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The Last Decalogue
by Arthur Hugh Clough

English poet. His first poem of note, The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich (1848) is written in classical Hexameters and tells the story of an Oxford scholar who marries a 'Scotch lassie'. Amours de Voyage (1858) is similar in its treatment of religious doubt, class conflict and romantic love. Clough's dissatisfaction with the attitudes of the Victorian age is most forcefully expressed in two poems which were not published until after his death: 'Dypsichus', which he described as dealing with the 'conflict between a tender conscience and the world'; and 'The Latest Decalogue', a biting satire on Victorian morality. His collected Poems became very popular when they were published in 1862.


The Last Decalogue
by Arthur Hugh Clough

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 'tis 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.


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