Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935). Collected Poems. 1921.

III. Captain Craig, Etc.

8. Erasmus

WHEN he protested, not too solemnly,

That for a world’s achieving maintenance

The crust of overdone divinity

Lacked aliment, they called it recreance;

And when he chose through his own glass to scan

Sick Europe, and reduced, unyieldingly,

The monk within the cassock to the man

Within the monk, they called it heresy.

And when he made so perilously bold

As to be scattered forth in black and white,

Good fathers looked askance at him and rolled

Their inward eyes in anguish and affright;

There were some of them did shake at what was told,

And they shook best who knew that he was right.