The legislators pass along
A solemn, self-important throng!
Just raised from the common mass,
They feel themselves another class.
–But let them in the sunshine play
For every dog must have his day.

There moves the law’s close-wedged band
The scourge and terror of the land!
Pandora’s box replete with ills
Not half so baleful as their quills.

The sons of Galen, ghastly crew!
Next pass in horrible review:
Arm’d with each instrument of death
To sap the citadel of Health.
Ten thousand times ten thousand fall
And physic’s monster gulps down all.

Bellona’s sons, a num’rous train,
now darken all the dusky plain!
–War, their amusement, Death their trade
And the one sin, to be afraid.
They’re but another dire disease
The soul from prison to release:
And man forlorn, as well may be
A prey to steel as malady:
Explore he must the mortal road,
The only diff’rence is the mode.

The men in black bring up the rear,
More warm to preach than folks to hear:
Each points to his own fav’rite road
As leading to the blest abode;
Proclaiming loud that all are wrong
Who don’t around his banners throng,
Till, all confounded, FAITH retires
And frighten’d CHARITY expires.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Major Henry Livingston, Jr.'s poem The Procession

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