closed to people over 21
Poets get their poems in the Top 20
Politicians are elected to insane asylums
There's jobs for everyone and nobody wants them
In back alleys everywhere teenage lovers are kissing in broad daylight

In forgotten graveyards everywhere the dead will quietly
bury the living
and
You will tell me you love me
Tonight at noon

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John Donne

To The Praise Of The Dead And The Anatomy

VVEll dy'de the World, that we might liue to see
This World of wit, in his Anatomee:
No euill wants his good: so wilder heyres;
Bedew their Fathers Toombs, with forced teares,
Whose state requites their losse: whiles thus we gaine
Well may we walke in black[e], but not complaine.
Yet how can I consent the world is dead
While this Muse liues? which in his spirits stead
Seemes to informe a world: and bids it bee,
In spight of losse, or fraile mortalitee?
And thou the subiect of this wel-borne thought,
Thrise noble Maid; couldst not haue found nor sought
A fitter time to yeeld to thy sad Fate,
Then whiles this spirit liues; that can relate
Thy worth so well to our last Nephews Eyne,
That they shall wonder both at his, and thine:
Admired match! where striues in mutuall grace
The cunning Pencill, and the comely face:
A taske, which thy faire goodnesse made too much
For the bold pride of vulgar pens to tuch;
Enough is vs to praise them that praise thee,
And say that but enough those prayses bee,
Which had'st thou liu'd, had hid their fearefull head
From th'angry checkings of thy modestred:
Death bars reward & shame: when enuy's gone,
And gaine; 'tis safe to giue the dead their owne.
As then the wise Egyptians wont to lay
More on their Tombes, then houses: these of clay,
But those of brasse, or marbele were; so wee
Giue more vnto thy Ghost, then vnto thee.
Yet what wee giue to thee, thou gauest to vs,
And maiest but thanke thy selfe, for being thus:
Yet what thou gau'st, and wert, O happy maid,
Thy grace profest all due, were 'tis repayd.
So these high songs that to thee suited bine,
Serue but to sound thy makers praise, in thine,
Which thy deare soule as sweetly sings to him
Amid the Quire of Saints and Seraphim,
As any Angels tongue can sing of thee;
The subiects differ, then the skill agree:
For as by infant-yeares men iudge of age,
Thy early loue, thy vertues, did presage
What hie part thou bear'st in those best songs
Whereto no burden, nor no end belongs.
Sing on thou Virgin soule, whose losseful gaine
Thy loue-sicke Parents haue bewail'd in vaine;
Neuer may thy Name be in our songs forgot.
Till we shall sing thy ditty, and thy note.

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Your Mother and You and the Cherries

In the year the Who
and Jimi Hendrix
played
at the Isle of Wight

Rock Festival
your mother
was in Smallfields
hospital

having a kidney removed
and you sat with her
outside the ward
looking out

on woodland
and unkempt grassland
and you gave her cherries
in a brown paper bag

you had bought
she took the bag
and looked inside
I can't eat those

at the moment
what with the kidney
being removed and such
oh sorry

you said
not to worry
you eat them
she said

so you did
flicking the small stones
into the tall grass
your mother looked up

at the warm sun
and white clouds
shame you and Judith
didn't get together

she said suddenly
as you had just spat
a stone nearby
I liked Judith

she was a down to earth
kind of girl
you looked at your mother
in her pink dressing gown

and slippered feet
she'd got engaged
to someone else
by the time

I got around asking her
you said
there may have been
prettier girlS about

but she had
a heart of gold
and lovely eyes
and smile

your mother said
giving you one
of her studying looks
you tried to picture

Judith that Christmas
when she kissed you
for the first time
while carol singing

the moon bright
and stars out flashing
in the night sky
you spat out

another cherrystone
there'll be an orchard
of cherry trees here
in years to come

your mother said
scanning the woodland
and tall grass
you'll have to bring me back

and see
she added laughing
how do you feel?
you asked

a bit sore
but otherwise
all right
be glad to get home

but they want me
to go
to a convalescent home
run by nuns

for a few weeks
to recover
will you go?
you asked

they insist I go somewhere
so might as well
go to the nuns
she said

miss you at home
you said
the others will
miss you too

your mother
went silent
the lines on her forehead
screwed up

as she thought
and you remembered
Judith's arms
around your waist

and the big hug
she gave you
as her lips
met yours

penny for them
your mother said
for what?
you said

your thoughts
she said
if I had a penny
for all my thoughts

you said
I'd be a rich man
Mother laughed
then said

think on Son
and as much as you can.

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The Song of Ninian Melville

Sing the song of noisy Ninny - hang the Muses - spit it out!
(Tuneful Nine ye needn't help me - poet knows his way about!)
Sling me here a penny whistle - look alive, and let me slip
Into Ninny like a father - Ninny with the nimble lip.
Mister Melville, straight descendant from Professor Huxley's ape,
Started life a mute for daddy - pulling face, sporting crape;
But, alas, he didn't like it - lots of work and little pay.
Nature whispered, 'you're a windbag - play your cards another way.'

Mister Melville picked the hint up - pitched the coffin 'biz' to pot;
Paid his bills, or didn't pay them - doesn't matter now a jot!
Twigging how the bread was buttered, he commenced a 'waiting game':
Pulled the strings upon the quiet - no one 'tumbled' to his aim.
Paine, he purchased, Strauss, he borrowed - read a page or two of each;
Posed before his father's porkers - made to them his maiden speech.
Then he spluttered, 'Ninny has it! Nin will keep himself in clothes,
Like the gutter Tully, Bradlaugh, leading noodles by the nose!'

In the fly-blown village pothouse, where a dribbling bag of beer,
Passes for a human being, Nin commenced his new career -
Talked about the 'Christian swindle' - cut the Bible into bits -
Shook his fist at Mark and Matthew - gave the twelve Apostles fits:
Slipped into the priests and parsons - hanunered at the British Court - -
Boozy boobies were astonished: lubbers of the Lambton sort!
Yards of ear were cocked to listen - yards of mouth began to shout
'Here's a cove as is long-headed - Ninny knows his way about.'

Mister MelviRe was delighted - game in hand was paying well:
Fools and coin don't hang together - Nin became a howling swell!
Took to 'stumping' on the Racecourse - cut the old debating club:
Wouldn't do for mighty Ninny now to mount a local tub!
Thornton's Column was his platform: here our orator began
Hitting at the yellow heathen - cracking up the 'working man' -
Spitting out at Immigration: roaring, like a worried bull,
At the lucre made from tallow - at the profit raised on wool.

Said our Ninny to our Ninny, 'I have not the slightest doubt
Soaping down the ''orny 'anded' is the safest 'bizness' out!
Little work for spanking wages - this is just the thing they like,
So I'll prop the eight hour swindle - be the boss in every strike.
In the end, I'll pull a pot off ~ what I'm at is bound to take:
Ninny sees a bit before him - Ninny's eyes are wide awake!
When the boobies make me member, Parkes, of course, will offer tip -
I will take the first fat billet - then my frouzy friends may rip.'

So it came to pass that Melville, Mister Melville, I should say -
Dodged about with deputations, half a dozen times a day!
Started strikes and bossed the strikers - damned employers, every one,
On the Column - off the Column - in the shanty - in the sun!
'Down with masters - up with wages! keep the 'pigtail' out of this!'
This is what our Ninny shouted - game, you see, of hit or miss!
World, of course, is full of noodles - some who bray at Wallsend sent
Thing we know to be a windbag bouncing into Parliament!

Common story, this of Ninny! many fellows of his breed
Prowl about to bone the guinea, up to dirty tricks indeed;
Haven't now the time to tan them: but, by Jove, I'd like to tan
Back of that immense imposter that they call the 'working man'!
Drag upon our just employees - sponger on a worn-out wife
Boozing in alley pothouse every evening of his life.
Type he is of Nin's supporters: tot him up and tot him down,
He would back old Nick to-morrow for the sake of half a crown!

House with high, august traditions - Chamber where the voice of Lowe,
And the lordly words of Wentworth sounded thirty years ago -
Hall familiar to our fathers, where, in days exalted, rang
All the tones of all the feeling which ennobled Bland and Lang -
We in ashes - we in sack cloth, sorrow for the insult cast
By a crowd of bitter boobies on the grandeur of the past!
Take again your penny whistle - boy, it is no good to me:
Last invention is a bladder with the title of M.P.!

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It is hypocritical that Republicans can call any President ""polarizing"" after what Bush and the Republican Party did during his 8 years in office.

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The tragic words

I hated the words I was hearing.
But I had to be told.
My beloved grandad was dying.
Cancer was about to take his life.

I didnt want to listen To the words.
I knew That his life would soon end.
I hated this cruel way of life.
I dispised realaity it cut like a knife.

He lived nine months too short.
He left a life time of love.
I didnt get chance to goodbye.
That was probaly just aswell.
I never could of said good bye.

I hate cancer it proved to be fatal.
It took away something good.
I hated the words I was hearing.
I didnt want to hear the truth.

Now my Grandad has gone.
to the skies above to be angel.
And shine in the darkest hour.

