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XX.

"Produce ! says Nature,—what have you produced ? A new straitwaistcoat for the human mind;

Are you not limbed, nerved, jointed, arteried, juiced As other men ? yet, faithless to your kind, ·

Rather like noxious insects you are used To puncture life's fair fruit, beneath the rind

Laying your creed-eggs whence in time there spring Consumers new to eat and buzz and sting.

XXI.

“Work ! you have no conception how 'twill sweeten Your views of Life and Nature, God and Man;

Had you been fr:ced to earn what you have eaten, Your heaven had shown a lesss dyspeptic plan;

At present your whole function is to eat ten
And talk ten times as rapidly as you can;

Were your shape true to cosmogonic laws,
You would be nothing but a pair of jaws.

XXII.

“Of all the useless beings in creation The earth could spare most easily you bakers

Of little clay gods, formed in shape and fashion Precisely in the image of their makers;

W it would almost move a saint to passion,
To see these blind and deaf, the hourly breakers

Of God's own image in their brother men,
Set themselves up to tell the how, where, when,

XXIII.

“Of God's existence, one's digestion's worseSo makes a god of vengeance and of blood;

Another—but no matter, they reverse Creation's plan, out of their own vile mud

Pat up a god, and burn, drown, hang, or curse
Whoever worships not; each keeps his stud

Of texts which wait with saddle on and bridle
To hunt down atheists to their ugly idol.

XXIV.

This, I perceive, has been your occupation; You should have been more usefully employed;

All men are bound to earn their daily ration,
Where States make not that primal contract void

By cramps and limits; simple devastation
Is the worm's task, and what he has destroyed

His monument; creating is mau's work
And that, too, something more than mist and murk."

XXV.

So having said, the youth was seen no more,
And straightway our sage Brabmin, the philosopher,

Cried, “That was aimed at thee, thou endless bore,
Idle and useless as the growth of moss over

A rotting tree-trunk!” “I would square that score Full soon,” replied the Dervise, “could I cross over

And catch thee by the beard! Thy nails I'd trim
And make thee work, as was advised by him.”

XXVI.

“Work? Am I not at work from morn till night Sounding the deeps of oracles umbilical

Which for man's guidance never come to light, With all their various aptitudes, until I call ?."

“And I, do I not twirl from left to right For conscience sake? Is that no work? Thou silly gull,

He had thee in his eye; 'twas Gabriel
Sent to reward my faith, I know him well.”

XXVII.

'Twas Vishnu, thou vile whirligig !” and so The good old quarrel was begun anew ;

One would have sworn the sky was black as sloe, Had but the other dared to call it blue;

Nor were the followers who fed them slow
To treat each other with their curses, too,

Each hating 'tother (moves it tears or laughter ?
Because he thought him sure of hell hereafter,

XXVIII.

At lasć some genius built a bridge of boats Over the stream, and Ahmed's zealots filed

Across, upon a mission to (cut throats And) spread religion pure and undefiled;

They sowed the propagandist's wildest oats,
Cutting off all, down to the smallest child,

And came back, giving thanks for such fat mercies,
To find their harvest gone past prayers or curses.

XXIX.

All gone except their saint's religious hops,
Which he kept up with more than common flourish;

But these, however satisfying crops
For the inner man, were not enough to nourish

The body politic, which quickly drops
Reserve in such sad junctures, and turns currish;

So Ahmed soon got cursed for all the famine
Where'er the popular voice could edge a damn in.

XXX.

At first he pledged a miracle quite boldly,
And, for a day or two, they growled and waited;

But, finding that this kind of manna coldly
Sat on their stomachs, they ere long berated

The saint for still persisting in that old lie, Till soon the whole machine of saintship grated,

Ran slow, creaked, stopped, and, wishing him in Tophet, They gathered strength enough to stone the prophet.

XXXI.

Some stronger ones contrived (by eating leather, Their weaker friends, and one thing or another),

The winter months of scarcity to weather; Among these was the late saint's younger brother,

Who, in the spring, collecting them together,
Persuaded them that Ahmed's holy pother

Had wrought in their behalf, and that the place
Of Saint should be continued to his race.

XXXII.

Accordingly 'twas settled on the spot That Allah favoured that peculiar breed

Beside, as all were satisfied, 'twould not Be quite respectable to have the need

Of public spiritual food forgot; And so the tribe with proper forms decreed

That he, and, failing him, his next of kin, For ever for the people's good should spin.

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