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Musings in Maoriland

The Opposite Seat

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The Opposite Seat.

I tried to look prim while the parson was preaching,
  And you were pretending to be so demure;
I knew you were deaf to the truths he was teaching,
  And I was quite blind to the Gospel, I'm sure.
I brought neither chapter nor verse from the meeting,
  Although I told me 'twas a beautiful treat;
I know I'm a sinner, for Heav'n I was cheating,
  My soul was engaged on the opposite seat.

I scarcely can see either pulpit or altar,
I can't read my Bible, my eyes are so dim;
And really whenever I take up my psalter,
Instead of a psalm I look out for a him.

page 157

Our minister's lessons are pure and aesthetic,
  At least so I'm told! Oh, this horrid deceit!
I wish I could 'scape from that current magnetic
  That carries my thoughts to the opposite seat.

When people around us are wrapt in devotion,
  I strive to be pious and serious too;
And, raising my feelings with holy emotion,
  I try to forget such a fellow as you;
But when I look up I destroy the illusion,
  For you raise your head and our wicked eyes meet,
And then I am covered with shame and confusion—
  The tempter's enthroned on the opposite seat.

I'm eager to work out my spirit's salvation,
  But really each Sabbath I have not a chance;
Oh! you are the cause of this vile desecration,
  For sin and iniquity dwell in your glance.
I often endeavour to think upon Zion,
  Where angels, the prophets and patriarchs greet
In vain—for I know that poor me you've your eye on,
  Oh, why do you sit on the opposite seat?

You know very well that your conduct is stupid,
  Whatever may happen, 'tis you that's to blame,

page 158

You're turning the church to a Temple of Cupid,
  I'm sure you will drive me to alter my name.
Pray, do not persist in this vile persecution,
  Our souls must be saved, and Old Time is so fleet,
I feel quite composed—oh, this rash resolution!
  There's room for us both on the opposite seat.