He left a few years ago.
It feels like yestaurday.
Time soon flys.

But all is not that bad.
He left good behind him.
He left a legacy of love.
But most of all he left wonderfall memories.
To be treasured forever.

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Mr. And Mrs. James Akpan II

Of your spiritual inner-self,
Of my spiritual inner-self,
But, i am made among the people of this earth!
And, wisdom is my first priority;
However, Mrs. Akpan will still remember her words towards me on the day of the contract.

This muse of life is now being elevated with the peace of the mind,
These works of joy are now being seen among you all!
With the indications of love from my mind to influence you;
And like the road leading to the house of the royal elephant,
But, i am what i am today with the sweet muse of life.

Wisdom leads to great success! !
back in the days, and to remember this journey on the very hard road;
But, with the muse of my roots in mind to deliver my works,
However, i am what i am today with the sweet muse of life.

Peace and joy to the Akpan family whom i met some years ago in Lagos (Nigeria) !
For, my heart will always bring out peace and joy to all with my works;
And my mouth shall always speak out wisdom to teach many,
However, i am what i am today with much experiences in life.

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Have The Crackpots United

Watching the news and I had to shake my head,
a featherbrained crackpot stood there,
they want to a ban a forty odd year old advert
about going to work on an egg,
They stood there saying, “We are not stating
that eggs are bad for you, they are actually quite good.
However you shouldn’t eat eggs every day.”
What a cockeyed statement to make.
They then carry on and say, we should eat other foods.
However, other featherbrains have told us other foods are no good.

Now what do the featherbrained crackpots say about drink?
Coffee and tea does you no good,
soft drinks are too gassy,
a must to say away,
beer and spirits are another no no.
Bottled water that might be Ok,
until someone contaminates
it all of it some day.

Now back to food,
its not only eggs we must not eat.
You name a food from greens to bamboo strands.
According to the crackpots,
they will all send you to the Promised Land.
They tell us it’s all contaminated
with this and that.
They say we should eat less each day.
At the rate they go on,
we will not be eating anything at all,
and the undertakers will be making
the thinnest coffins anyone ever saw.

You can bet your bottom dollar
that all the crackpots eat well.
If you went to their larder,
I would bet you would find
all the foods that they have told us
to leave behind.
Now my advice is to eat what you like,
modestly of course,
and as for drink,
drink what you will.

Now light up a cigarette
and see how many cuckoos come out of the nest.
Some of them say that it gives you this and that,
then another come along say it does not.
Nevertheless, none of them
can answer the question that I purpose.
A few years ago scientists discovered a dinosaur
that had died from cancer would you believe.
My question is did the dinosaur smoke?
Did he have tailor made
or was it a case of rolling your own?

So the next time you see a featherbrained crackpot,
carrying a banner somewhere
saying we must not eat or drink this or that.
Give them the Winston Churchill’s V sign in reverse
and tell them to go elsewhere.
Now message to you is
eat, drink and be merry.
We have here only one time,
so enjoy it while you can.

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Sometimes I Break Down In Tears

I love my parents and sisters dearly.
I've been the first to their defense.
And I am sure they are aware of this.
However...
It is no mystery to me,
Why I enjoy living alone.

I've been married and divorced,
With no living children of my own.
But there is something so peaceful,
Knowing I can turn a key...
Open a door.
And not hear a peep or a sound unknown.

And when I am alone in the place I call home...
Sometimes I break down in tears.
I am 'that' happy.
And God knows it.

I remember a few years ago,
One of my sisters said I should have a companion.
We are 'just' beginning to break the ice,
To begin speaking to one another again.
I thought she was trying to curse me.
It took me a few years to realize she was concerned.
And looking out for the betterment of my welfare.
Of course I apologized.
I felt so foolish.

But...
When I am alone in the place I call home...
Sometimes I break down in tears.
I am 'that' happy.
And God knows it.
God knows how blessed I feel.

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I Hated Those Multiple Choice Questions

Greed has chased their jobs,
And employers overseas.
Outsourcing was the word I heard...
When a few years ago,
I was downsized and released.

And when I heard the word 'downsized',
I didn't think it meant out the door.
And that's when I began to see...
Economics!
And what that term was used for.

Too many debits decreases credits.
And a negative credit,
Needs cash to cover it.
When no cash is there...
The cupboards grow bare.
And my mama taught me that...
When I'd ask for a dollar and she would stare,
'Boy where do you think money comes from?
Out of the blue?
Picked off trees?
Thin air? '

Hmmm...
I hated those multiple choice questions!
I wonder...
Is it 'All' or 'None Above'?
And not a hint on her face as to a clue.

Greed has chased their jobs,
And employers overseas.
Outsourcing was the word I heard...
When a few years ago,
I was downsized and released.

And people are screaming for their lifestyles back!
But I learned very early in my life,
If no cash is to be had...
Wishes and dreams stay right where they are at!
And those delusioned by grandeur need to face the facts.

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John From Fishguard

Sing old John a song of his Hometown of Fishguard in Wales by the sea
The Town he left when he was in his mid twenties in the Spring of nineteen sixty three
With his wife Jenny and their only child Garett who then only had just turned four
They went south to sunny Austrealia thousands of miles from their Homeshore.

His wife she is with the departed she passed on a few years ago
A victim of intestinal cancer her end it was painful and slow
He took care of her when she was bed bound a greater love he never knew
To each other they were devoted and to each other they remained true.

A gray haired man in his late sixties his better days he surely has seen
His son Garett who lives in New Zealand has a son of twenty and a daughter of nineteen
And though he lives on his own he seems happy at the local pub he is known to all
He enjoys his beer and the sing song and he loves to talk of football.

I once heard him ask the ballad singer sing a song of Fishguard for me
The old Town I left in my twenties in Wales by the Atlantic sea
The ballad singer did not know any Welsh song so he handed John his guitar
And John in his fine singing voice sung a song of Fishguard in distance from here very far.

The Welsh accent it is still with him and with him doubtless it will stay
Until the Grim Reaper will claim him the one we all must fall to one day
He enjoys a drink at the local pub where he is well liked and well known
And he never does seem dejected though he is one who lives on his own.

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Influenced By Europeans

As An American I can say,
I've been influenced by Europeans.
I grew up with Jews and Italians,
Most of my young life.
My high school had a mixture,
Of Russians, Portuguese, French
And Spaniards.
Who would find me humorous...
When the teacher saw my hand raised,
To sometimes ignore.
Until I made outbursts.
Expecting from her more.

I took two years of French.
And had friends of several races.
Then one day all of that was changed.
When the city I now live in...
Became a place for bigoted racists.

Oh there may be many who will try to deny what I say.
But when I was a child,
Where I live wasn't divided as it is today.
With waves of bused in suburbanites...
Coming to work during the day.
To leave their jobs for an urban flight!
When I was a child,
Not much of that was in sight!

The first time I heard the word 'nigger'
Was from a Black music teacher,
Who wanted to impress.
Reminding us of how she felt.
And made sure to us that was addressed.
Oh yes!

As An American I can say,
I've been influenced by Europeans.
I grew up with Jews and Italians,
Most of my young life.
My high school had a mixture,
Of Russians, Portuguese, French
And Spaniards.
Who would find me humorous...
When the teacher saw my hand raised,
To sometimes ignore.
Until I made outbursts.
Expecting from her more.
And I was not hushed,
Until I got it!

Dedicated:
To those friends I remember
from Northeast Junior High School
and Hartford Public High School.
Just a 'few' years ago.
Or, more appropriately, decades
that seemed to have flown away.
~LSP~

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No Small Doubt

Satan starts with a small doubt, when it’s God who’s talked about,
Satan takes a well grounded fool, and uses him as a spiritual tool,
One sharpened tool for deceit, for Satan’s goal of spiritual defeat,
As victory through Christ is yours, but, the enemy subtly implores,
That one soul to join the lost, and become an enemy of the Cross.

It may be someone that you know, though a friend, a spiritual foe,
Maybe a family member, or two, who spiritually disagree with you,
They might not even be aware, when used by the prince of the air,
That serpent and the father of lies, going for that spiritual demise,
Of men and women everywhere, who regarding Truth, do not care.

Satan makes inroads all the time, to sway the heart and the mind,
So that they will reject God’s Son, Christ who came for everyone,
From doubt he moves to deceive, and even men, who do believe,
So that their influence for The Lord, upon others, may go ignored,
As Satan uses everybody he can, even those who are Born Again.

With some doubt he brings dismay, causing clouds along the way,
Clouds of darkness and despair, to assert that God does not care,
But not only does The Lord care, He defeated the prince of the air,
Though Satan will lie until the end, he cannot defeat God my friend,
Who alone, can set all men free, as they accept Truth from Calvary.

It is no small doubt my friend, as Satan works to produce your end,
An end that goes beyond the grave, for all who God does not save,
Not because He can’t; He died for all, but, Satan induces man’s fall,
Man’s enemy in this Age of Grace, so The Truth they won’t embrace,
Inciting doubt, his deceptive breath, moves men to an eternal death.

(Copyright ©08/2008)

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John Dryden

The Hind And The Panther, A Poem In Three Parts : Part III.

