Project Canterbury

Songs and Ballads for the People

By the Rev. John Mason Neale

London: James Burns, 1843.

VI. Pews.

Come, list to me, neighbours! come, list to my song!
Our Parson is right, and the parish is wrong:
He wants to take down all the pews, as you know;
He has plenty of reasons, and good ones, to shew;
And I'll make them so clear, that there's none shall refuse
To join him in crying--Away with the pews!

'Tis a shame to behold how the aged and poor,
Who have right to good places, are thrust to the door;
If such as have pews may but sit at their ease,
The poor they may stand, or not come, as they please:
So whoe'er loves the helpless and poor, can't but choose
To pity their lot, and cry--Down with the pews!

In the dwelling of peace it is monstrous to see
What complaining and fighting for pews there can be;
For those who have one always think that 'tis bad;
And those who have none, always wish that they had:
So whoever loves quiet and peace, can't refuse
To take away quarrels by outing the pews!

Some folks, who are never at church, keep a box,
Their own (as they call it) with bolts, keys, and locks;
The pews are quite empty: but look what a band
Of poor and of aged parishioners stand!
So whoever hates dogs in the manger, can't choose
But join in my ditty, and out with the pews!

'Twas a humble old custom to kneel side by side,
But pews came at first of contention and pride:
And those wicked men who invented the thing,
They pull'd down the churches and murder'd their King:
So whoe'er loves old customs can never refuse
To vote in the vestry for outing the pews!

And then rich and poor, as the way was of yore,
Will have all the same seats, free and open once more:
'Twas a rare wicked system; but now it has pass'd,
And our country has found out its mischief at last:
Open seats in all churches! and none must refuse,
For England has said it--Away with the pews!

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