Late Tithe Case.

A poem by Thomas Moore

"sic vos non vobis."

"The Vicar of Birmingham desires me to state that, in consequence of the passing of a recent Act of Parliament, he is compelled to adopt measures which may by some be considered harsh or precipitate; but, in duty to what he owes to his successors, he feels bound to preserve the rights of the vicarage."
--Letter from Mr. S. Powell, August 6.

No, not for yourselves, ye reverend men,
Do you take one pig in every ten,
But for Holy Church's future heirs,
Who've an abstract right to that pig, as theirs;
The law supposing that such heirs male
Are already seized of the pig, in tail.
No, not for himself hath Birmingham's priest
His "well-beloved" of their pennies fleeced:
But it is that, before his prescient eyes,
All future Vicars of Birmingham rise,
With their embryo daughters, nephews, nieces,
And 'tis for them the poor he fleeces.
He heareth their voices, ages hence
Saying, "Take the pig"--"oh take the pence;"
The cries of little Vicarial dears,
The unborn Birminghamites, reach his ears;
And, did he resist that soft appeal,
He would not like a true-born Vicar feel.
Thou, too, Lundy of Lackington!
A rector true, if e'er there was one,
Who, for sake of the Lundies of coming ages,
Gripest the tenths of laborer's wages.[1]
'Tis true, in the pockets of thy small-clothes
The claimed "obvention"[2]of four-pence goes;
But its abstract spirit, unconfined,
Spreads to all future Rector-kind,
Warning them all to their rights to wake,
And rather to face the block, the stake,
Than give up their darling right to take.

One grain of musk, it is said, perfumes
(So subtle its spirit) a thousand rooms,
And a single four-pence, pocketed well,
Thro' a thousand rectors' lives will tell.
Then still continue, ye reverend souls,
And still as your rich Pactolus rolls,
Grasp every penny on every side,
From every wretch, to swell its tide:
Remembering still what the Law lays down,
In that pure poetic style of its own.
"If the parson in esse submits to loss, he
"Inflicts the same on the parson in posse."

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Late Tithe Case.' by Thomas Moore

comments powered by Disqus