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 Their gay robes trailed in ditch and swamp,
And torn by thorn and thicket,
The dancing-girls of Merry Mount
Came dragging to my wicket.
Shrill Anabaptists, shorn of ears;
Gray witch-wives, hobbling slowly;
And Antinomians, free of law,
Whose very sins were holy.
Hoarse ranters, crazed Fifth Monarchists,
Of stripes and bondage braggarts,
Pale Churchmen, with singed rubrics snatched
From Puritanic fagots.
And last, not least, the Quakers came,
With tongues still sore from burning,
The Bay State's dust from off their feet
Before my threshold spurning;
A motley host, the Lord's debris,
Faith's odds and ends together;
Well might I shrink from guests with lungs
Tough as their breeches leather:
If, when the hangman at their heels
Came, rope in hand to catch them,
I took the hunted outcasts in,
I never sent to fetch them.
I fed, but spared them not a whit;
I gave to all who walked in,
Not clams and succotash alone,
But stronger meat of doctrine.
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