Arthur Hugh Clough

(1 January 1819 – 13 November 1861 / Liverpool)

The Latest Decalogue


Thou shalt have one God only; who
Would be at the expense of two?
No graven images may be
Worshipp'd, except the currency:
Swear not at all; for, for thy curse
Thine enemy is none the worse:
At church on Sunday to attend
Will serve to keep the world thy friend:
Honour thy parents; that is, all
From whom advancement may befall:
Thou shalt not kill; but need'st not strive
Officiously to keep alive:
Do not adultery commit;
Advantage rarely comes of it:
Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat,
When it's so lucrative to cheat:
Bear not false witness; let the lie
Have time on its own wings to fly:
Thou shalt not covet; but tradition
Approves all forms of competition.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Comments about this poem (The Latest Decalogue by Arthur Hugh Clough )

  • Rookie - 23 Points Thomas Vaughan Jones (3/6/2014 2:04:00 PM)

    I'm amazed that no one has commented on this cant against hypocrisy. The Victorian age was full of it, rich people celebrating, poor people dying, the church pontificating while the congregation fornicated in secret. Tables and chairs were covered in drapes so that they wouldn't show their legs while the brothels in the big cities flourished.
    All of this and more, cunningly presented in humour and rhyme, as our Mr Clough would have been ostracised if he had been blunter. (Oscar Wilde spent some time in gaol for his indiscretions) (Report) Reply

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