Much malice, mingled with a little wit,
Perhaps may censure this mysterious writ;
Because the muse has peopled Caledon
With panthers, bears, and wolves, and beasts unknown,
As if we were not stocked with monsters of our own.
Let Æsop answer, who has set to view
Such kinds as Greece and Phrygia never knew;
And Mother Hubbard, in her homely dress,
Has sharply blamed a British lioness;
That queen, whose feast the factious rabble keep,
Exposed obscenely naked, and asleep.
Led by those great examples, may not I
The wonted organs of their words supply?
If men transact like brutes, 'tis equal then
For brutes to claim the privilege of men.
Others our Hind of folly will indite,
To entertain a dangerous guest by night.
Let those remember, that she cannot die,
Till rolling time is lost in round eternity;
Nor need she fear the Panther, though untamed,
Because the Lion's peace was now proclaimed;
The wary savage would not give offence,
To forfeit the protection of her prince;
But watched the time her vengeance to complete,
When all her furry sons in frequent senate met;
Meanwhile she quenched her fury at the flood,
And with a lenten salad cooled her blood.
Their commons, though but coarse, were nothing scant,
Nor did their minds an equal banquet want.
For now the Hind, whose noble nature strove
To express her plain simplicity of love,
Did all the honours of her house so well,
No sharp debates disturbed the friendly meal.
She turned the talk, avoiding that extreme,
To common dangers past, a sadly-pleasing theme;
Remembering every storm which tossed the state,
When both were objects of the public hate,
And dropt a tear betwixt for her own children's fate.
Nor failed she then a full review to make
Of what the Panther suffered for her sake;
Her lost esteem, her truth, her loyal care,
Her faith unshaken to an exiled heir,
Her strength to endure, her courage to defy,
Her choice of honourable infamy.
On these, prolixly thankful, she enlarged;
Then with acknowledgments herself she charged;
For friendship, of itself an holy tie,
Is made more sacred by adversity.
Now should they part, malicious tongues would say,
They met like chance companions on the way,
Whom mutual fear of robbers had possessed;
While danger lasted, kindness was professed;
But, that once o'er, the short-lived union ends,
The road divides, and there divide the friends.
The Panther nodded, when her speech was done,
And thanked her coldly in a hollow tone;
But said, her gratitude had gone too far
For common offices of Christian care.
If to the lawful heir she had been true,
She paid but Cæsar what was Cæsar's due.
“I might,” she added, “with like praise describe
Your suffering sons, and so return your bribe:
But incense from my hands is poorly prized;
For gifts are scorned where givers are despised.
I served a turn, and then was cast away;
You, like the gaudy fly, your wings display,
And sip the sweets, and bask in your great patron's day.”
This heard, the matron was not slow to find
What sort of malady had seized her mind;
Disdain, with gnawing envy, fell despite,
And cankered malice, stood in open sight;
Ambition, interest, pride without control,
And jealousy, the jaundice of the soul;
Revenge, the bloody minister of ill,
With all the lean tormentors of the will.
'Twas easy now to guess from whence arose
Her new-made union with her ancient foes;
Her forced civilities, her faint embrace,
Affected kindness, with an altered face;
Yet durst she not too deeply probe the wound,
As hoping still the nobler parts were sound;
But strove with anodynes to assuage the smart,
And mildly thus her medicine did impart.
“Complaints of lovers help to ease their pain;
It shows a rest of kindness to complain;
A friendship loath to quit its former hold,
And conscious merit, may be justly bold;
But much more just your jealousy would show,
If others' good were injury to you:
Witness, ye heavens, how I rejoice to see
Rewarded worth and rising loyalty!
Your warrior offspring, that upheld the crown,
The scarlet honour of your peaceful gown,
Are the most pleasing objects I can find,
Charms to my sight, and cordials to my mind:
When virtue spooms before a prosperous gale,
My heaving wishes help to fill the sail;
And if my prayers for all the brave were heard,
Cæsar should still have such, and such should still reward.
The laboured earth your pains have sowed and tilled,
'Tis just you reap the product of the field:
Yours be the harvest; 'tis the beggar's gain,
To glean the fallings of the loaded wain.
Such scattered ears as are not worth your care,
Your charity, for alms, may safely spare,
For alms are but the vehicles of prayer.
My daily bread is literally implored;
I have no barns nor granaries to hoard.
If Cæsar to his own his hand extends,
Say which of yours his charity offends;
You know, he largely gives to more than are his friends.
Are you defrauded, when he feeds the poor?
Our mite decreases nothing of your store.
I am but few, and by your fare you see
My crying sins are not of luxury.
Some juster motive sure your mind withdraws,
And makes you break our friendship's holy laws;
For barefaced envy is too base a cause.
Show more occasion for your discontent;
Your love, the Wolf, would help you to invent:
Some German quarrel, or, as times go now,
Some French, where force is uppermost, will do.
When at the fountain's head, as merit ought
To claim the place, you take a swilling draught,
How easy 'tis an envious eye to throw,
And tax the sheep for troubling streams below;
Or call her, when no further cause you find,
An enemy professed of all your kind!
But, then, perhaps, the wicked world would think,
The Wolf designed to eat as well as drink.”
This last allusion galled the Panther more,
Because, indeed, it rubbed upon the sore;
Yet seemed she not to wince, though shrewdly pained,
But thus her passive character maintained.
“I never grudged, whate'er my foes report,
Your flaunting fortune in the Lion's court.
You have your day, or you are much belied,
But I am always on the suffering side;
You know my doctrine, and I need not say,
I will not, but I cannot disobey.
On this firm principle I ever stood;
He of my sons who fails to make it good,
By one rebellious act renounces to my blood.”
“Ah,” said the Hind, “how many sons have you,
Who call you mother, whom you never knew!
But most of them, who that relation plead,
Are such ungracious youths as wish you dead.
They gape at rich revenues which you hold,
And fain would nibble at your grandame gold;
Enquire into your years, and laugh to find
Your crazy temper shows you much declined.
Were you not dim and doted, you might see
A pack of cheats that claim a pedigree,
No more of kin to you, than you to me.
Do you not know, that, for a little coin,
Heralds can foist a name into the line?
They ask you blessing but for what you have,
But, once possessed of what with care you save,
The wanton boys would piss upon your grave.
“Your sons of latitude, that court your grace,
Though most resembling you in form and face,
Are far the worst of your pretended race;
And, but I blush your honesty to blot,
Pray God you prove them lawfully begot!
For, in some Popish libels I have read,
The Wolf has been too busy in your bed;
At least their hinder parts, the belly-piece,
The paunch, and all that Scorpio claims, are his.
Their malice too a sore suspicion brings,
For, though they dare not bark, they snarl at kings.
Nor blame them for intruding in your line;
Fat bishoprics are still of right divine.
Think you, your new French proselytes are come,
To starve abroad, because they starved at home?
Your benefices twinkled from afar,
They found the new Messiah by the star;
Those Swisses fight on any side for pay,
And 'tis the living that conforms, not they.
Mark with what management their tribes divide;
Some stick to you, and some to t'other side,
That many churches may for many mouths provide.
More vacant pulpits would more converts make;
All would have latitude enough to take:
The rest unbeneficed your sects maintain;
For ordinations, without cures, are vain,
And chamber practice is a silent gain.
Your sons of breadth at home are much like these;
Their soft and yielding metals run with ease;
They melt, and take the figure of the mould,
But harden and preserve it best in gold.”
“Your Delphic sword,” the Panther then replied,
“Is double-edged, and cuts on either side.
Some sons of mine, who bear upon their shield
Three steeples argent in a sable field,
Have sharply taxed your converts, who, unfed,
Have followed you for miracles of bread;
Such, who themselves of no religion are,
Allured with gain, for any will declare.
Bare lies, with bold assertions, they can face;
But dint of argument is out of place.
The grim logician puts them in a fright;
'Tis easier far to flourish than to fight.
Thus, our eighth Henry's marriage they defame;
They say, the schism of beds began the game,
Divorcing from the Church to wed the dame;
Though largely proved, and by himself professed,
That conscience, conscience would not let him rest,—
I mean, not till possessed of her he loved,
And old, uncharming Catherine was removed.
For sundry years before he did complain,
And told his ghostly confessor his pain.
With the same impudence, without a ground,
They say, that, look the reformation round,
No treatise of humility is found.
But if none were, the gospel does not want;
Our Saviour preached it, and I hope you grant,
The sermon on the mount was Protestant.”
“No doubt,” replied the Hind, “as sure as all
The writings of Saint Peter and Saint Paul;
On that decision let it stand, or fall.
Now for my converts, who, you say, unfed,
Have followed me for miracles of bread.
Judge not by hearsay, but observe at least,
If since their change their loaves have been increased.
The Lion buys no converts; if he did,
Beasts would be sold as fast as he could bid.
Tax those of interest, who conform for gain,
Or stay the market of another reign:
Your broad-way sons would never be too nice
To close with Calvin, if he paid their price;
But, raised three steeples higher, would change their note,
And quit the cassock for the canting-coat.
Now, if you damn this censure, as too bold,
Judge by yourselves, and think not others sold.
“Meantime, my sons accused, by fame's report,
Pay small attendance at the Lion's court,
Nor rise with early crowds, nor flatter late;
For silently they beg, who daily wait.
Preferment is bestowed, that comes unsought;
Attendance is a bribe, and then 'tis bought.
How they should speed, their fortune is untried;
For not to ask, is not to be denied.
For what they have, their God and king they bless,
And hope they should not murmur, had they less.
But if reduced subsistence to implore,
In common prudence they would pass your door;
Unpitied Hudibras, your champion friend,
Has shown how far your charities extend.
This lasting verse shall on his tomb be read,
‘He shamed you living, and upbraids you dead.’
“With odious atheist names you load your foes;
Your liberal clergy why did I expose?
It never fails in charities like those.
In climes where true religion is professed,
That imputation were no laughing jest;
But imprimatur, with a chaplain's name,
Is here sufficient licence to defame.
What wonder is 't that black detraction thrives?
The homicide of names is less than lives;
And yet the perjured murderer survives.”
This said, she paused a little, and suppressed
The boiling indignation of her breast.
