St. Jerome On Earth. Second Visit.

A poem by Thomas Moore

"This much I dare say, that, since lording and loitering hath come up, preaching hath come down, contrary to the Apostles' times. For they preached and lorded not; and now they lord and preach not.... Ever since the Prelates were made Lords and Nobles, the plough standeth; there is no work done, people starve."
--Latimer, "Sermon of the Plough."


"Once more," said Jerome, "I'll run up and see
How the Church goes on,"--and off set he.
Just then the packet-boat which trades
Betwixt our planet and the shades
Had arrived below with a freight so queer,
"My eyes!" said Jerome, "what have we here?"--
For he saw, when nearer he explored,
They'd a cargo of Bishops' wigs aboard.

"They are ghosts of wigs," said Charon, "all,
"Once worn by nobs Episcopal.[1]
"For folks on earth, who've got a store
"Of cast off things they'll want no more,
"Oft send them down, as gifts, you know,
"To a certain Gentleman here below.
"A sign of the times, I plainly see,"
Said the Saint to himself as, pondering, he
Sailed off in the death-boat gallantly.

Arrived on earth, quoth he, "No more
"I'll affect a body as before;
"For I think I'd best, in the company
"Of Spiritual Lords, a spirit be,
"And glide unseen from See to See."
But oh! to tell what scenes he saw,--
It was more than Rabelais's pen could draw.
For instance, he found Exeter,
Soul, body, inkstand, all in a stir,--
For love of God? for sake of King?
For good of people?--no such thing;
But to get for himself, by some new trick,
A shove to a better bishoprick.

He found that pious soul, Van Mildert,
Much with his money-bags bewildered;
Snubbing the Clerks of the Diocese,
Because the rogues showed restlessness
At having too little cash to touch,
While he so Christianly bears too much.
He found old Sarum's wits as gone
As his own beloved text in John,--[2]
Text he hath prosed so long upon,
That 'tis thought when askt, at the gate of heaven,
His name, he'll answer, "John, v. 7."

"But enough of Bishops I've had to-day,"
Said the weary Saint,--"I must away.
"Tho' I own I should like before I go
"To see for once (as I'm askt below
"If really such odd sights exist)
"A regular six-fold Pluralist."
Just then he heard a general cry--
"There's Doctor Hodgson galloping by!"
"Ay, that's the man," says the Saint, "to follow,"
And off he sets with a loud view-hello,
At Hodgson's heels, to catch if he can
A glimpse of this singular plural man.
But,--talk of Sir Boyle Roche's bird![3]
To compare him with Hodgson is absurd.
"Which way, sir, pray, is the doctor gone?"--
"He is now at his living at Hillingdon."--
"No, no,--you're out, by many a mile,
"He's away at his Deanery in Carlisle."--
"Pardon me, sir; but I understand
"He's gone to his living in Cumberland."--
"God bless me, no,--he can’t be there;
"You must try St. George's, Hanover Square."

Thus all in vain the Saint inquired,
From living to living, mockt and tired;--
'Twas Hodgson here, 'twas Hodgson there,
'Twas Hodgson nowhere, everywhere;
Till fairly beat the Saint gave o'er
And flitted away to the Stygian shore,
To astonish the natives underground
With the comical things he on earth had found.

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