“Our Cherries”


An allegory. The fine cherries [of true religion] are guarded from birds and infidels by a finely woven net. Some would propose to loosen the net. The result would be that birds, Methodists, and Baptists would get the fruit -- an unacceptable result

Supplemental text

Our Cherries
  Complete text(s)

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From Mary O. Eddy, Ballads and Songs from Ohio, #141, pp. 306-307.
From a manuscript book in the handwriting of Esther E. Skelley of
Hopedale, Ohio.

1. See those cherries how they cover
      Yonder sunny garden wall,
   Had they not that network over,
      Thieving birds would eat them all.

2. So guard our ancient posts and pensions,
      Ancient sages wove a net,
   Through whose holes of small dimensions
      Only certain knaves can get.

3. Shall we then these networks widen,
      Shall we stretch these sacred holes?
   Through which even already slide in
      Lots of small, dissenting souls?

4. "God forbid," old Testy crieth,
      God forbid, so echo I;
   Every ravenous bird that flieth
      Then would to our cherries fly.

5. Ope but half an inch or more,
      And behold what bevies break in,
   Hear some cursed old popish crow
      Stick his long and lickerish beak in.

6. Here sly Arian's flock unnumbered,
      And Socinians, slim and spare,
   Who with small belief encumbered
      Slip in easy everywhere.

7. Methodists, of birds the aptest,
      Where there's pecking going on,
   And that waterfowl, the Baptist,
      All would share our fruits anon.

8. "God forbid," old Testy snivels,
      God forbid, I echo too,
   Rather than a thousand divils
      Seize the whole voracious crew.

9. If less costly fruits won't suit them,
      Hips and haws and suchlike berries,
   Curse the cormorants, stone 'em, shoot 'em,
      Anything to save our cherries!


Eddy, following Tolman, regards this as a bit of theological satire. I wonder if it's not a bit more complicated -- "Testy" is presumably the Test Act -- a law passed in Britain in 1673, requiring public officeholders to demonstrate a commitment to Anglicanism. The Act was repealed in 1829. The reference to Methodists implies a date not much before that. Perhaps this piece was involved (as a broadside?) in the efforts to repeal the Acts.

The reference to "Arian's flock" is, I presume, an error, referring to the Arian heresy (which held that God the Son was inferior to God the Father). The founder of this group was, however, Arius, not Arian. - RBW


  1. Eddy 141, "Our Cherries" (1 text)
  2. ST E141 (Full)
  3. Roud #4449
  4. BI, E141


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1939 (Eddy)
Keywords: religious political
Found in: US(MW)