She knew the virtue of her blade, nor would
Pollute her satire with ignoble blood;
Her panting foe she saw before her eye,
And back she drew the shining weapon dry.
So when the generous Lion has in sight
His equal match, he rouses for the fight;
But when his foe lies prostrate on the plain,
He sheathes his paws, uncurls his angry mane,
And, pleased with bloodless honours of the day,
Walks over, and disdains the inglorious prey.
So James, if great with less we may compare,
Arrests his rolling thunder-bolts in air;
And grants ungrateful friends a lengthened space,
To implore the remnants of long-suffering grace.
This breathing-time the matron took; and then
Resumed the thrid of her discourse again.
“Be vengeance wholly left to powers divine,
And let heaven judge betwixt your sons and mine:
If joys hereafter must be purchased here
With loss of all that mortals hold so dear,
Then welcome infamy and public shame,
And last, a long farewell to worldly fame!
'Tis said with ease, but, oh, how hardly tried
By haughty souls to human honour tied!
O sharp convulsive pangs of agonising pride!
Down then, thou rebel, never more to rise!
And what thou didst, and dost, so dearly prize,
That fame, that darling fame, make that thy sacrifice.
'Tis nothing thou hast given; then add thy tears
For a long race of unrepenting years:
'Tis nothing yet, yet all thou hast to give:
Then add those may-be years thou hast to live:
Yet nothing still: then poor and naked come,
Thy Father will receive his unthrift home,
And thy blest Saviour's blood discharge the mighty sum.
“Thus,” she pursued, “I discipline a son,
Whose unchecked fury to revenge would run;
He champs the bit, impatient of his loss,
And starts aside, and flounders at the cross.
Instruct him better, gracious God, to know,
As thine is vengeance, so forgiveness too;
That, suffering from ill tongues, he bears no more
Than what his sovereign bears, and what his Saviour bore.
“It now remains for you to school your child,
And ask why God's anointed he reviled;
A king and princess dead! did Shimei worse?
The curser's punishment should fright the curse;
Your son was warned, and wisely gave it o'er,
But he, who counselled him, has paid the score;
The heavy malice could no higher tend,
But woe to him on whom the weights descend.
So to permitted ills the demon flies;
His rage is aimed at him who rules the skies:
Constrained to quit his cause, no succour found,
The foe discharges every tire around,
In clouds of smoke abandoning the fight,
But his own thundering peals proclaim his flight.
“In Henry's change his charge as ill succeeds;
To that long story little answer needs;
Confront but Henry's words with Henry's deeds.
Were space allowed, with ease it might be proved,
What springs his blessed reformation moved.
The dire effects appeared in open sight,
Which from the cause he calls a distant flight,
And yet no larger leap than from the sun to light.
“Now last your sons a double pæan sound,
A treatise of humility is found.
'Tis found, but better it had ne'er been sought,
Than thus in Protestant procession brought.
The famed original through Spain is known,
Rodriguez' work, my celebrated son,
Which yours, by ill-translating, made his own;
Concealed its author, and usurped the name,
The basest and ignoblest theft of fame.
My altars kindled first that living coal;
Restore, or practise better what you stole;
That virtue could this humble verse inspire,
'Tis all the restitution I require.”
Glad was the Panther that the charge was closed,
And none of all her favourite sons exposed;
For laws of arms permit each injured man,
To make himself a saver where he can.
Perhaps the plundered merchant cannot tell
The names of pirates in whose hands he fell;
But at the den of thieves he justly flies,
And every Algerine is lawful prize;
No private person in the foe's estate
Can plead exemption from the public fate.
Yet Christian laws allow not such redress;
Then let the greater supersede the less.
But let the abettors of the Panther's crime
Learn to make fairer wars another time.
Some characters may sure be found to write
Among her sons; for 'tis no common sight,
A spotted dam, and all her offspring white.
The savage, though she saw her plea controlled,
Yet would not wholly seem to quit her hold,
But offered fairly to compound the strife,
And judge conversion by the convert's life.
“'Tis true,” she said, “I think it somewhat strange,
So few should follow profitable change;
For present joys are more to flesh and blood,
Than a dull prospect of a distant good.
'Twas well alluded by a son of mine,
(I hope to quote him is not to purloin,)
Two magnets, heaven and earth, allure to bliss;
The larger loadstone that, the nearer this:
The weak attraction of the greater fails;
We nod a while, but neighbourhood prevails;
But when the greater proves the nearer too,
I wonder more your converts come so slow.
Methinks in those who firm with me remain,
It shows a nobler principle than gain.”
“Your inference would be strong,” the Hind replied,
“If yours were in effect the suffering side;
Your clergy's sons their own in peace possess,
Nor are their prospects in reversion less.
My proselytes are struck with awful dread,
Your bloody comet-laws hang blazing o'er their head;
The respite they enjoy but only lent,
The best they have to hope, protracted punishment.
Be judge yourself, if interest may prevail,
Which motives, yours or mine, will turn the scale.
While pride and pomp allure, and plenteous ease,
That is, till man's predominant passions cease,
Admire no longer at my slow increase.
“By education most have been misled;
So they believe, because they so were bred.
The priest continues what the nurse began,
And thus the child imposes on the man.
The rest I named before, nor need repeat;
But interest is the most prevailing cheat,
The sly seducer both of age and youth;
They study that, and think they study truth.
When interest fortifies an argument,
Weak reason serves to gain the will's assent;
For souls, already warped, receive an easy bent.
“Add long prescription of established laws,
And pique of honour to maintain a cause,
And shame of change, and fear of future ill,
And zeal, the blind conductor of the will;
And chief, among the still-mistaking crowd,
The fame of teachers obstinate and proud,
And, more than all, the private judge allowed;
Disdain of fathers which the dance began,
And last, uncertain whose the narrower span,
The clown unread, and half-read gentleman.”
To this the Panther, with a scornful smile;—
“Yet still you travail with unwearied toil,
And range around the realm without control,
Among my sons for proselytes to prowl;
And here and there you snap some silly soul.
You hinted fears of future change in state;
Pray heaven you did not prophesy your fate!
Perhaps you think your time of triumph near,
But may mistake the season of the year;
The Swallow's fortune gives you cause to fear.”
For charity,” replied the matron, “tell
What sad mischance those pretty birds befell.”
“Nay, no mischance,” the savage dame replied,
“But want of wit in their unerring guide,
And eager haste, and gaudy hopes, and giddy pride.
Yet, wishing timely warning may prevail,
Make you the moral, and I'll tell the tale.
The Swallow, privileged above the rest
Of all the birds, as man's familiar guest,
Pursues the sun, in summer brisk and bold,
But wisely shuns the persecuting cold;
Is well to chancels and to chimneys known,
Though 'tis not thought she feeds on smoke alone.
From hence she has been held of heavenly line,
Endued with particles of soul divine.
This merry chorister had long possessed
Her summer-seat, and feathered well her nest;
Till frowning skies began to change their cheer,
And time turned up the wrong side of the year;
The shading trees began the ground to strow
With yellow leaves, and bitter blasts to blow.
Sad auguries of winter thence she drew,
Which by instinct, or prophecy, she knew;
When prudence warned her to remove betimes,
And seek a better heaven, and warmer climes.
“Her sons were summoned on a steeple's height,
And, called in common council, vote a flight.
The day was named, the next that should be fair;
All to the general rendezvous repair,
They try their fluttering wings, and trust themselves in air.
But whether upward to the moon they go,
Or dream the winter out in caves below,
Or hawk at flies elsewhere, concerns us not to know.
Southwards you may be sure they bent their flight,
And harboured in a hollow rock at night;
Next morn they rose, and set up every sail;
The wind was fair, but blew a mackrel gale;
The sickly young sat shivering on the shore,
Abhorred salt-water never seen before,
And prayed their tender mothers to delay
The passage, and expect a fairer day.
“With these the Martin readily concurred,
A church-begot and church-believing bird;
Of little body, but of lofty mind,
Round bellied, for a dignity designed,
And much a dunce, as Martins are by kind;
Yet often quoted canon-laws, and code,
And fathers which he never understood;
But little learning needs in noble blood.
For, sooth to say, the Swallow brought him in,
Her household chaplain, and her next of kin;
In superstition silly to excess,
And casting schemes by planetary guess;
In fine, short-winged, unfit himself to fly,
His fear foretold foul weather in the sky.
Besides, a Raven from a withered oak,
Left of their lodging, was observed to croak.
That omen liked him not; so his advice
Was present safety, bought at any price;
A seeming pious care, that covered cowardice.
To strengthen this, he told a boding dream,
Of rising waters, and a troubled stream,
Sure signs of anguish, dangers, and distress,
With something more, not lawful to express:
By which he slily seemed to intimate
Some secret revelation of their fate.
For he concluded, once upon a time,
He found a leaf inscribed with sacred rhyme,
Whose antique characters did well denote
The Sibyl's hand of the Cumæan grot;
The mad divineress had plainly writ,
A time should come, but many ages yet,
In which, sinister destinies ordain,
A dame should drown with all her feathered train,
And seas from thence be called the Chelidonian main.
At this, some shook for fear; the more devout
Arose, and blessed themselves from head to foot.
“'Tis true, some stagers of the wiser sort
Made all these idle wonderments their sport;
They said their only danger was delay,
And he, who heard what every fool could say,
Would never fix his thought, but trim his time away.
The passage yet was good; the wind, 'tis true,
Was somewhat high, but that was nothing new,
No more than usual equinoxes blew.
The sun, already from the Scales declined,
Gave little hopes of better days behind,
But change from bad to worse, of weather and of wind.
Nor need they fear the dampness of the sky
Should flag their wings, and hinder them to fly,
'Twas only water thrown on sails too dry.
But, least of all, philosophy presumes
Of truth in dreams, from melancholy fumes;
Perhaps the Martin, housed in holy ground,
Might think of ghosts, that walk their midnight round,
Till grosser atoms, tumbling in the stream
Of fancy, madly met, and clubbed into a dream:
As little weight his vain presages bear,
Of ill effect to such alone who fear;
Most prophecies are of a piece with these,
Each Nostradamus can foretell with ease:
Not naming persons, and confounding times,
One casual truth supports a thousand lying rhymes.
The advice was true; but fear had seized the most,
