As St. Jerome who died some ages ago,
Was sitting one day in the shades below,
"I've heard much of English bishops," quoth he,
"And shall now take a trip to earth to see
"How far they agree in their lives and ways
"With our good old bishops of ancient days."
He had learned--but learned without misgivings--
Their love for good living and eke good livings;
Not knowing (as ne'er having taken degrees)
That good living means claret and fricassees,
While its plural means simply--pluralities.
"From all I hear," said the innocent man,
"They are quite on the good old primitive plan.
"For wealth and pomp they little can care,
"As they all say 'No' to the Episcopal chair;
"And their vestal virtue it well denotes
"That they all, good men, wear petticoats."
Thus saying, post-haste to earth he hurries,
And knocks at the Archbishop of Canterbury's.
The door was oped by a lackey in lace,
Saying, "What's your business with his Grace?"
"His Grace!" quoth Jerome--for posed was he,
Not knowing what sort this Grace could be;
Whether Grace preventing, Grace particular,
Grace of that breed called Quinquarticular--
In short he rummaged his holy mind
The exact description of Grace to find,
Which thus could represented be
By a footman in full livery.
At last, out loud in a laugh he broke,
(For dearly the good saint loved his joke)
And said--surveying, as sly he spoke,
The costly palace from roof to base--
"Well, it isn't, at least, a saving Grace!"
"Umph!" said the lackey, a man of few words,
"The Archbishop is gone to the House of Lords."
"To the House of the Lord, you mean, my son,
"For in my time at least there was but one;
Unless such many-fold priests as these
"Seek, even in their LORD, pluralities!"
"No time for gab," quoth the man in lace:
Then slamming the door in St. Jerome's face
With a curse to the single knockers all
Went to finish his port in the servants' hall,
And propose a toast (humanely meant
To include even Curates in its extent)
"To all as serves the Establishment."