Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Father Francis

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Walter Herries Pollock b. 1850

Father Francis

“I COME your sin-rid souls to shrive;

Is this the way wherein ye live?”

We lightly think of virtue,

Enjoyment cannot hurt you.

“Ye love. Hear then of chivalry,

Of gallant truth and constancy.”

We find new loves the meetest,

And stolen kisses sweetest.

“Voices ye have. Then should ye sing

In praise of heaven’s mighty king.”

We deem it is our duty

To chant our darlings’ beauty.

“Strait are the gates of worldly pleasure;

The joy beyond no soul can measure.”

Alas! we are but mortal,

And much prefer the portal.

“Nay, sons: then must I leave ye so;

But lost will be your souls, I trow.”

Nay, Father, make you merry;

Come, drawer, bring some sherry.

“Me drink? Old birds are not unwary—

Still less—Ha—well—’t is fine canary.”

Mark how his old blood prances—

A stoup for Father Francis!

“Your wine, my sons, is wondrous good,

And hath been long time in the wood.”

Mark how his old eye dances—

More wine for Father Francis!

“A man, my sons—a man, I say,

Might well drink here till judgement-day.”

Now for soft words and glances—

But where is Father Francis?

“Heed me, my sons, I pray, no more;

I always sleep upon the floor.”

Alas! for old wine’s chances;

A shutter for Father Francis!