And all good counsel is on cowards lost.
The question crudely put to shun delay,
'Twas carried by the major part to stay.
“His point thus gained, Sir Martin dated thence
His power, and from a priest became a prince.
He ordered all things with a busy care,
And cells and refectories did prepare,
And large provisions laid of winter fare;
But, now and then, let fall a word or two,
Of hope, that heaven some miracle might show,
And, for their sakes, the sun should backward go;
Against the laws of nature upward climb,
And, mounted on the Ram, renew the prime;
For which two proofs in sacred story lay,
Of Ahaz' dial, and of Joshua's day.
In expectation of such times as these,
A chapel housed them, truly called of ease;
For Martin much devotion did not ask;
They prayed sometimes, and that was all their task.
“It happened, as beyond the reach of wit
Blind prophecies may have a lucky hit,
That this accomplished, or at least in part,
Gave great repute to their new Merlin's art.
Some Swifts, the giants of the Swallow kind,
Large limbed, stout hearted, but of stupid mind,
(For Swisses, or for Gibeonites designed,)
These lubbers, peeping through a broken pane,
To suck fresh air, surveyed the neighbouring plain,
And saw, but scarcely could believe their eyes,
New blossoms flourish, and new flowers arise;
As God had been abroad, and, walking there,
Had left his footsteps, and reformed the year.
The sunny hills from far were seen to glow
With glittering beams, and in the meads below
The burnished brooks appeared with liquid gold to flow.
At last they heard the foolish Cuckoo sing,
Whose note proclaimed the holiday of spring.
“No longer doubting, all prepare to fly,
And repossess their patrimonial sky.
The priest before them did his wings display;
And that good omens might attend their way,
As luck would have it, 'twas St. Martin's day.
“Who but the Swallow now triumphs alone?
The canopy of heaven is all her own;
Her youthful offspring to their haunts repair,
And glide along in glades, and skim in air,
And dip for insects in the purling springs,
And stoop on rivers to refresh their wings.
Their mother thinks a fair provision made,
That every son can live upon his trade,
And, now the careful charge is off their hands,
Look out for husbands, and new nuptial bands.
The youthful widow longs to be supplied;
But first the lover is by lawyers tied,
To settle jointure-chimneys on the bride.
So thick they couple in so short a space,
That Martin's marriage-offerings rise apace.
Their ancient houses, running to decay,
Are furbished up, and cemented with clay:
They teem already; store of eggs are laid,
And brooding mothers call Lucina's aid.
Fame spreads the news, and foreign fowls appear,
In flocks, to greet the new returning year,
To bless the founder, and partake the cheer.
And now 'twas time, so fast their numbers rise,
To plant abroad and people colonies.
The youth drawn forth, as Martin had desired,
(For so their cruel destiny required,)
Were sent far off on an ill-fated day;
The rest would needs conduct them on their way,
And Martin went, because he feared alone to stay.
“So long they flew with inconsiderate haste,
That now their afternoon began to waste;
And, what was ominous, that very morn
The sun was entered into Capricorn;
Which, by their bad astronomer's account,
That week the Virgin balance should remount.
An infant moon eclipsed him in his way,
And hid the small remainders of his day.
The crowd, amazed, pursued no certain mark,
But birds met birds, and jostled in the dark.
Few mind the public, in a panic fright,
And fear increased the horror of the night.
Night came, but unattended with repose;
Alone she came, no sleep their eyes to close;
Alone, and black she came; no friendly stars arose.
“What should they do, beset with dangers round,
No neighbouring dorp, no lodging to be found,
But bleaky plains, and bare, unhospitable ground?
The latter brood, who just began to fly,
Sick-feathered, and unpractised in the sky,
For succour to their helpless mother call:
She spread her wings; some few beneath them crawl;
She spread them wider yet, but could not cover all.
To augment their woes, the winds began to move,
Debate in air for empty fields above,
Till Boreas got the skies, and poured amain
His rattling hailstones, mixed with snow and rain.
The joyless morning late arose, and found
A dreadful desolation reign around,
Some buried in the snow, some frozen to the ground.
The rest were struggling still with death, and lay
The Crows' and Ravens' rights, an undefended prey:
Excepting Martin's race; for they and he
Had gained the shelter of a hollow tree;
But, soon discovered by a sturdy clown,
He headed all the rabble of a town,
And finished them with bats, or polled them down.
Martin himself was caught alive, and tried
For treasonous crimes, because the laws provide
No Martin there in winter shall abide.
High on an oak, which never leaf shall bear,
He breathed his last, exposed to open air;
And there his corpse unblessed is hanging still,
To show the change of winds with his prophetic bill.”
The patience of the Hind did almost fail,
For well she marked the malice of the tale;
Which ribald art their Church to Luther owes;
In malice it began, by malice grows;
He sowed the serpent's teeth, an iron harvest rose.
But most in Martin's character and fate,
She saw her slandered sons, the Panther's hate,
The people's rage, the persecuting state:
Then said, “I take the advice in friendly part;
You clear your conscience, or at least your heart.
Perhaps you failed in your foreseeing skill,
For Swallows are unlucky birds to kill:
As for my sons, the family is blessed,
Whose every child is equal to the rest;
No Church reformed can boast a blameless line,
Such Martins build in yours, and more than mine;
Or else an old fanatic author lies,
Who summed their scandals up by centuries.
But through your parable I plainly see
The bloody laws, the crowd's barbarity;
The sunshine, that offends the purblind sight,
Had some their wishes, it would soon be night.
Mistake me not; the charge concerns not you;
Your sons are malcontents, but yet are true,
As far as non-resistance makes them so;
But that's a word of neutral sense, you know,
A passive term, which no relief will bring,
But trims betwixt a rebel and a king.”
“Rest well assured,” the Pardalis replied,
“My sons would all support the regal side,
Though heaven forbid the cause by battle should be tried.”
The matron answered with a loud Amen,
And thus pursued her argument again:—
“If, as you say, and as I hope no less,
Your sons will practise what yourselves profess,
What angry power prevents our present peace?
The Lion, studious of our common good,
Desires (and kings' desires are ill withstood)
To join our nations in a lasting love;
The bars betwixt are easy to remove,
For sanguinary laws were never made above.
If you condemn that prince of tyranny,
Whose mandate forced your Gallic friends to fly,
Make not a worse example of your own,
Or cease to rail at causeless rigour shown,
And let the guiltless person throw the stone.
His blunted sword your suffering brotherhood
Have seldom felt; he stops it short of blood:
But you have ground the persecuting knife,
And set it to a razor-edge on life.
Cursed be the wit, which cruelty refines,
Or to his father's rod the scorpion joins!
Your finger is more gross than the great monarch's loins.
But you, perhaps, remove that bloody note,
And stick it on the first reformers' coat.
Oh let their crime in long oblivion sleep;
'Twas theirs indeed to make, 'tis yours to keep!
Unjust, or just, is all the question now;
'Tis plain, that, not repealing, you allow.
“To name the Test would put you in a rage;
You charge not that on any former age,
But smile to think how innocent you stand,
Armed by a weapon put into your hand.
Yet still remember, that you wield a sword,
Forged by your foes against your sovereign lord;
Designed to hew the imperial cedar down,
Defraud succession, and dis-heir the crown.
To abhor the makers, and their laws approve,
Is to hate traitors, and the treason love.
What means it else, which now your children say,
We made it not, nor will we take away?
“Suppose some great oppressor had, by slight
Of law, disseised your brother of his right,
Your common sire surrendering in a fright;
Would you to that unrighteous title stand,
Left by the villain's will to heir the land?
More just was Judas, who his Saviour sold;
The sacrilegious bribe he could not hold,
Nor hang in peace, before he rendered back the gold.
What more could you have done, than now you do,
Had Oates and Bedloe and their plot been true;
Some specious reasons for those wrongs were found;
The dire magicians threw their mists around,
And wise men walked as on enchanted ground.
But now when time has made the imposture plain,
(Late though he followed truth, and limping held her train,)
What new delusion charms your cheated eyes again?
The painted harlot might a while bewitch,
But why the hag uncased, and all obscene with itch?
The first reformers were a modest race;
Our peers possessed in peace their native place,
And when rebellious arms o'erturned the state,
They suffered only in the common fate;
But now the sovereign mounts the regal chair,
And mitred seats are full, yet David's bench is bare.
Your answer is, they were not dispossest;
They need but rub their metal on the Test
To prove their ore;—'twere well if gold alone
Were touched and tried on your discerning stone;
But that unfaithful test unfound will pass
The dross of Atheists, and sectarian brass;
As if the experiment were made to hold
For base production, and reject the gold.
Thus men ungodded may to places rise,
And sects may be preferred without disguise;
No danger to the Church or State from these,
The Papist only has his writ of ease.
No gainful office gives him the pretence
To grind the subject, or defraud the prince.
Wrong conscience, or no conscience, may deserve
To thrive, but ours alone is privileged to starve.
Still thank yourselves, you cry; your noble race
We banish not, but they forsake the place;
Our doors are open:—true, but ere they come,
You toss your censing test, and fume the room;
As if 'twere Toby's rival to expel,
And fright the fiend who could not bear the smell.”
To this the Panther sharply had replied,
But having gained a verdict on her side,
She wisely gave the loser leave to chide;
Well satisfied to have the butt and peace,
And for the plaintiff's cause she cared the less,
Because she sued in forma pauperis;
Yet thought it decent something should be said,
For secret guilt by silence is betrayed;
So neither granted all, nor much denied,
But answered with a yawning kind of pride:
“Methinks such terms of proffered peace you bring,
As once Æneas to the Italian king:
By long possession all the land is mine;
You strangers come with your intruding line,
To share my sceptre, which you call to join.
You plead like him an ancient pedigree,
And claim a peaceful seat by fate's decree.
In ready pomp your sacrificer stands,
To unite the Trojan and the Latin bands;
And, that the league more firmly may be tied,
Demand the fair Lavinia for your bride.
Thus plausibly you veil the intended wrong,
But still you bring your exiled gods along;
And will endeavour, in succeeding space,
Those household puppets on our hearths to place.
Perhaps some barbarous laws have been preferred;
I spake against the Test, but was not heard.
