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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

New England: Boston, Mass.

Calef in Boston

By John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)


IN the solemn days of old,

Two men met in Boston town,

One a tradesman frank and bold,

One a preacher of renown.

Cried the last, in bitter tone,—

“Poisoner of the wells of truth!

Satan’s hireling, thou hast sown

With his tares the heart of youth!”

Spake the simple tradesman then,—

“God be judge ’twixt thou and I;

All thou knowest of truth hath been

Unto men like thee a lie.

“Falsehoods which we spurn to-day

Were the truths of long ago;

Let the dead boughs fall away,

Fresher shall the living grow.

“God is good and God is light,

In this faith I rest secure;

Evil can but serve the right,

Over all shall love endure.

“Of your spectral puppet play

I have traced the cunning wires;

Come what will, I needs must say,

God is true, and ye are liars.”

When the thought of man is free,

Error fears its lightest tones;

So the priest cried, “Sadducee!”

And the people took up stones.

In the ancient burying-ground,

Side by side the twain now lie,—

One with humble grassy mound,

One with marbles pale and high.

But the Lord hath blest the seed

Which that tradesman scattered then,

And the preacher’s spectral creed

Chills no more the blood of men.

Let us trust, to one is known

Perfect love which casts out fear,

While the other’s joys atone

For the wrong he suffered here.