The Psalms of the Pharisees by C.J. Dennis

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Mr Thrower: I know instances in which dairy farmers sweat their own children.  I would give a Wages Board power to prevent a man sweating his own family...
Mr Twaddle: Judge Higgins is not a just Judge. . . God help the farmers of Australia if they have to suffer the restrictions that a man of that kind would place upon them.  God help the whole community, too!
Mr Fitzpatrick: God help the country members! Etc, Etc.
- Extracts from Industrial Bill Debate in N.S.W.


God help us all!...O God of Pharisees.
   Patron of wealthy Solomon of old,
Behold us, suppliant upon our knees,
   The rich, right-thinkng members of your fold!
Our earthly schemes have failed, our judges prate
   Of justice for the lowly and the weak;
Our enemies howl loudly at the gate,
   And e'en to wrest our privileges seek.
In our extremity on Thee we call.
Defend us in our need! God, help us all!

         PSALM I. - Domine, ne in furore.

1. Rebuke me not, O Lord, nor, in Thine ire,
      Seek vengeance for my small iniquities;
   For lo, Thy hateful enemies conspire
      To steal my profits and disturb my ease.
2. Thou in Thy wisdom, Lord, best e'en ordained
      The poor shall e'er be with us here below.
   Lord, Thou hast said it; and I ne'er complained.
      But strove to aid Thee, that it should be so.
3. But now mine enemies - and Thine, Lord - strive
      To wreck our holy work with impious schemes;
   And unjust judges in our courts contrive
      To help them realise their sinful dreams.
4. My soul is troubled by the workers' greed;
      They mock my pious deeds; my schemes go wrong;
   While evil men of SATAN sow the seed
      Of discontent.  But Thou, O Lord, how long?
5. Depart, ye wreckers of iniquity.
      I shall prevail!  The Lord has heard my call!
6. Ye shall be smitten, and the triumph see
      Of FAT beatified . . . God help us all!

         PSALM II. - Beati, quorum.

1. Blessèd are they, thrice blessèd in the land
      To whom the Lord hath given many kine;
   And tenfold blessèd he who may command
      The toll of olive branches eight or nine.
   Blessèd the man that ruleth helotry,
      Who e'er obey his will for scanty pence,
   And labor long, from dawn to dark, that he
      May prosper, and extend his bound'ry fence.
2. Because I was attentive to my kine
      The Lord allowed my children to increase.
   That they might labor 'mid these beasts of mine
      With respite scant, and know nor joy nor peace.
3. For day and night they labor at the bail;
      And lo, my treasure swelleth, week by week;
   And they grow dull of brain, and wan, and pale,
      The while my good kine wax obese and sleek.
4. Flesh of my flesh, made helot for the Beast;
      Bone of my bone grown warped with heavy toll!
5. I praised the Lord, and; lo, my herds increased,
      And God sent rains to fall upon my soil.
6. Oh, balm of Gilead, gushing from the teat!
      Oh, sweat of helots rising to the Throne!
   A daily offering of incence sweet!
      (Flesh of my flesh enslaved; bone of my bone.)
7. But lo, mine enemies around me crowd.
      Thou art my refuge, Lord.  Cause them to fall.
8. Scourge them, that they way cease their ravings loud;
      And make them much afraid ... God help us all!

         PSALM III. - Miserere.

1. Have mercy on me, Lord; for men of Sin,
      Unrighteous men, and judges most unjust,
   Sow treason midst the lowly with their din.
      And seek to rob me of my gilded crust.
2. Restore to me, 0 Lord, my Sacred Rights;
      Smite them that plague me with their unjust laws;
3. And I shall teach Thy will to tolling wights.
      And e'en convert the lowly to Thy cause.
4. Behold, Thou hast loved truth; but, even now,
      These evil men speak lies against my name;
   And in our very courts they brand my brow -
      These impious judges - with the mark of shame.
5. They seek to wrest the gold Thy mercy gave
      Even to me, that I might work Thy will,
6. To gild the helot and enrich the slave
      And all the collers of the lowly fill.
7. Hadst Thou desired a sacrifice, O Lord,
      I would have given it; for, even yet,
   I might compel, from out the toiling horde,
      A further offering of tears and sweat.
8. Yet punish not the lowly and the meek,
      Smite, rather, them that make the unjust laws;
9. Smite Thou our judges and the men that seek
      With blasphemy to wreck our holy cause.
   For see the weak and humble of the fold,
      Without Thy holy aid, I still may bind;
10. For when I play 'gainst them alone, behold.
      The dice are loaded. and the throwers blind.
11. Bind fast the leaders, Lord, who make these laws;
      Give them to be my prey! Lord, hear my call!
12. With bit and bridle bind Thou fast their jaws.
      Deliver them to me ... God help us all!

         PSALM IV. - De Profundis.

1. Out of the depths we cry to Thee, O Lord!
      Out of the depths of sophistry and cant!
2. Strengthen our arm, and forge for us a sword
      To smite them, who complain their wage is scant.
3. Long have we schemed with cunning, earthly schemes;
      Loud were our voices when we were assailed;
   Deep were our curses of the helot's dreams;
      But, Lord, the wiles of SATAN have prevailed!
4. From trench to trench they drove us, ever back
      And back again, till now, our doom we see.
   Our plans be dust, our privileges wrack;
      And now, O Lord, at last we cry to Thee.
5. Thou art our last, lorn hope.  Be with us now.
      Be Thou attentive, Lord, and heed our call.
6. Lod God of Solomon, Thou'dst not allow
      Thy righteous rich to fall! ... God help us all!


God help us all!...O God of Pharisees.
   Turn not away in anger; for behold!
The plutocrat, at last, upon his knees -
   The last meek suppliant of all Thy fold!
Ay, hitherto, the needy and the weak
   Have sued with Thee for mercy and for aid;
But now, O Lord, behold him!  fat and sleek,
   Cringing for help - because he is afraid.
Lord God of Pharisees, wouldst let him fall
   Even as common men?...God help us all!

First published in The Bulletin, 13 July 1911

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on July 13, 2013 9:04 AM.

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