These to rescind, and peerage to restore,
My gracious sovereign would my vote implore;
I owe him much, but owe my conscience more.”
“Conscience is then your plea,” replied the dame,
“Which, well-informed, will ever be the same.
But yours is much of the chameleon hue,
To change the dye with every distant view.
When first the Lion sat with awful sway,
Your conscience taught your duty to obey:
He might have had your statutes and your Test;
No conscience but of subjects was professed.
He found your temper, and no farther tried,
But on that broken reed, your Church, relied.
In vain the sects essayed their utmost art,
With offered treasures to espouse their part;
Their treasures were a bribe too mean to move his heart.
But when, by long experience, you had proved,
How far he could forgive, how well he loved;
(A goodness that excelled his godlike race,
And only short of heaven's unbounded grace;
A flood of mercy that o'erflowed our isle,
Calm in the rise, and fruitful as the Nile,)
Forgetting whence your Egypt was supplied,
You thought your sovereign bound to send the tide;
Nor upward looked on that immortal spring,
But vainly deemed, he durst not be a king.
Then Conscience, unrestrained by fear, began
To stretch her limits, and extend the span;
Did his indulgence as her gift dispose,
And made a wise alliance with her foes.
Can Conscience own the associating name,
And raise no blushes to conceal her shame?
For sure she has been thought a bashful dame.
But if the cause by battle should be tried,
You grant she must espouse the regal side;
O Proteus-conscience, never to be tied!
What Phœbus from the Tripod shall disclose,
Which are, in last resort, your friends or foes?
Homer, who learned the language of the sky,
The seeming Gordian knot would soon untie;
Immortal powers the term of Conscience know,
But Interest is her name with men below.”
“Conscience or Interest be't, or both in one,”
(The Panther answered in a surly tone
The first commands me to maintain the crown,
The last forbids to throw my barriers down.
Our penal laws no sons of yours admit,
Our Test excludes your tribe from benefit.
These are my banks your ocean to withstand,
Which, proudly rising, overlooks the land,
And, once let in, with unresisted sway,
Would sweep the pastors and their flocks away.
Think not my judgment leads me to comply
With laws unjust, but hard necessity:
Imperious need, which cannot be withstood,
Makes ill authentic, for a greater good.
Possess your soul with patience, and attend;
A more auspicious planet may ascend;
Good fortune may present some happier time
With means to cancel my unwilling crime;
(Unwilling, witness all ye powers above!)
To mend my errors, and redeem your love:
That little space you safely may allow;
Your all-dispensing power protects you now.”
“Hold,” said the Hind, “'tis needless to explain;
You would postpone me to another reign;
Till when, you are content to be unjust:
Your part is to possess, and mine to trust;
A fair exchange proposed, of future chance
For present profit and inheritance.
Few words will serve to finish our dispute;
Who will not now repeal, would persecute.
To ripen green revenge your hopes attend,
Wishing that happier planet would ascend.
For shame, let Conscience be your plea no more;
To will hereafter, proves she might before;
But she's a bawd to gain, and holds the door.
“Your care about your banks infers a fear
Of threatening floods and inundations near;
If so, a just reprise would only be
Of what the land usurped upon the sea;
And all your jealousies but serve to show,
Your ground is, like your neighbour-nation, low.
To intrench in what you grant unrighteous laws,
Is to distrust the justice of your cause;
And argues, that the true religion lies
In those weak adversaries you despise.
Tyrannic force is that which least you fear;
The sound is frightful in a Christian's ear:
Avert it, Heaven! nor let that plague be sent
To us from the dispeopled continent.
“But piety commands me to refrain;
Those prayers are needless in this monarch's reign.
Behold how he protects your friends oppressed,
Receives the banished, succours the distressed!
Behold, for you may read an honest open breast.
He stands in daylight, and disdains to hide
An act, to which by honour he is tied,
A generous, laudable, and kingly pride.
Your Test he would repeal, his peers restore;
This when he says he means, he means no more.”
“Well,” said the Panther, “I believe him just,
And yet—”
And yet, 'tis but because you must;
You would be trusted, but you would not trust.”
The Hind thus briefly; and disdained to enlarge
On power of kings, and their superior charge,
As heaven's trustees before the people's choice;
Though sure the Panther did not much rejoice
To hear those echoes given of her once loyal voice.
The matron wooed her kindness to the last,
But could not win; her hour of grace was past.
Whom, thus persisting, when she could not bring
To leave the Wolf, and to believe her king,
She gave her up, and fairly wished her joy
Of her late treaty with her new ally:
Which well she hoped would more successful prove,
Than was the Pigeon's and the Buzzard's love.
The Panther asked, what concord there could be
Betwixt two kinds whose natures disagree?
The dame replied: “'Tis sung in every street,
The common chat of gossips when they meet;
But, since unheard by you, 'tis worth your while
To take a wholesome tale, though told in homely style.
A plain good man, whose name is understood,
(So few deserve the name of plain and good,)
Of three fair lineal lordships stood possessed,
And lived, as reason was, upon the best.
Inured to hardships from his early youth,
Much had he done and suffered for his truth:
At land and sea, in many a doubtful fight,
Was never known a more adventurous knight,
Who oftener drew his sword, and always for the right.
“As fortune would, (his fortune came, though late,)
He took possession of his just estate;
Nor racked his tenants with increase of rent,
Nor lived too sparing, nor too largely spent,
But overlooked his hinds; their pay was just,
And ready, for he scorned to go on trust:
Slow to resolve, but in performance quick;
So true, that he was awkward at a trick.
For little souls on little shifts rely,
And coward arts of mean expedients try;
The noble mind will dare do anything but lie.
False friends, his deadliest foes, could find no way,
But shows of honest bluntness, to betray;
That unsuspected plainness he believed;
He looked into himself, and was deceived.
Some lucky planet sure attends his birth,
Or heaven would make a miracle on earth;
For prosperous honesty is seldom seen
To bear so dead a weight, and yet to win.
It looks as fate with nature's law would strive,
To show plain-dealing once an age may thrive;
And, when so tough a frame she could not bend,
Exceeded her commission, to befriend.
“This grateful man, as heaven increased his store,
Gave God again, and daily fed his poor.
His house with all convenience was purveyed;
The rest he found, but raised the fabric where he prayed;
And in that sacred place his beauteous wife
Employed her happiest hours of holy life.
“Nor did their alms extend to those alone,
Whom common faith more strictly made their own;
A sort of Doves were housed too near the hall,
Who cross the proverb, and abound with gall.
Though some, 'tis true, are passively inclined,
The greater part degenerate from their kind;
Voracious birds, that hotly bill and breed,
And largely drink, because on salt they feed.
Small gain from them their bounteous owner draws;
Yet, bound by promise, he supports their cause,
As corporations privileged by laws.
“That house, which harbour to their kind affords,
Was built long since, God knows, for better birds;
But fluttering there, they nestle near the throne,
And lodge in habitations not their own,
By their high crops and corny gizzards known.
Like Harpies, they could scent a plenteous board,
Then to be sure they never failed their lord:
The rest was form, and bare attendance paid;
They drank, and eat, and grudgingly obeyed.
The more they fed, they ravened still for more;
They drained from Dan, and left Beersheba poor.
All this they had by law, and none repined;
The preference was but due to Levi's kind:
But when some lay-preferment fell by chance,
The gourmands made it their inheritance.
When once possessed, they never quit their claim,
For then 'tis sanctified to heaven's high name;
And hallowed thus, they cannot give consent,
The gift should be profaned by worldly management.
“Their flesh was never to the table served,
Though 'tis not thence inferred the birds were starved;
But that their master did not like the food,
As rank, and breeding melancholy blood.
Nor did it with his gracious nature suit,
E'en though they were not doves, to persecute:
Yet he refused, (nor could they take offence,)
Their glutton kind should teach him abstinence.
Nor consecrated grain their wheat he thought,
Which, new from treading, in their bills they brought;
But left his hinds each in his private power,
That those who like the bran might leave the flour.
He for himself, and not for others, chose,
Nor would he be imposed on, nor impose;
But in their faces his devotion paid,
And sacrifice with solemn rites was made,
And sacred incense on his altars laid.
“Besides these jolly birds, whose corpse impure
Repaid their commons with their salt manure,
Another farm he had behind his house,
Not overstocked, but barely for his use;
Wherein his poor domestic poultry fed,
And from his pious hands received their bread.
Our pampered Pigeons, with malignant eyes,
Beheld these inmates, and their nurseries;
Though hard their fare, at evening, and at morn,
(A cruse of water and an ear of corn,)
Yet still they grudged that modicum, and thought
A sheaf in every single grain was brought.
Fain would they filch that little food away,
While unrestrained those happy gluttons prey;
And much they grieved to see so nigh their hall,
The bird that warned St. Peter of his fall;
That he should raise his mitred crest on high,
And clap his wings, and call his family
To sacred rites; and vex the ethereal powers
With midnight matins at uncivil hours;
Nay more, his quiet neighbours should molest,
Just in the sweetness of their morning rest.
Beast of a bird, supinely when he might
Lie snug and sleep, to rise before the light!
What if his dull forefathers used that cry,
Could he not let a bad example die?
The world was fallen into an easier way;
This age knew better than to fast and pray.
Good sense in sacred worship would appear,
So to begin, as they might end the year.
Such feats in former times had wrought the falls
Of crowing chanticleers in cloistered walls.
Expelled for this, and for their lands, they fled;
And sister Partlet, with her hooded head,
Was hooted hence, because she would not pray abed.
The way to win the restiff world to God,
Was to lay by the disciplining rod,
Unnatural fasts, and foreign forms of prayer;
Religion frights us with a mien severe.
'Tis prudence to reform her into ease,
And put her in undress, to make her please;
A lively faith will bear aloft the mind,
And leave the luggage of good works behind.
“Such doctrines in the Pigeon-house were taught;
You need not ask how wondrously they wrought;
But sure the common cry was all for these,
Whose life and precepts both encouraged ease.
Yet fearing those alluring baits might fail,
And holy deeds o'er all their arts prevail,
