Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > British
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. VI–IX: British
 
The Vicar
By Winthrop Mackworth Praed (1802–1839)
 
HIS talk was like a stream which runs
  With rapid change from rocks to roses;
It slipped from politics to puns;
  It passed from Mohammed to Moses;
Beginning with the laws which keep        5
  The planets in their radiant courses,
And ending with some precept deep
  For dressing eels or shoeing horses.
 
He was a shrewd and sound divine,
  Of loud dissent the mortal terror;        10
And when, by dint of page and line,
  He ’stablished truth, or started error,
The Baptist found him far too deep;
  The Deist sighed with saving sorrow;
And the lean Levite went to sleep,        15
  And dreamed of tasting pork to-morrow.
 
His sermons never said or showed
  That earth is foul, that Heaven is gracious,
Without refreshment on the road
  From Jerome, or from Athanasius;        20
And sure a righteous zeal inspired
  The hand and head that penned and planned them,
For all who understood, admired,
  And some who did not understand them.
 
He wrote, too, in a quiet way,        25
  Small treatises and smaller verses;
And sage remarks on chalk and clay,
  And hints to noble lords and nurses;
True histories of last year’s ghost,
  Lines to a ringlet or a turban;        30
And trifles for the Morning Post,
  And nothing for Sylvanus Urban.
 
He did not think all mischief fair,
  Although he had a knack of joking;
He did not make himself a bear,        35
  Although he had a taste for smoking.
And when religious sects ran mad,
  He held, in spite of all his learning,
That if a man’s belief is bad,
  It will not be improved by burning.        40
 
 
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