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Circa August 1856


Literary and Musical Assembly; Salt Lake City, Utah Territory

My Bankrupt Bill.

[Written for, and read before the “Literary and Musical Assembly,” Great Salt Lake City, August, 1856.]

by e. r. snow.

Some “self-styled” critics have pronounced it weak

Of one’s own self to freely write or speak;

I court no critic’s censure: yet I will

Write of myself and my late bankrupt bill:

That I’d no money, was no fault or crime,

But I contracted debts—without a dime;

Which I acknowledge frankly should not be,

And I’ll henceforth avoid insolvency.

In this as well as ev’ry other land

Some entertainments call for cash in hand;

If empty handed I perchance to be,

The law of circumstances demands of me

To unreluctantly the card resign

To one whose funds are less cashier’d than mine.

And by the bye, to all I fain would say,

Create no bills when you’ve no means to pay;

To live within our income thus, will spare

Us many a fest’ring thought and servile care.

To our young friends I’ll give a key whereby

All future wants and wishes to supply—

Control yourselves, your passions all restrain,

Learn to want nothing which you can’t obtain,

Then ask no odds of circumstances—be

Faithful in duties and in feelings free;

Thus you’ll create your heav’ns where’er you dwell:

Want to—and can’t, you know, is Mormon hell.

’Neath the perverted sceptre Mammon wields,

Virtue and truth to gold’s base influence yield:

Men are respected if in gold they’re wealthy

Whether they gained it honestly or stealthy.

Not so in Zion—works and Godly fear

Preponderate o’er filthy lucre here;

Unyielding virtue—firm integrity—

Love for the Priesthood—careful industry—

In the true mint of heav’n will pass for more

Than all on earth that’s coined from glitt’ring ore.

The Saints may sometimes suffer want, ’tis sure,

But yet, a real Saint is never poor—

One in whose soul the holy fire of God,

The light of Truth is fully shed abroad:

What tho’ he cannot claim one foot of land,

Nor yet one dime of currency command?—

Altho’ no gold and silver, he has got

A costly pearl the purse-proud world has not.

That heavenly foretaste of a glorious rest,

The peace of God abiding in the breast,

With power the gift of endless lives to gain—

Henceforth our own identity retain—

Is wealth, and wealth which holds a promise rife

With ev’ry comfort that pertains to life.

That very gold the gentiles madly crave

Will yet our streets, the streets of Zion pave.

Among the Saints, is gold and silver wealth?

We might as well call food and clothing health;

Brain, bone and sinew here are prov’d to be

Both capital and lawful currency.

In Babylon, where money is the test,

Who has the most is honor’d as the best;

Or rather, he who vainly seems to have,

And thus he’s honor’d most who’s most a knave:

How it is elsewhere, matters not: with us—

Worth is not reckoned by the weight of purse.

Show me a Saint that’s poor, and once for all

I’ll show you one that is no Saint at all:

He may be moneyless—who has not been?

That, here, is neither poverty or sin.

Leanness of soul, and meagreness of thought,

An empty barrenness of mind, is what

I should call poverty: and even worse

Than Mammon’s vot’ries think an empty purse.

Methink I hear one softly whisper, “Hush—

To say you have no money makes me blush.”

I have no money—blush again—to me

That kind of blush bespeaks degeneracy;

Crime, wickedness and folly brings disgrace—

For these should blushes mantle o’er the face:

I could name many things that figure worse

In life, than total absence of the purse.

I boast of wealth and richer streams than flow

From the most fruitful sources here below;

Mine is not wealth that stimulates with pride,

’Tis wealth that will eternally abide:

If I in faithfulness and patience wait,

I’d hold an heirship in a God’s estate;

And even now, I’m richer, wea’thier far

Than those who dip in Mammon’s coffers are.

My Father’s rich—I am his lawful child—

Not one by silly, fond caressing spoil’d,

I’ve through bereavement, not indulgence, grown

In strength, tho’ woman never stands alone.

Who are my friends? Your worthy selves, I trust,

Whom I esteem wise, noble, good and just:

As such, each one I estimate a treasure;

In friendship, then, I’m rich in ample measure.

Who are my kindred? All the truly good,

Who’ve in the holy covenants faithful stood;

My kindred then, are all of royal line,

They each can claim an origin divine.

Who is my brother? Israel’s Holy One—

Pertaining to the flesh, God’s only Son;

He holds the birthright in eternity,

Through him the heirship is conferred on me.

And who is my Father? Is he wise and great,

And well possess’d of rich and large estate?

Who is my Father? Does he dwell below?

Is he a worldly potentate? O no:

All earthly things must perish—crowns will rust,

While thrones and monarchs moulder into dust—

Who is my Father? Endless is his name,

He is th’ Eternal God—the Great I AM.

Prov’d or not prov’d, this axiom is sure,

A real Saint of God is never poor.

[. . .] [n.p.]

Source Note

E. R. Snow, “My Bankrupt Bill,” Deseret News 6, no. 49 (11 Feb. 1857): 390.