Mary Barber (1690-1757 / England)
An Apology For The Clergy,
How well these Laymen love to gibe,
And throw their Jests on Levi's Tribe!
Must One be toil'd to Death, they cry,
Whilst other Priests are yawning by?
Forgetful that He reaps the Gain,
Why should They waste their Lungs in vain?
When Men were weak enough to prize
The Christian Scheme, as good and wise,
To think there was an Heav'n and Hell;
To pray and preach did very well:
When Mortals look'd beyond the Grave,
A Priest, for Conscience sake, might slave:
But in this learned Realm and Age,
Where Faith is beaten off the Stage;
This happy Realm, where Reason reigns,
And scorns to drag Religion's Chains;
Where free--born Britons, ev'ry Day,
Sit down to feast, and rise to play;
And, since their Money buys their Meat,
Won't thank their God for what they eat;
Where e'vn some Chaplains fill their Place
Politely, without saying Grace:
If here, (where Reason swells so high,
It dares all other Pow'rs defy)
The Priests are, like the Laymen, wise,
Nor hope Reversions in the Skies;
Why should they deign to preach, or pray,
For any View -- but present Pay?
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