Monday, 14 July 2014

Not Angels, but Anglicans...

    On the occasion of the Anglicans deciding that they can make bishops of women, and prompted in particular by Nick Clegg's comment on Twitter, I thought it appropriate to post GKC's great poem, composed on a similar occasion...

        Antichrist, or the Reunion of Christendom: An Ode

        'A Bill which has shocked the conscience of every Christian community in Europe.' Mr. F.E. Smith, on the Welsh Disestablishment Bill.

        Are they clinging to their crosses,
                                        F.E. Smith,
        Where the Breton boat-fleet tosses,
                                        Are they, Smith?
        Do they, fasting, trembling, bleeding,
        Wait the news from this our city?
        Groaning 'That's the Second Reading!'
        Hissing 'There is still Committee!'
        If the voice of Cecil falters,
        If McKenna's point has pith,
        Do they tremble for their altars?
                                        Do they, Smith?

        Russian peasants round their pope
                                        Huddled, Smith,
        Hear about it all, I hope,
                                        Don't they, Smith?
        In the mountain hamlets clothing
        Peaks beyond Caucasian pales,
        Where Establishment means nothing
        And they never heard of Wales,
        Do they read it all in Hansard
        With a crib to read it with --
        'Welsh Tithes: Dr Clifford Answered.'
                                        Really, Smith?

        In the lands where Christians were,
                                        F.E. Smith,
        In the little lands laid bare,
                                        Smith, O Smith!
        Where the Turkish bands are busy
        And the Tory name is blessed
        Since they hailed the Cross of Dizzy
        On the banners from the West!
        Men don't think it half so hard if
        Islam burns their kin and kith,
        Since a curate lives in Cardiff
                                        Saved by Smith.

        It would greatly, I must own,
                                        Soothe me, Smith!
        If you left this theme alone,
                                        Holy Smith!
        For your legal cause or civil
        You fight well and get your fee;
        For your God or dream or devil
        You will answer, not to me.
        Talk about the pews and steeples
        And the Cash that goes therewith!
        But the souls of Christian peoples . . .
                                        Chuck it, Smith!

        G. K. Chesterton

    1 comment:

    Left-footer said...

    One of my favourite Chesterton poems. F.E.Smith, later Lord Birkehead, was a twerp, but a clever one.