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The Ritualist

(BY A COMMUNICANT OF "ST. JAMES'S")


He wore, I think, a chasuble, the day when first we met;
A stole and snowy alb likewise,--I recollect it yet.
He called me "daughter," as he raised his jeweled hand to bless;
And then, in thrilling undertones, he asked, "Would I confess?"

O mother dear! blame not your child, if then on bended knees
I dropped, and thought of Abelard, and also Eloise;
Or when, beside the altar high, he bowed before the pyx,
I envied that seraphic kiss he gave the crucifix.

The cruel world may think it wrong, perhaps may deem me weak,
And, speaking of that sainted man, may call his conduct "cheek;"
And, like that wicked barrister whom Cousin Harry quotes,
May term his mixed chalice "grog," his vestments "petticoats;"

But, whatsoe'er they do or say, I'll build a Christian's hope
On incense and on altar-lights, on chasuble and cope.
Let others prove, by precedent, the faith that they profess:
"His can't be wrong" that's symbolized by such becoming dress.


Bret Harte

I: National

II: Spanish Idyls and Legends

III: In Dialect

IV: Miscellaneous

V: Parodies

VI: Songs Without Sense

VII: Little Posterity

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