Shakespeare in Stratford Church

A Sunday morning in old Stratford church —
After the service sundry travellers
Halting above me here to gape, let fall:
" I wonder what Will Shakespeare would have said
To hear that sermon? "
" Well, I guess he'd say
" Too simple stuff for me," and go home smiling.
I guess he didn't come here very often. . . . "

Good friend, good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear
To talk mere fustian. Since you dig the dust
Of my poor credo: What a man believes,
Or, likelier, believes that he believes,
Is nothing — nay, 'tis something, if it be
But nice politeness to the tenderhood
Of honest worthy folk. I doubt man's mind
Hath no such natural scope to make it matter
If he believe, or what. Perchance he finds
Sermons in stones, riddles in everything.
Yet I hear many sermons in this chancel,
And not one fruitless, not one lacking seed
For any fertile apprehensive sense.
You know the world, the great, sweet curious world,
More presently than I. If in men's deeds
There runs such rich and strong-enjoining ruth,
Such charity, such generous brave amend
For all the peevish errors of the time,
Then fleer, then mock the hopeful bended knee.

You study. There are still some trifling ways
Wherein the antique virtues might avail?
Humility, forbearance, tender heart?
Our rustic rites hold method yet, and meat
At least so much as in a cockney egg?
Ere you displant our old simplicity
Cleanse the foul body of the infected world.
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