Arthur Hugh Clough

(1 January 1819 – 13 November 1861 / Liverpool)

The Latest Decalogue - Poem by Arthur Hugh Clough

Thou shalt have one God only; who
Would be at the expense of two?
No graven images may be
Worshipp'd, except the currency:
Swear not at all; for, for thy curse
Thine enemy is none the worse:
At church on Sunday to attend
Will serve to keep the world thy friend:
Honour thy parents; that is, all
From whom advancement may befall:
Thou shalt not kill; but need'st not strive
Officiously to keep alive:
Do not adultery commit;
Advantage rarely comes of it:
Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat,
When it's so lucrative to cheat:
Bear not false witness; let the lie
Have time on its own wings to fly:
Thou shalt not covet; but tradition
Approves all forms of competition.


Comments about The Latest Decalogue by Arthur Hugh Clough

  • Silver Star - 3,528 Points Godfrey Morris (4/16/2015 10:54:00 PM)

    Interesting look at the ten commandments. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 13,486 Points Terry Craddock (4/16/2015 8:50:00 PM)

    Some of the best satire I have ever read, beautifully written. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 22,671 Points Kim Barney (4/16/2015 3:24:00 PM)

    One of the funniest poems I've read lately, and totally agree with the comments of Thomas Vaughn Jones and John Richter below. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 10,559 Points Madathil Rajendran Nair (4/16/2015 11:35:00 AM)

    Very humorous. The last two lines are the real punch-line. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 324 Points Musa Gift Masombuka (4/16/2015 11:21:00 AM)

    Wonderful. I like I like. (Report) Reply

  • Silver Star - 4,494 Points John Richter (4/16/2015 7:17:00 AM)

    I agree Thomas... In fact was thinking the exact same. What surprises me is that there was no forced reparations upon Mr. Clough, being that he lived in a rather pious time in history and in an area where religion and faith played such a central role in both political and social themes. With the exception of the last century I believe the very worst of war and religious zealotry brewed and materialized right there in Britain... But if this poem were written today then I would suggest it is more tame then a crucifix in a glass of urine.... All in all I'd say this is very adept poetry for any era.... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 95 Points Thomas Vaughan Jones (3/6/2014 2:04:00 PM)

    I'm amazed that no one has commented on this cant against hypocrisy. The Victorian age was full of it, rich people celebrating, poor people dying, the church pontificating while the congregation fornicated in secret. Tables and chairs were covered in drapes so that they wouldn't show their legs while the brothels in the big cities flourished.
    All of this and more, cunningly presented in humour and rhyme, as our Mr Clough would have been ostracised if he had been blunter. (Oscar Wilde spent some time in gaol for his indiscretions) (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: friend, god, world, time



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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