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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

William Cowper (1731–1800)

The Love of the World Reproved

THUS says the Prophet of the Turk:

“Good Mussulman, abstain from pork.

There is a part in every swine

No friend or follower of mine

May taste, whate’er his inclination,

On pain of excommunication.”

Such Mohammed’s mysterious charge,

And thus he left the point at large.

Had he the sinful part expressed,

They might with safety eat the rest;

But for one piece they thought it hard

From the whole hog to be debarred,

And set their wit at work to find

What joint the Prophet had in mind.

Much controversy straight arose—

These chose the back, the belly those;

By some, ’tis confidently said,

He meant not to forbid the head;

While others at that doctrine rail,

And piously prefer the tail.

Thus, conscience freed from every clog,

Mohammedans eat up the hog.

You laugh—’tis well. The tale applied

May make you laugh on t’other side.

Renounce the world! the preacher cries.

We do! a multitude replies.

While one as innocent regards

A snug and friendly game at cards;

And one, whatever you may say,

Can see no evil in a play;

Some love a concert, or a race;

And others shooting, and the chase.

Reviled and loved, renounced and followed,

Thus, bit by bit, the world is swallowed;

Each thinks his neighbour makes too free,

Yet likes a slice as well as he.

With sophistry their sauce they sweeten,

Till quite from tail to snout ’tis eaten.