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A Humorous Poem by Thomas Paine - The Monk and the Jew



An unbelieving Jew one day


Was skating o’er the icy way,


Which being brittle let him in,


Just deep enough to catch his chin;


And in that woful plight he hung,


With only power to move his tongue.


A brother skater near at hand,


A Papist born in foreign land,


With hasty strokes directly flew


To save poor Mordecai the Jew -


“But first,” quoth he, “I must enjoin


That you renounce your faith for mine;


There’s no entreaties else will do,


‘Tis heresy to help a Jew –”




“Forswear mine fait! No! Cot forbid!


Dat would be very base indeed,


Come never mind such tings as deeze,


Tink, tink, how fery hard it freeze.


More coot you do, more coot you be,


Vat signifies your faith to me?


Come tink agen, how cold and vet,


And help me out von little bit.”




“By holy mass, ’tis hard, I own,


To see a man both hang and drown,


And can’t relieve him from his plight


Because he is an Israelite;


The Church refuses all assistance,


Beyond a certain pale and distance;


And all the service I can lend


Is praying for your soul, my friend.”




“Pray for my soul, ha! ha! You make me laugh.


You petter help me out py half:


Mine soul I farrant vill take care,


To pray for her own self, my tear:


So tink a little now for me,


’Tis I am in de hole not she.”




“The Church forbids it, friend, and saith


That all shall die who had no faith.”


“Vell, if I must peblieve, I must.


But help me out von little first.”




“No, not an inch without Amen


That seals the whole” – “Vell, hear me den,


I here renounce for coot and all


De race of Jews both great and small;


’Tis de vurst trade peneath the sun,


Or vurst religion; dat’s all von.


Dey cheat, and get deir living py’t,


And lie, and swear the lie is right.


I’ll co to mass as soon as ever


I get to toder side the river.


So help me out, dow Christian friend,


Dat I may do as I intend.”




“Perhaps you do intend to cheat,


If once you get upon your fee.”


“No, no, I do intend to be


A Christian, such as one as dee.”


For, thought the Jew, he is as much


a Christian man as I am such.


The bigot Papist joyful hearted


To hear the heretic converted,


Replied to the designing Jew,




“This was a happy fall for you:


You’d better die a Christian now,


For if you live you’ll break your vow.”


Then said no more, but in trice


Popp’d Mordecai beneath the ice.

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