Monday, May 20, 2013


The following parodies the method upon which some parsons are said to construct their discourses.

"Brethren, the words of my text are:
           'Old Mother Hubbard, she went to the cupboard
                To get her poor dog a bone;
But when she got there the cupboard was bare,
                And so the poor dog had none.'
"These beautiful words, dear friends, carry with them a solemn lesson. I propose this evening to analyze their meaning, and to apply it, lofty as it may be, to our everyday life.
 'Old Mother Hubbard, she went to the cupboard
                To get her poor dog a bone.'

"Mother Hubbard, you see, was old; there being no mention of others, we may presume she was-alone; a widow-a friendless, old, solitary widow, yet did she despair? Did she sit down and weep, or read a novel, or wring her hands? No! She went to the cupboard. And here observe that she went to the cupboard. She did not hop, or skip, or run, or jump, or use any other peripatetic artifice; she solely and merely went to the cupboard.
"We have seen that she was old and lonely, and we now further see that she was poor. For, mark, the words are 'the cupboard.' Not 'one of the cupboards,' or the 'right-hand cupboard,' or the 'left-hand cupboard,' or the one above, or the one below, or the one under the floor; but just the cupboard-the one humble little cupboard the poor widow possessed. And why did she go to the cupboard? Was it to bring forth golden gob­
lets, or glittering, precious stones, or costly apparel, or feasts, or any other attributes of wealth? It was to get her poor dog a bone! Not only was the widow poor, but her dog, the sole prop of her age, was poor, too. We can imagine the scene. The poor dog crouching in the cor­ner, looking wistfully at the solitary cupboard, and the widow going to the cupboard-in hope, in expectation, may be-to open it, although we are not distinctly told that it was not half open or ajar-to open it for that poor dog.
.. 'But when she got there the cupboard was bare,
              And so the poor dog had none.'
"'When she got there!' You see, dear brethren, what perseverance is. You see the beauty of persistence in doing right. She got there. There were no turnings and twistings, no slippings and slidings, no leaning to
the right, or faltering to the left. With glorious simplicity we are told 'she got there.'
"And how was her noble effort rewarded?
     " 'The cupboard was bare!' It was bare! There were to be found neither oranges, nor cheese-cakes, nor penny buns, n9r gingerbread, nor crackers, nor nuts, nor lucifer matches. The cupboard was bare! There was but one, only one solitary cupboard in the whole of that cottage, and that one-the sole hope of the widow, and the glorious loadstar of the poor dog-was bare! Had there been a leg of mutton, a loin of lamb, a fillet of veal, even an 'ice' from Gatti's, the case would. have been different, the incident would have been otherwise.

But it was bare, my brethren, bare as a bald head, bare as an infant born without a caul.
"And, 0 dear friends! keeping in recollection what we have learned tbis day, let us avoid keeping dogs that are fond of bones. But, brethren, if we do, if Fate has ordained that we should do any of these things, let us then go, as Mother Hubbard did, straight, without curveting or prancing, to our cupboard, empty though it be-let us, like her, accept the inevitable with calm steadfastness; and should we, like her, ever be left with a hungry dog and an empty cupboard, may future chroniclers be able to write also of us in the beautiful words of our text-' And so the poor dog had none.' "

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