Sine Nomine (1902)

I am a loyal Anglican,
A Rural Dean and Rector;
I keep a wife and pony-trap,
I wear a chest-protector.
I should not like my name to be
Connected with a party;
But still my type of service is
Extremely bright and hearty.

Of course, one has to keep abreast
Of changing times and manners;
A Harvest Festival we keep,
With Special Psalms—and banners;
A Flower-Service in July,
A Toy-Fund Intercession,
And, when the hens lay well, we hope
To start an Egg-Procession.

My wife and I composed a form
For dedicating hassocks,
Which (slightly changed) we also use
For surplices and cassocks;
Our Bishop, when we sent it for
His Lordship’s approbation,
Remarked: “A very primitive
And pleasing compilation.”

To pick the best from every school
The object of my art is,
And steer a middle course between
The two contending parties.
My own opinions would no doubt
Be labelled ‘High’ by many;
But all know well I would not wish
To give offence to any.

When first I came I had to face
A certain opposition,
And several friends in town advised
A short Parochial Mission;
I thought that quiet pastoral work
Would build foundations firmer.
It did. This year we started “Lights,”
Without a single murmur.

One ought, I’m certain, to produce
By gradual education
A tone of deeper Churchmanship
Throughout the population.
There are, I doubt not, even here
Things to be done in plenty;
But still—you know the ancient saw—
“Festina lentè—lenté.”

I humbly feel that my success,
My power of attraction,
Is mainly due to following
This golden rule of action:
“See all from all men’s point of view,
Use all men’s eyes to see with,
And never preach what anyone
Could ever disagree with.”

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