Emily Dickinson

Emancipation

Behold! the days of miracle at last Return-if ever they were truly past: From sinful creditors’ unholy greed The church called Calvary at last is freed So called for there the Savior’s crucified, Roberts and Carmany on either side. The circling contribution-box no more Provokes the nod and simulated snore; No more the Lottery, no more the Fair, Lure the reluctant dollar from its lair, Nor Ladies’ Lunches at a bit a bite Destroy the health yet spare the appetite, While thrifty sisters o’er the cauldron stoop To serve their God with zeal, their friends with soup, And all the brethren mendicate the earth With viewless placards: ‘We’ve been _so_ from birth!’ Sure of his wage, the pastor now can lend His whole attention to his latter end, Remarking with a martyr’s prescient thrill The Hemp maturing on the cheerless Hill. The holy brethren, lifting pious palms, Pour out their gratitude in prayer and psalms, Chant _De Profundis_, meaning ‘out of debt,’ And dance like mad-or would if they were let. Deeply disguised (a deacon newly dead Supplied the means) Jack Satan holds his head As high as any and as loudly sings His _jubilate_ till each rafter rings. ‘Rejoice, ye ever faithful,’ bellows he, ‘The debt is lifted and the temple free!’ Then says, aside, with gentle cachination: ‘I’ve got a mortgage on the congregation.’

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