The Poetry Corner

Religion Of Hudibras, The

By Samuel Butler

For his religion it was fit To match his learning and his wit: 'Twas Presbyterian true blue; For he was of that stubborn crew Of errant saints, whom all men grant To be the true church militant; Such as do build their faith upon The holy text of pike and gun; Decide all controversies by Infallible artillery; And prove their doctrine orthodox, By apostolic blows and knocks; Call fire, and sword, and desolation, A godly, thorough reformation, Which always must be carried on, And still be doing, never done; As if religion were intended For nothing else but to be mended: A sect whose chief devotion lies In odd perverse antipathies; In falling out with that or this, And finding somewhat still amiss; More peevish, cross, and splenetic, Than dog distract, or monkey sick; That with more care keep holy-day The wrong, than others the right way, Compound for sins they are inclin'd to, By damning those they have no mind to: Still so perverse and opposite, As if they worshipped God for spite: The self-same thing they will abhor One way, and long another for: Free-will they one way disavow, Another, nothing else allow: All piety consists therein In them, in other men all sin: Rather than fail, they will defy That which they love most tenderly; Quarrel with minc'd pies and disparage Their best and dearest friend, plum porridge, Fat pig and goose itself oppose, And blaspheme custard through the nose.