Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > British
The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. VI–IX: British
The Distracted Puritan
By Thomas Percy (1729–1811)
From “Reliques of Ancient English Poetry”

AM I mad, oh, noble Festus,
When zeal and godly knowledge
  Have put me in hope
  To deal with the Pope,
As well as the best in the college?        5
Boldly I preach, hate a cross, hate a surplice,
  Mitres, copes, and rochets;
Come, hear me pray nine times a day,
  And fill your heads with crotchets.
In the house of pure Emanuel        10
I had my education,
  Where my friends surmise
  I dazel’d my eyes
With the sight of revelation.
They bound me like a bedlam,        15
They lash’d my four poor quarters;
  Whilst this I endure,
  Faith makes me sure
To be one of Foxe’s martyrs.
These injuries I suffer        20
Through antichrist’s perswasion:
  Take off this chain,
  Neither Rome nor Spain
Can resist my strong invasion.
Of the beast’s ten horns (God bless us!)        25
I have knock’d off three already;
  If they let me alone
  I’ll leave him none:
But they say I am too heady.
When I sack’d the seven-hill’d city,        30
I met the great red dragon;
  I kept him aloof
  With the armour of proof,
Though here I have never a rag on.
With a fiery sword and target,        35
There fought I with this monster:
  But the sons of pride
  My zeal deride,
And all my deeds misconster.
I have seen two in a vision        40
With a flying book between them.
  I have been in despair
  Five times in a year,
And been cur’d by reading Greenham.
I observ’d in Perkins’ tables        45
The black line of damnation;
  Those crooked veins
  So stuck in my brains,
That I fear’d my reprobation.
In the holy tongue of Canaan        50
I plac’d my chiefest pleasure;
  Till I prick’d my foot
  With an Hebrew root,
That I bled beyond all measure.
I appear’d before the archbishop,        55
And all the high commission;
  I gave him no grace,
  But told him to his face,
That he favour’d superstition.
Boldly I preach, hate a cross, hate a surplice,        60
  Mitres, copes, and rochets;
Come hear me pray nine times a day,
  And fill your heads with crotchets.
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