What excellent fools
Religion makes of men! Believes Terentius,
If these were dangers, as I shame to think them,
The gods could change the certain course of fate!
Or, if they could they would, now in a moment,
For a beeve's fat, or less, be bribed to invert
Those long decrees? Then think the gods, like flies,
Are to be taken with the steam of flesh,
Or blood, diffused about their altars: think
Their power as cheap as I esteem it small.â€”â€”
Of all the throng that fill th' Olympian hall,
And, without pity, lade poor Atlas' back,
I know not that one deity, but Fortune,
To whom I would throw up, in begging smoke,
One grain of incense; or whose ear I'd buy
With thus much oil. Her I, indeed, adore;
And keep her grateful image in my house,
Sometime belonging to a Roman king.
But now call'd mine, as by the better style:
To her I care not, if, for satisfying
Your scrupulous phant'sies, I go offer. Bid
Our priest prepare us honey, milk, and poppy,
His masculine odours, and night-vestments: say,
Our rites are instant; which perform'd, you'll see
How vain, and worthy laughter, your fears be.
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