Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Puritans
By Samuel Butler (1612–1680)
 
OUR brethren of New England use
Choice malefactors to excuse,
And hang the guiltless in their stead,
Of whom the churches have less need;
As late it happened in a town        5
Where lived a cobbler, and but one,
That out of doctrine could cut use,
And mend men’s lives as well as shoes.
This precious brother having slain
In times of peace an Indian,        10
Not out of malice, but mere zeal,
Because he was an infidel;
The mighty Tottipotimoy
Sent to our elders an envoy,
Complaining loudly of the breach        15
Of league held forth by brother Patch,
Against the articles in force
Between both churches, his and ours;
For which he craved the saints to render
Into his hands, or hang the offender.        20
But they maturely having weighed
They had no more but him of the trade,
A man that served them in the double
Capacity to teach and cobble,
Resolved to spare him; yet to do        25
The Indian Hogan Mogan too
Impartial justice, in his stead did
Hang an old weaver that was bedrid.
 
 
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