Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Spirit-Rapping

Lines inscribed to the new Professor of Spiritual Rapology, Glasgow, 1864.

Hast thou abjured the worship of old Mammon,
To offer incense at the shrine of Gammon,
'To call up spirits from the vasty deep,'
And deftly set them playing at bo-peep?
And having learn'd that souls are fond of dancing,
Mak'st tables shake their legs and fall to prancing;
The accordion plays, and dance and music swell,
'And all goes merry as a marriage bell.'
Most sage professor, you do not believe
In what you wish weak mortals to receive;
For did you know that spirits were about,
You would not put the gas or candle out,
And frighten screaming girls out of their wits,
Fainting and struggling in hysteric fits.
That renegade, the titled priest of Natal,
Gives out no dogma to the truth more fatal,
Even Scripture truth, than that you say is true-
The spirits of the dead called back by you?
O impious-nonsensical-absurd
Your spirit-rapping dodge is, 'pon my word;
And then, so weak the questions and replies,
Just silly twaddle or mischievous lies,
Quite unbecoming in a prudent ghost,
Who never tells if he is blest or lost.
Ask some scorch'd female's soul, at my desire,
How many crinolines are yet to fire,
And if Eugenie will reduce her hoops,
In mercy to her suicidal dupes?
Call up the captain's ghost (O tale of pity!)
He of the vanished steamer, Glasgow City;
Ask where she lies who went but never came?
Met she her fate by storm, by ice, or flame?
There's many a ghost that could a tale unfold;
A friendly voice cries out, You'd better hold;
For spirit-rappers can so well dispense
With Scripture, reason, truth, and common sense.
Till 'heaven peeps through the blanket of the dark'
That veils their minds, you're sure to lose your mark,
When to the land of souls they really come,
Its stern realities will strike them dumb.
Let this suffice-guard your own spirit well,
The secret soon you'll know you may not tell.
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