Thursday, September 24, 2009

Arthur Hugh Clough: “The Last Decalogue”

Thou shalt have one God only; -who
Would be at the expense of two?
No graven images may be
Worshipped, except the currency:
Swear not at all; for, for thy curse
Thine enemy is none the worse:
At church on Sunday to attend
Will serve to keep the world thy friend:
Honour thy parents; that is, all
From whom advancement may befall:
Thou shalt not kill; but need'st not strive
Officiously to keep alive:
Do not adultery commit;
Advantage rarely comes of it:
Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat,
When 'tis so lucrative to cheat:
Bear not false witness; let the lie
Have time on its own wings to fly:
Thou shalt not covet, but tradition
Approves all forms of competition.


  1. DR. Lunday I see your point of how God has to have a sense of humor. Because the poet is stating some commandments and then it's like he is statign some other ways to get around them. Like attending church but after church you go do anything with anybody just to keep them your friend but in church you are a different person.

  2. In my opinion, the author has simplized the whole Decalogue into a poem, which is easier for us to read as well as to remember. He was successful in using the rhythm in his word. Though the poem is small size, but Clough managed to summarize the origin Decalogue.

  3. I noticed that this poem shows not only what we should do but what we actually do. For example the poet says: "No graven images may be
    Worshipped, except the currency". I thibnk that most christians try to avoid bowing down before any graven image, ofcourse how you define a graven image matters. Still, most people worship the almighty dollar on some level. There are many people who would do nearly anything to get it and keep it. By showing the commandment and how we break it makes for a stronger poem.

  4. I like the play on wording! I see how the original ten commandments are incorporated, yet put in different terms. It is almost like the writer contemplated, "to do or not to do." It is of seems to be an interpretation and is more reader friendly than the original ten commandments.

  5. I like this poem - I like how he shows the 10 commandments and then says how to go around them - Is this mocking religion or us as people?

  6. Having been raised Catholic,I have been taught all my life to keep all the commandments, but that the world will test your will as well. It is in fact hard to keep all of the commandments, I know this because there is such a thing as confession. Religion, although good for me, is very much like the carrot held above the donkey's head.

  7. Clough did a job in giving us the ten commandments in his own words and how in real life many people who practice religion do the very contrast of their commandments. Personally, I don't practice religion. So, there would not be much for me to say. But, from what I've seen in real life, in Clough's commandment "No graven images may be Worshipped, except the currency". Many people especially the multi-millionaire people worship their money as if it were their god. They have more than enough, but their ambition is so big that they want more. There is also the commandment of not committing adultery, now this is an almost everyday thing. Many people do it, even though it's prohibited in their religion. Same thing would go for the commandment of robbery. Overall, the poem is nice and well written.