JOHN WELL-TO-DO’S BUSINESS MIXED WITH HIS SUNDAY PRAYERS.
Fervently I do believe in my richer neighbor;
I hold the same opinions as my patrons in trade;
Gold, I do believe, os a great and mighty saviour;
I believe in politics by party ready-made.
I am at church this morning in a business mind;
I join in the responses, looking off my book;
I’m pleas’d our wealthy squire and patrons here to find,
And slyly try to see if they cast on me a look!
Last week I sold squire’s wife a splendid silken gown;
Parson’s wife bought one like it only yesterday;
They’ll be advertisements for me about the town;
My prayer and supplication are that business may pay.
for mercies! Its pleasant to behold
In this life the profit on whatever you may sell:
And pleasing here my betters multiplies the gold;
My manners when at church my gentility will tell.
I had some qualms of conscience in my earlier years,
And thought I’d speculate in freedom’s dreamy hope;
I calculated loss, so still’d my mental fears
Ready to be slave to bishop, priest, or pope.
I have home and lands, in this old country a stake;
My sons and daughters look with scorn upon the poor;
At election times the squire gives my hand a shake,
And nods when in his carriage he passes by my door.
“I’ve done things I should not,” I say so every week,
When others say it in the usual fashion’s style;
I scarcely think it true, as written so I speak,
And how respectable it keeps e all the while.
Captain Fussy’s looking, “Good Lord
I wonder when he means to pay his yearly bill?
In that pew’s a lady, whoever an she be?
“And teach us pray at all times to do Thy will[.]”
What’s orthodox with squire is orthodox you see;
My patrons say dissenters are a vulgar crew;
One thing is very certain, they don’t deal with me;
I don’t like party when adherents are but few.
I pay my debts; with smiles I try in life to rise,
I don’t dispute, but yielding gently smooth my way,
On downy pillows I will mount into the skies,
Believing that is right that will the piper pay.
Daughter Jane went to school three quarters with the best;
John’s in the cotton trade – the golden twist and weft;
They are not common children, seeking worldly rest;
For Jane will marry well; and John of me bereft,
Be rich and great; and who in this strange world can tell,
But Well-to-do’s may bear in time some titled name?
I’ll come to church and mind the way; it will be well
For them to know most of the glory through me came.
The squire has looked at me! Jane’s dress looks well to-day[,]
“We are poor and weak;” must pay homage where ‘tis due;
And that depends entirely where from comes they pay,
At least it does with me if it does not with you.
When I read my bible I find a goodly text
Bearing out my creed in the best and fullest way;
It says we are to honor our superiors, and next
I think my patrons and the squire I will obey.
“Generation after generation” – who can tell
But our Jane and John may amongst the lofty be?
If I live, as I hope, to see them bear the bell
They will be pretty sprouts from my humility.
I believe my patrons, and I believe the squire,
And I believe in gold and comfort by the way;
And I believe I shall have whatever I desire
If I come to church in the manner it will pay.
My father wore old shoes; my mother a winsey gown
“For all those who in peril are by land or sea.”
(I don’t like that new tradesman who has come to town;)
“Protect and guide them wheresoever they may be.”
The last “Amen” was said, then out from his seat
John Well-to-do proudly mixed among the throng;
And John and Jane and all in great family state
Did scorn the sinners as they pass’d the streets along.
Great one day is duty; and the week’s sacrifice
John Well-to-do in custom and in conscience brought,
Answer’d the query to which the Evil One
When he inquired if Job
Thus fashion makes a show, and many call it trade?
Who blames the harsh interpretations of the poor?
Where fashion sways the most hypocrisy is made,
Has always been, is now, and will be evermore.