Project Canterbury

Songs and Ballads for the People

By the Rev. John Mason Neale

London: James Burns, 1843.

III. Why don't you go to Meeting? The Mother's Answer.

You may tell me of the meeting where you Dissenters go;
You may tell me of the liberty that you Dissenters know;
I am little of a scholar, but the question is not long,--
For he who stays away from church, I know, is going wrong:
There is a way that seemeth right, the holy Scripture saith,
In a man's own eyes, as yours does now, but the end thereof is death.

The fine old church! I love it well, with its tower so tall and grey!
There it has stood, where now it stands, five hundred years, they say:
The greatest joys that I have known, or griefs I've had to bear,
The warmest feelings of my heart, they have every one been there:
Shall I leave it and my Prayer-book now, to go with you and look
At the preacher whom you tell me of, that prays without a book?

My father and my mother in yonder churchyard lie;
And as they brought me up, I mean, by God's good help, to die:
I think 'twould almost grieve their souls, though I hope they are in bliss,
After all their teaching and their prayers, if I could come to this:
Their fathers too, before them, were Churchmen all their days;
I'll never be the first to turn to your new-fangled ways.

It was in church, that happy day, the happiest of my life,
That my husband said, "I take thee to be my wedded wife,--
To have and hold, from this day forth, in sickness and in health,
For better and for worse, and in want as well as wealth:"
And I scarcely think, whatever you Dissenters choose to say,
That she's an honest woman who weds another way.

My baby too! my darling one! you know not what I felt,
When with godfathers and godmother beside the Font I knelt;
And the Parson took him in his arms, and the Church's prayers were said,
And the water sprinkled on his brow, and the Holy Cross was made;
And all the congregation seem'd to welcome me again,
Giving thanks to God, Who brought me through my peril and my pain.

And when my precious baby died, I followed while they bore
His little coffin to the church, and then I wept no more;
How could I but take comfort, when I heard from God's own word,
The text that calls them blessed who are sleeping in the Lord?
No! I will keep the good old paths that all good men have trod;
And I never can forget my Church, till I forget my God!

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