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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Author Unknown

St. Anthony’s Sermon to the Fishes

ST. ANTHONY at church

Was left in the lurch,

So he went to the ditches

And preached to the fishes;

They wriggled their tails,

In the sun glanced their scales.

The carps, with their spawn,

Are all hither drawn;

Have opened their jaws,

Eager for each clause.

No sermon beside

Had the carps so edified.

Sharp-snouted pikes,

Who keep fighting like tikes,

Now swam up harmonious

To hear St. Antonius.

No sermon beside

Had the pikes so edified.

And that very odd fish,

Who loves fast-days, the cod-fish,—

The stock-fish, I mean,—

At the sermon was seen.

No sermon beside

Had the cods so edified.

Good eels and sturgeon,

Which aldermen gorge on,

Went out of their way

To hear preaching that day.

No sermon beside

Had the eels so edified.

Crabs and turtles also,

Who always move slow,

Made haste from the bottom,

As if the Devil had got ’em.

No sermon beside

Had the crabs so edified.

Fish great and fish small,

Lords, lackeys, and all,

Each looked at the preacher

Like a reasonable creature:

At God’s word,

They Anthony heard.

The sermon now ended,

Each turned and descended;

The pikes went on stealing,

The eels went on eeling:

Much delighted were they,

But preferred the old way.

The crabs are backsliders,

The stock-fish thick-siders,

The carps are sharp-set;

All the sermon forget:

Much delighted were they,

But preferred the old way.