Fractured Scripture

Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861)

The Latest Decalogue

Added y10814
Latest minor change 20040220

Retrieved from website
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Thou shalt have one God only; who
Would be at the expense of two?
No graven images may be
Worshipped, 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.

In response to the promiscuous tablet-mongering of some Republican politicians in the Deep South, Katha Pollitt offered a witty modern take on the Decalogue:
"Stacked Decalogue" in The Nation, 22 Sept 2003.

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