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On The Words Brother Protestants And Fellow Christians Post by :gradyb Category :Poems Author :Jonathan Swift Date :August 2011 Read :1551

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On The Words Brother Protestants And Fellow Christians


AN inundation, says the fable,
Overflow'd a farmer's barn and stable;
Whole ricks of hay and stacks of corn
Were down the sudden current borne;
While things of heterogeneous kind
Together float with tide and wind.
The generous wheat forgot its pride,
And sail'd with litter side by side;
Uniting all, to show their amity,
As in a general calamity.
A ball of new-dropp'd horse's dung,
Mingling with apples in the throng,
Said to the pippin plump and prim,
"See, brother, how we apples swim."
Thus Lamb, renown'd for cutting corns,
An offer'd fee from Radcliff scorns,
"Not for the world--we doctors, brother,
Must take no fees of one another."
Thus to a dean some curate sloven
Subscribes, "Dear sir, your brother loving."
Thus all the footmen, shoeboys, porters,
About St. James's, cry, "We courtiers."
Thus Horace in the house will prate,
"Sir, we, the ministers of state."
Thus at the bar the booby Bettesworth,(1)
Though half a crown o'erpays his sweat's worth;
Who knows in law nor text nor margent,
Calls Singleton(2) his brother sergeant.
And thus fanatic saints, though neither in
Doctrine nor discipline our brethren,
Are brother Protestants and Christians,
As much as Hebrews and Philistines:
But in no other sense, than nature
Has made a rat our fellow-creature.
Lice from your body suck their food;
But is a louse your flesh and blood?
Though born of human filth and sweat, it
As well may say man did beget it.
And maggots in your nose and chin
As well may claim you for their kin.
Yet critics may object, why not?
Since lice are brethren to a Scot:
Which made our swarm of sects determine
Employments for their brother vermin.
But be they English, Irish, Scottish,
What Protestant can be so sottish,
While o'er the church these clouds are gathering
To call a swarm of lice his brethren?
As Moses, by divine advice,
In Egypt turn'd the dust to lice;
And as our sects, by all descriptions,
Have hearts more harden'd than Egyptians
As from the trodden dust they spring,
And, turn'd to lice, infest the king:
For pity's sake, it would be just,
A rod should turn them back to dust.
Let folks in high or holy stations
Be proud of owning such relations;
Let courtiers hug them in their bosom,
As if they were afraid to lose 'em:
While I, with humble Job, had rather
Say to corruption--"Thou'rt my father."
For he that has so little wit
To nourish vermin, may be bit.

(Footnote 1: These lines were the cause of the personal attack upon the Dean. See "Prose Works," iv, pp. 27,261. _--W. E. B._)

(Footnote 2: Henry Singleton, Esq., then prime sergeant, afterwards lord-chief-justice of the common pleas, which he resigned, and was some time after made master of the rolls.--_F_.)

(The end)
Jonathan Swift's poem: On The Words Brother Protestants And Fellow Christians

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