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[183]
Passed round in turn from mouth to mouth;—
If any ism should arise,
They look on it with constable's eyes,
Tie round its neck a heavy athe-,
And give it kittens' hydropathy.
This trick with other (useful very) tricks
Is laid to the Babylonian meretrix,
But 't was in vogue before her day
Wherever priesthoods had their way,
And Buddha's Popes with this struck dumb
The followers of Fi and Fum.

Well, if the world with prudent fear
Pays God a seventh of the year,
And as a Farmer, who would pack
All his religion in one stack,
For this world works six days in seven
And on the seventh works for Heaven,
Expecting, for his Sunday's sowing,
In the next world to go a-mowing
The crop of all his meeting-going;—
If the poor Church, by power enticed,
Finds none so infidel as Christ,
Quite backward reads his Gospel meek,
(As 't were in Hebrew writ, not Greek,)
Fencing the gallows and the sword
With conscripts drafted from his word,
And makes one gate of Heaven so wide
That the rich orthodox might ride
Through on their camels, while the poor
Squirm through the scant, unyielding door,
Which, of the Gospel's straitest size,
Is narrower than beadneedles' eyes,—
What wonder World and Church should call
The true faith atheistical?

Yet, after all, 'twixt you and me,
Dear Miller, I could never see
That Sin's and Error's ugly smirch
Stained the walls only of the Church;—
There are good priests, and men who take
Freedom's torn cloak for lucre's sake,—
I can't believe the Church so strong,

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