Scene from a Play, Acted At Oxford, Called “matriculation.”
[Boy discovered at a table, with the Thirty-Nine Articles before him.–Enter the Rt. Rev. Doctor Phillpots.]
Doctor P.–There, my lad, lie the
Articles–(Boy begins to count them) just thirty nine–
No occasion to count–you’ve now only to sign.
At Cambridge where folks are less High-church than we,
The whole Nine-and-Thirty are lumped into Three.
Let’s run o’er the items;–there ‘a Justification,
Predestination, and Supererogation–
Not forgetting Salvation and Creed Athanasian,
Till we reach, at last, Queen Bess’s Ratification.
That is sufficient–now, sign–having read quite enough,
You “believe in the full and true meaning thereof?”
Oh! a mere form of words, to make things smooth and brief,–
A commodious and short make-believe of belief,
Which our Church has drawn up in a form thus articular
To keep out in general all who’re particular.
But what’s the boy doing? what! reading all thro’,
And my luncheon fast cooling!–this never will do.
Boy (poring over the Articles).–
Here are points which–pray, Doctor, what’s “Grace of Congruity?”
Doctor P. (sharply).–You’ll find out, young sir, when
you’ve more ingenuity.
At present, by signing, you pledge yourself merely.
Whate’er it may be, to believe it sincerely,
Both in dining and signing we take the same plan,–
First, swallow all down, then digest–as we can.
Boy (still reading).–I’ve to gulp, I see, St. Athanasius’s Creed,
Which. I’m told, is a very tough morsel indeed;
As he damns–
Doctor P. (aside).–Ay, and so would I, willingly, too,
All confounded particular young boobies, like you.
This comes of Reforming!–all’s o’er with our land,
When people won’t stand what they can’t under-stand;
Nor perceive that our ever-revered Thirty-Nine
Were made not for men to believe but to sign.
Exit Dr. P. in a passion.
 It appears that when a youth of fifteen went to be matriculated at Oxford, he was required first to subscribe the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religious Belief.