(For vice, though frontless, and of hardened face,
Is daunted at the sight of awful grace,)
An hideous figure of their foes they drew,
Nor lines, nor looks, nor shades, nor colours true;
And this grotesque design exposed to public view.
One would have thought it an Egyptian piece,
With garden-gods, and barking deities,
More thick than Ptolemy has stuck the skies.
All so perverse a draught, so far unlike,
It was no libel where it meant to strike.
Yet still the daubing pleased, and great and small,
To view the monster, crowded Pigeon-hall.
There Chanticleer was drawn upon his knees,
Adorning shrines, and stocks of sainted trees;
And by him, a misshapen, ugly race,
The curse of God was seen on every face:
No Holland emblem could that malice mend,
But still the worse the look, the fitter for a fiend.
The master of the farm, displeased to find
So much of rancour in so mild a kind,
Enquired into the cause, and came to know,
The passive Church had struck the foremost blow;
With groundless fears, and jealousies possest,
As if this troublesome intruding guest
Would drive the birds of Venus from their nest,
A deed his inborn equity abhorred;
But interest will not trust, though God should plight his word.
A law, the source of many future harms,
Had banished all the poultry from the farms;
With loss of life, if any should be found
To crow or peck on this forbidden ground.
That bloody statute chiefly was designed
For Chanticleer the white, of clergy kind;
But after-malice did not long forget
The lay that wore the robe and coronet.
For them, for their inferiors and allies,
Their foes a deadly Shibboleth devise;
By which unrighteously it was decreed,
That none to trust, or profit, should succeed,
Who would not swallow first a poisonous wicked weed;
Or that, to which old Socrates was cursed,
Or henbane juice to swell them till they burst.
The patron, as in reason, thought it hard
To see this inquisition in his yard,
By which the sovereign was of subjects' use debarred.
All gentle means he tried, which might withdraw
The effects of so unnatural a law;
But still the dove-house obstinately stood
Deaf to their own, and to their neighbours' good;
And which was worse, if any worse could be,
Repented of their boasted loyalty;
Now made the champions of a cruel cause,
And drunk with fumes of popular applause:
For those whom God to ruin has designed,
He fits for fate, and first destroys their mind.
“New doubts indeed they daily strove to raise,
Suggested dangers, interposed delays,
And emissary Pigeons had in store,
Such as the Meccan prophet used of yore,
To whisper counsels in their patron's ear,
And veiled their false advice with zealous fear.
The master smiled to see them work in vain,
To wear him out, and make an idle reign:
He saw, but suffered their protractive arts,
And strove by mildness to reduce their hearts;
But they abused that grace to make allies,
And fondly closed with former enemies;
For fools are double fools, endeavouring to be wise.
After a grave consult what course were best,
One, more mature in folly than the rest,
Stood up, and told them, with his head aside,
That desperate cures must be to desperate ills applied:
And therefore, since their main impending fear
Was from the increasing race of Chanticleer,
Some potent bird of prey they ought to find,
A foe professed to him, and all his kind:
Some haggard Hawk, who had her eyry nigh,
Well pounced to fasten, and well winged to fly;
One they might trust, their common wrongs to wreak.
The Musquet and the Coystrel were too weak,
Too fierce the Falcon; but, above the rest,
The noble Buzzard ever pleased me best:
Of small renown, 'tis true; for, not to lie,
We call him but a Hawk by courtesy.
I know he haunts the Pigeon-house and Farm,
And more, in time of war, has done us harm:
But all his hate on trivial points depends;
Give up our forms, and we shall soon be friends.
For Pigeons' flesh he seems not much to care;
Crammed Chickens are a more delicious fare.
On this high potentate, without delay,
I wish you would confer the sovereign sway;
Petition him to accept the government,
And let a splendid embassy be sent.
“This pithy speech prevailed, and all agreed,
Old enmities forgot, the Buzzard should succeed.
“Their welcome suit was granted, soon as heard,
His lodgings furnished, and a train prepared,
With B's upon their breast, appointed for his guard.
He came, and, crowned with great solemnity,
‘God save king Buzzard!’ was the general cry.
A portly prince, and goodly to the sight,
He seemed a son of Anak for his height:
Like those whom stature did to crowns prefer,
Black-browed, and bluff, like Homer's Jupiter;
Broad-backed, and brawny-built for love's delight,
A prophet formed to make a female proselyte;
A theologue more by need than genial bent,
By breeding sharp, by nature confident.
Interest in all his actions was discerned;
More learned than honest, more a wit than learned;
Or forced by fear, or by his profit led,
Or both conjoined, his native clime he fled;
But brought the virtues of his heaven along,
A fair behaviour, and a fluent tongue.
And yet with all his arts he could not thrive,
The most unlucky parasite alive;
Loud praises to prepare his paths he sent,
And then himself pursued his compliment;
But by reverse of fortune chased away,
His gifts no longer than their author stay;
He shakes the dust against the ungrateful race,
And leaves the stench of ordures in the place.
Oft has he flattered and blasphemed the same;
For in his rage he spares no sovereign's name:
The hero and the tyrant change their style,
By the same measure that they frown or smile.
When well received by hospitable foes,
The kindness he returns, is to expose;
For courtesies, though undeserved and great,
No gratitude in felon-minds beget;
As tribute to his wit, the churl receives the treat.
His praise of foes is venomously nice;
So touched, it turns a virtue to a vice;
A Greek, and bountiful, forewarns us twice.’
Seven sacraments he wisely does disown,
Because he knows confession stands for one;
Where sins to sacred silence are conveyed,
And not for fear, or love, to be betrayed:
But he, uncalled, his patron to control,
Divulged the secret whispers of his soul;
Stood forth the accusing Satan of his crimes,
And offered to the Moloch of the times.
Prompt to assail, and careless of defence,
Invulnerable in his impudence,
He dares the world; and, eager of a name,
He thrusts about, and jostles into fame.
Frontless, and satire-proof, he scours the streets,
And runs an Indian-muck at all he meets.
So fond of loud report, that, not to miss
Of being known, (his last and utmost bliss,)
He rather would be known for what he is.
“Such was, and is, the Captain of the Test,
Though half his virtues are not here expressed;
The modesty of fame conceals the rest.
The spleenful Pigeons never could create
A prince more proper to revenge their hate;
Indeed, more proper to revenge, than save;
A king, whom in his wrath the Almighty gave:
For all the grace the landlord had allowed,
But made the Buzzard and the Pigeons proud;
Gave time to fix their friends, and to seduce the crowd.
They long their fellow-subjects to enthral,
Their patron's promise into question call,
And vainly think he meant to make them lords of all.
“False fears their leaders failed not to suggest,
As if the Doves were to be dispossest;
Nor sighs, nor groans, nor goggling eyes did want,
For now the Pigeons too had learned to cant.
The house of prayer is stocked with large increase;
Nor doors, nor windows, can contain the press,
For birds of every feather fill the abode;
E'en atheists out of envy own a God,
And, reeking from the stews, adulterers come,
Like Goths and Vandals to demolish Rome.
That conscience, which to all their crimes was mute,
Now calls aloud, and cries to persecute:
No rigour of the laws to be released,
And much the less, because it was their Lord's request;
They thought it great their sovereign to control,
And named their pride, nobility of soul.
“'Tis true, the Pigeons, and their prince elect,
Were short of power, their purpose to effect;
But with their quills did all the hurt they could,
And cuffed the tender Chickens from their food:
And much the Buzzard in their cause did stir,
Though naming not the patron, to infer,
With all respect, he was a gross idolater.
“But when the imperial owner did espy,
That thus they turned his grace to villainy,
Not suffering wrath to discompose his mind,
He strove a temper for the extremes to find,
So to be just, as he might still be kind;
Then, all maturely weighed, pronounced a doom
Of sacred strength for every age to come.
By this the Doves their wealth and state possess,
No rights infringed, but licence to oppress:
Such power have they as factious lawyers long
To crowns ascribed, that kings can do no wrong.
But since his own domestic birds have tried
The dire effects of their destructive pride,
He deems that proof a measure to the rest,
Concluding well within his kingly breast,
His fowls of nature too unjustly were opprest.
He therefore makes all birds of every sect
Free of his farm, with promise to respect
Their several kinds alike, and equally protect.
His gracious edict the same franchise yields
To all the wild increase of woods and fields,
And who in rocks aloof, and who in steeples builds:
To Crows the like impartial grace affords,
And Choughs and Daws, and such republic birds;
Secured with ample privilege to feed,
Each has his district, and his bounds decreed;
Combined in common interest with his own,
But not to pass the Pigeons' Rubicon.
“Here ends the reign of this pretended Dove;
All prophecies accomplished from above,
For Shiloh comes the sceptre to remove.
Reduced from her imperial high abode,
Like Dionysius to a private rod,
The passive Church, that with pretended grace
Did her distinctive mark in duty place,
Now touched, reviles her Maker to his face.
“What after happened is not hard to guess;
The small beginnings had a large increase,
And arts and wealth succeed the secret spoils of peace.
'Tis said, the Doves repented, though too late,
Become the smiths of their own foolish fate:
Nor did their owner hasten their ill hour,
But, sunk in credit, they decreased in power;
Like snows in warmth that mildly pass away,
Dissolving in the silence of decay.
The Buzzard, not content with equal place,
Invites the feathered Nimrods of his race,
To hide the thinness of their flock from sight,
And all together make a seeming goodly flight:
But each have separate interests of their own;
Two Czars are one too many for a throne.
Nor can the usurper long abstain from food;
Already he has tasted Pigeon's blood,
And may be tempted to his former fare,
When this indulgent lord shall late to heaven repair.
Bare benting times, and moulting months may come,
When, lagging late, they cannot reach their home;
Or rent in schism, (for so their fate decrees,)
Like the tumultuous college of the bees,
They fight their quarrel, by themselves opprest,
The tyrant smiles below, and waits the falling feast.”
Thus did the gentle Hind her fable end,
Nor would the Panther blame it, nor commend;
But, with affected yawnings at the close,
Seemed to require her natural repose;
For now the streaky light began to peep,
And setting stars admonished both to sleep.
The Dame withdrew, and, wishing to her guest
The peace of heaven, betook herself to rest:
Ten thousand angels on her slumbers wait,
With glorious visions of her future state.

