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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

XLI

DISTRACTIONS

MEN, who have ceased to reverence, soon defy,
Their forefathers; lo! sects are formed, and split
With morbid restlessness;--the ecstatic fit
Spreads wide; though special mysteries multiply,
'The Saints must govern', is their common cry;
And so they labour, deeming Holy Writ
Disgraced by aught that seems content to sit
Beneath the roof of settled Modesty.
The Romanist exults; fresh hope he draws
From the confusion, craftily incites
The overweening, personates the mad--
To heap disgust upon the worthier Cause:
Totters the Throne; the new-born Church is sad,
For every wave against her peace unites.

NOTE

11 -------- 'craftily incites
The overweening, personates the mad.'

A common device in religious and political conflicts.--See
"Strype in support of this instance."