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The Numbering Of The Clergy
by [?]


“We want more Churches and more Clergymen.”
Bishop of London’s late Charge.

“rectorum numerum, terris pereuntibus augent.”
Claudian in Eutrop

Come, give us more Livings and Rectors,
For, richer no realm ever gave;
But why, ye unchristian objectors,
Do ye ask us how many we crave?[1]

Oh there can’t be too many rich Livings
For souls of the Pluralist kind,
Who, despising old Crocker’s misgivings,
To numbers can ne’er be confined.[2]

Count the cormorants hovering about,[3]
At the time their fish season sets in,
When these models of keen diners-out
Are preparing their beaks to begin.

Count the rooks that, in clerical dresses,
Flock round when the harvest’s in play,
And not minding the farmer’s distresses,
Like devils in grain peck away.

Go, number the locusts in heaven,[4]
On the way to some titheable shore;
And when so many Parsons you’ve given,
We still shall be craving for more.

Then, unless ye the Church would submerge, ye
Must leave us in peace to augment.
For the wretch who could number the Clergy,
With few will be ever content.

Come, Cloe, and give me sweet kisses,
For sweeter sure never girl gave;
But why, in the midst of my blisses,
Do you ask me how many I’d have?

For whilst I love thee above measure,
To numbers I’ll ne’er be confined.

Count the bees that on Hybla are playing,
Count the flowers that enamel its fields,
Count the flocks, etc.

Go number the stars in the heaven,
Count how many sands on the shore,
When so many kisses you’ve given,
I still shall be craving for more.