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Poem by Andrew Lang


Ballade Against the Jesuits


Rome does right well to censure all the vain
Talk of Jansenius, and of them who preach
That earthly joys are damnable! 'Tis plain
We need not charge at Heaven as at a breach;
No, amble on! We'll gain it, one and all;
The narrow path's a dream fantastical,
And Arnauld's quite superfluously driven
Mirth from the world.  We'll scale the heavenly wall,
Escobar makes a primrose path to heaven!

He does not hold a man may well be slain
Who vexes with unseasonable speech,
You MAY do murder for five ducats gain,
NOT for a pin, a ribbon, or a peach;
He ventures (most consistently) to teach
That there are certain cases that befall
When perjury need no good man appal,
And life of love (he says) may keep a leaven.
Sure, hearing this, a grateful world will bawl,
"Escobar makes a primrose path to heaven!"

"For God's sake read me somewhat in the strain
Of his most cheering volumes, I beseech!"
Why should I name them all? a mighty train -
So many, none may know the name of each.
Make these your compass to the heavenly beach,
These only in your library instal:
Burn Pascal and his fellows, great and small,
Dolts that in vain with Escobar have striven;
I tell you, and the common voice doth call,
Escobar makes a primrose path to heaven!

ENVOY.

SATAN, that pride did hurry to thy fall,
Thou porter of the grim infernal hall -
Thou keeper of the courts of souls unshriven!
To shun thy shafts, to 'scape thy hellish thrall,
Escobar makes a primrose path to heaven!



Andrew Lang


Andrew Lang's other poems:
  1. Ballade of the Bookworm
  2. Ballade of the Summer Term
  3. Les Roses de Sâdi
  4. Three Portraits of Prince Charles
  5. Aesop


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