John Bannister Tabb

(1845-1909 / the United States)

Brother Ass And St. Francis - Poem by John Bannister Tabb

It came to pass
That 'Brother Ass'
(As he his Body named,)
Unto the Saint
Thus made complaint:
'I am unjustly blamed.

'Whate'er I do,
Like Balaam you
Requite me with a blow,
As for offence
To recompense
An ignominious foe.

'God made us one,
And I have done
No wickedness alone;
Nor can I do
Apart, as you,
An evil all my own.

'If Passion stir,
'Tis you that spur
My frenzy to the goal:
Then be the blame
Where sits the shame,
Upon the goading soul.

'Should one or both
Be blind or loth
Our brotherhood to see,
Remember this,
You needs must miss
Or enter heaven through me.'

To this complaint
The lowly saint
In tears replied, 'Alas,
If so it be,
God punish me
And bless thee, Brother Ass.'

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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