The Gathering from “The Triumph of Infidelity” by Timothy Dwight IV

And now the morn arose; when o’er the plain
Gather’d, from every side, a numerous train;
To quell those fears, that rankled still within,
And gain new strength, and confidence, to sin.
There the half putrid Epicure was seen,
His cheeks of port, and lips with turtle green,
Who hop’d a long eternity was given,
To spread good tables, in some eating heaven.
The leacher there his lurid visage shew’d,
The imp of darkness, and the foe of good;
Who fled his lovely wife’s most pure embrace,
To sate on hags, and breed a mongrel race;
A high-fed horse, for others wives who neigh’d;
A cur, who prowl’d around each quiet bed;
A snake, far spreading his impoison’d breath,
And charming innocence to guilt, and death.
Here stood Hypocrisy, in sober brown,
His sabbath face all sorrow’d with a frown.
A dismal tale he told of dismal times,
And this sad world brimful of saddest crimes,
Furrow’d his cheeks with tears for others sin,
But clos’d his eyelids on the hell within.

There smil’d the smooth Divine, unus’d to wound
The sinners heart, with hell’s alarming sound.
No terrors on his gentle tongue attend;
No grating truths the nicest ear offend.
That strange new-birth, that methodistic grace,
Nor in his heart, nor sermons, found a place.
Plato’s fine tales he clumsily retold,
Trite, fireside, moral seasaws, dull as old;
His Christ, and bible, plac’d at good remove,
Guilt hell-deserving, and forgiving love.
‘Twas best, he said, mankind should cease to sin;
Good fame requir’d it; so did peace within:
Their honours, well he knew, would ne’er be driven;
But hop’d they still would please to go to heaven.
Each week, he paid his visitation dues;
Coax’d, jested, laugh’d; rehears’d the private news;
But hoped they still would please to go to heaven.
Smoak’d with each goody, thought her cheese excell’d;
Her pipe he lighted, and her baby held.
Or plac’d in some great town, with lacquer’d shoes,
Trim wig, and trimmer gown, and glistening hose,
He bow’d, talk’d politics, learn’d manners mild;
Most meekly questioned, and most smoothly smil’d;
At rich mens jests laugh’d loud their stories prais’d;
Their wives new patterns gaz’d, and gaz’d and gaz’d;
Most daintily on pamper’d turkies din’d;
Nor shrunk with fasting, nor with study pin’d:
Yet from their churches saw his brethren driven,
Who thunder’d truth, and spoke the voice of heaven,
Chill’d trembling guilt, in Satan’s headlong path;
Charm’d the feet back, and rous’d the ear of death.
“Let fools,” he cried, “starve on, while prudent I
Snug in my nest shall live, and snug shall die.

There stood the infidel of modern breed,
Blest vegetation of infernal seed,
Alike no Deist, and no Christian, he;
But from all principle, all virtue, free.
To him all things the same, as good or evil;
Jehovah, Jove, the Lama, or the Devil;
Mohammed’s braying, or Isaiah’s lays;
The Indian’s powaws, or the Christian’s praise,
With him all natural desires are good;
His thirst for stews; the Mohawk’s thirst for blood:
Made, not to know, or love, the all beauteous mind;
Or wing thro’ heaven his path to bliss resin’d:
But his dear self, choice Dagon! to adore;
To dress, to game, to swear, to drink, to whore;
To race his steeds; or cheat, when others run;
Pit tortur’d cocks, and swear ’tis glorious fun:
His soul not cloath’d with attributes divine;
But a nice watch-spring to that grand machine,
That work more nice than Rittenhouse can plan,
The body; man’s chief part; himself, the man;
Man, that illustrious brute of noblest shape,
A swine unbristled, and an untail’d ape:
To couple, eat, and die—his glorious doom—
The oyster’s church-yard, and the capon’s tomb.

From: Dwight, Timothy, The Triumph of Infidelity: A Poem, 2007, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan, pp. 29-32.
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/N16405.0001.001)

Date: 1788

By: Timothy Dwight IV (1752-1817)

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