Friday, April 26, 2013


The Prayer of the Mammonites

Charles Mackay (1812-1889), "The Prayer of the Mammonites":
Six days we give thee heart and brain;
In grief or pleasure, joy or pain,
Thou art our guide, O god of Gain!

And on the seventh, although we kneel
At other altars, and conceal,
For fashion's sake, the love we feel;

'Tis but our outward looks that pray;
Our inward thoughts are far away,
And give thee homage night and day,

Though often at a purer shrine
Our thoughts and actions disincline,
We're never hypocrites at thine.

Oh, no! we love thee far too well,
More than our words can ever tell,
With passion indestructible.

When thou art kind, all Earth is fair,
Men's eyes incessant homage glare,
Their tongues perennial flatteries bear.

But when thou frownest, all men frown;
We dwell among the stricken-down,
The scum and by-word of the town.

Though we are good, and wise and true,
Deprived of thee, men look askew:
We have no merit in their view.

Though we have wit and eloquence,
The world denies us common sense,
If thou no golden shower dispense.

But mean, bad, stupid, all the three—
It matters not whate'er we be,
We have all Virtue, having thee.

Men hold us in their hearts enshrined,
To all our faults their eyes are blind,
We are the salt of humankind.

If we are old, they call us young;
And if we speak with foolish tongue,
The praises of our wit are sung.

If we are ugly, gold can buy
Charms to adorn us in the eye
Of universal flattery.

If we are crooked, we grow straight—
If lame, we have Apollo's gait,
Seen in thy light, O Potentate!

Shine on us, Mammon, evermore—
Send us increase of golden store—
That we may worship and adore;

And that by look, and voice, and pen
We may be glorified of men,
And praise thy name. Amen! Amen.

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