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Lisa and The Aftermath After Sunday

Lisa dresses for school,
buttons up the blouse
with fumbling fingers.
She stares down at her

bed where she and Mona
had lain the day before.
The same sheets, pillows
having no doubt her hair,

her smell. She puts on her
school tie, loops it through,
her fingers sensing the
smoothness of the cloth.

She remembers how they
had made love on that bed,
how they had lain naked and
hot and kissing. Best Sunday

ever, she muses, looking away,
stepping into her school skirt,
pulling it over her waist.
Her mother had called out

to her some minutes before.
Breakfast ready, not in the
mood for food. She looks out
the window at the farmyard

across the way, cows heading
out to the fields, her father
following, bellowing, a stick
in his hand, his arms raised

to move them on. She sits on
the bed and takes a pillow
and holds it to her nose
and sniffs. Mona's scent,

borrowed from her mother,
she had said. She feels along
the sheet with her hand.
They had laid there, their

bodies, their lips kissing,
their hands holding. No one
had known they were
making love. Her parents

and family had thought them
drying after getting drench
in the Sunday downpour.
She closes her eyes, imagines

Mona is still there, thinks
she feels her hands around
her waist. Her mother's voice
calls from downstairs. She sighs,

stands up and slips on her
socks and shoes. Leans down
and puts a kiss on her top
pillow where Mona had

laid her head, now she has only
images and memories instead.

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And the Greatest of These Is War

Around the council-board of Hell, with Satan at their head,
The Three Great Scourges of humanity sat.
Gaunt Famine, with hollow cheek and voice, arose and spoke,—
'O, Prince, I have stalked the earth,
And my victims by ten thousands I have slain,
I have smitten old and young.
Mouths of the helpless old moaning for bread, I have filled with dust;
And I have laughed to see a crying babe tug at the shriveling breast
Of its mother, dead and cold.
I have heard the cries and prayers of men go up to a tearless sky,
And fall back upon an earth of ashes;
But, heedless, I have gone on with my work.
'Tis thus, O, Prince, that I have scourged mankind.'
And Satan nodded his head.

Pale Pestilence, with stenchful breath, then spoke and said, —
'Great Prince, my brother, Famine, attacks the poor.
Page 38
He is most terrible against the helpless and the old.
But I have made a charnel-house of the mightiest cities of men.
When I strike, neither their stores of gold or of grain avail.
With a breath I lay low their strongest, and wither up their fairest.
I come upon them without warning, lancing invisible death.
From me they flee with eyes and mouths distended;
I poison the air for which they gasp, and I strike them down fleeing.
'Tis thus, great Prince, that I have scourged mankind.'
And Satan nodded his head.

Then the red monster, War, rose up and spoke,—
His blood-shot eyes glared 'round him, and his thundering voice
Echoed through the murky vaults of Hell. —
'O, mighty Prince, my brothers, Famine and Pestilence,
Have slain their thousands and ten thousands,— true;
But the greater their victories have been,
The more have they wakened in Man's breast
The God-like attributes of sympathy, of brotherhood and love
And made of him a searcher after wisdom.
But I arouse in Man the demon and the brute,
I plant black hatred in his heart and red revenge.
From the summit of fifty thousand years of upward climb
I haul him down to the level of the start, back to the wolf.
I give him claws.
I set his teeth into his brother's throat.
I make him drunk with his brother's blood.
And I laugh ho! ho! while he destroys himself.
O, mighty Prince, not only do I slay,
But I draw Man hellward.'

And Satan smiled, stretched out his hand, and said, —
'O War, of all the scourges of humanity, I crown you chief.'
And Hell rang with the acclamation of the Fiends.

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