The Respectable Burgher

“Since Reverend Doctors now declare

That clerks and people must prepare

To doubt if Adam ever were;

To hold the flood a local scare;

To argue, though the stolid stare,

That everything had happened ere

The prophets to its happenings sware;

That David was no giant-slayer,

Nor one to call a God-obeyer

In certain details we could spare

But rather was a debonair

Shrewd bandit, skilled as banjo-player;

That Solomon sang the fleshly Fair,

And gave the Church no thought whate’er;

That Esther with her royal wear,

And Mordecai, the son of Jair,

And Joshua’s triumphs, Job’s despair,

And Balaam’s ass’s bitter blare;

Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace-flare,

And Daniel and the den affair,

And other stories rich and rare,

Were writ to make old doctrine wear

Something of a romantic air;

That the Nain widow’s only heir’

And Lazarus with cadaverous glare

(As done in oils by Piombo’s care)

Did not return from Sheol’s lair,

That Jael set a fiendish snare,

That Pontius Pilate acted square,

That never a sword cut Malchus’ ear;

And (but for shame I must forbear)

That _ _ did not reappear!…

-Since thus they hint, nor turn a hair,

All churchgoing will I forswear,

And sit on Sundays in my chair,

And read that moderate man Voltaire.”

-Thomas Hardy







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s