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The Cherries [A Parable]
by [?]



See those cherries, how they cover
Yonder sunny garden wall;–
Had they not that network over,
Thieving birds would eat them all.

So to guard our posts and pensions,
Ancient sages wove a net,
Thro’ whose holes of small dimensions
Only certain knaves can get.

Shall we then this network widen;
Shall we stretch these sacred holes,
Thro’ which even already slide in
Lots of small dissenting souls?

“God forbid!” old Testy crieth;
“God forbid!” so echo I;
Every ravenous bird that flieth
Then would at our cherries fly.

Ope but half an inch or so,
And, behold! what bevies break in;–
Here some curst old Popish crow
Pops his long and lickerish beak in;

Here sly Arians flock unnumbered,
And Socinians, slim and spare,
Who with small belief encumbered
Slip in easy anywhere;–

Methodists, of birds the aptest,
Where there’s pecking going on;
And that water-fowl, the Baptist–
All would share our fruits anon;

Every bird of every city,
That for years with ceaseless din,
Hath reverst the starling’s ditty,
Singing out “I can’t get in.”

“God forbid!” old Testy snivels;
“God forbid!” I echo too;
Rather may ten thousand devils
Seize the whole voracious crew!

If less costly fruits won’t suit ’em,
Hips and haws and such like berries,
Curse the cormorants! stone ’em, shoot ’em,
Anything–to save our cherries.

[1] Written during the late discussion on the Test and Corporation Acts.