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15. At little pleasant Pornic church,

It chanced, the pavement wanted repair, Was taken to pieces : left in the lurch, . A certain sacred space lay bare,

And the boys began research.

’T was the space where our sires would lay a saint,

A benefactor, - a bishop, suppose;
A baron with armor-adornments quaint ;

A dame with chased ring and jewelled rose,
Things sanctity saves from taint:

17. So we come to find them in after-days,

When the corpse is presumed to have done with gauds Of use to the living, in many ways; .

For the boys get pelf, and the town applauds, And the church deserves the praise.

. 18. They grubbed with a will : and at length –O cor

Humanum, pectora cæca, and the rest ! — They found — no gauds they were prying for,

No ring, no rose, but— who would have guessed?· A double Louis-d'or !


Here was a case for the priest: he heard,

Marked, inwardly digested, laid Finger on nose, smiled, “ A little bird

Chirps in my ear”: then, “ Bring a spade, Dig deeper!” — he gave the word.


And lo! when they came to the coffin-lid,

Or the rotten planks which composed it once, Why, there lay the girl's skull wedged amid

A mint of money, it served for the nonce To hold in its hair-heaps hid.

21. Louis-d’ors, some six times five;

And duly double, every piece.
Now, do you see? With the priest to shrive,

With parents preventing her soul's release
By kisses that keep alive, -

22. With Heaven's gold gates about to ope, • With friends' praise, gold-like, lingering still, What instinct had bidden the girl's hand grope

For gold, the true sort—“Gold in Heaven, I hope; But I keep earth's, if God will !”


Enough! The priest took the grave's grim yield :

The parents, they eyed that price of sin
As if thirty pieces lay revealed
. On the place to bury strangers in,
The hideous Potter's Field.

24. But the priest bethought him: “ Milk that's spilt'

– You know the adage! Watch and pray! Saints tumble to earth with so slight a tilt!

It would build a new altar ; that, we may !” And the altar therewith was built.


Why I deliver this horrible verse ?

As the text of a sermon, which now I preach: Evil or good may be better or worse

In the human heart, but the mixture of each Is a marvel and a curse.

26. The candid incline to surmise of late

That the Christian faith may be false, I find ; For our Essays-and-Reviews' debate

Begins to tell on the public mind, And Colenso's words have weight:


I still, to suppose it true, for my part,

See reasons and reasons ; this, to begin: 'T is the faith that launched point-blank her dart

At the head of a lie - taught Original Sin, The Corruption of Man's Heart.


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