Ecclesiastical Sonnets - Part II. - XLI - Distractions

A poem by William Wordsworth

Men, who have ceased to reverence, soon defy,
Their forefathers; lo! sects are formed, and split
With morbid restlessness; the ecstatic fit
Spreads wide; though special mysteries multiply,
'The Saints must govern', is their common cry;
And so they labour, deeming Holy Writ
Disgraced by aught that seems content to sit
Beneath the roof of settled Modesty.
The Romanist exults; fresh hope he draws
From the confusion, craftily incites
The overweening, personates the mad
To heap disgust upon the worthier Cause:
Totters the Throne; the new-born Church is sad,
For every wave against her peace unites.

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