A Fossil

He had his Thirty-nine Articles,
And his Nicene Creed.
And his Athanasian. Nothing else
He appeared to need.
He looked like a walking dogma, pent
Neath a shovel brim;
If he never knew what the dogma meant,
'Twas small blame to him.

He did not hazard a single guess,
That might lead to twain,
Whose answers never would coalesce
In a peaceful brain!
He seemed pure fossil: yet I protest
That across the aisle
I one day saw him of life possessed
For a little while!

" And streams in the desert," sang the choir.
What a strange surmise
Just then awoke, like a smouldering fire,
In his weary eyes!
That never came from the Nicene Creed —
'Twas a dream, I know,
Of some fair day when he lived indeed,
In the long ago!
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