A pretty maid, a Protestant,
Was to a Papist wed;
To love all Bible truths and tales,
Quite early she’d been bred.
It sorely grieved her husband’s heart
That she would not comply
And join the Mother Church of Rome
And heretics deny.
So day by day he flattered her,
But still she saw no good
Would ever come from bowing down
To idols made of wood;
The mass, the host, the miracles,
Were made but to deceive;
And transubstantiation, too,
She’d never dare believe.
He went to see his clergyman
And told him his sad tale:
“My wife’s an unbeliever, sir,
You can, perhaps, prevail;
For all your Romish miracles
My wife has strong aversion,
To really work a miracle
May lead to her conversion.”
The priest went with the gentleman –
He thought to gain a prize.
He said, “I will convert her, sir,
And open both her eyes.”
So when they came into the house,
The husband loudly cried,
“The priest has come to dine with us!”
“He’s welcome,” she replied.
And when, at last, the meal was o’er,
The priest at once began
To teach his hostess all about
The sinful state of man;
The greatness of the Saviour’s love,
Which Christians can’t deny,
To give Himself a Sacrifice
And for their sins to die.
“I will return tomorrow, lass,
Prepare some bread and wine;
The sacramental miracle
Will stop your soul’s decline.”
“I'll bake the bread,” the lady said.
“You may,” he did reply,
“And when you’ve seen this miracle,
Convinced you’ll be, say I.”
The priest did come accordingly,
The bread and wine did bless.
The lady asked, “Sir, is it changed?”
The priest answered, “Yes;
It’s changed from common bread and wine
To truly flesh and blood;
I tell you, lass, this power of mine
Has changed it into God!”
So having blessed the bread and wine,
To eat they did prepare;
The lady said unto the priest,
“I warn you to take care,
For half an ounce of arsenic
Was mixed right in the batter,
But since you have its nature changed,
It cannot really matter.”
The priest anon was struck real dumb –
He looked as pale as death.
The bread and wine fell from his hands
And he did gasp for breath.
“Bring me my horse!” the priest cried,
“This is a cursed home!”
The dame replied, “Begone; ’tis you
Who shares the curse of Rome.”
The husband, too, he sat surprised,
And not a word did say.
At length he spoke, “My dear,” said he,
“The priest has run away;
To gulp such mummery and tripe,
I’m not, for sure, quite able;
I’ll go with you, and will renounce
This Roman Catholic Fable.”
Author Unknown; The earliest incident I’ve found so far is in The United Empire Minstrel: a Selection of the Best National, Constitutional and Loyal Orange Songs and Poems, William Shannon, Toronto: Henry Lowsell, 1852, pp. 202-204