One day the Great Designer sought
His Clerk of Birth and Death.
Said he: “Two souls are in my thought,
to whom I gave life-breath.
I deemed my work was fitly done,
But yester-eve I saw
That in the finished brain of one
There was a tiny flaw.
“It worried me, and I would know,
Since I am all to blame,
What happened to them down below,
Of honour or of shame;
For if the later did befall,
My sorrow will be grave . . .”
Then numbers astronomical
unto the Clerk he gave.
The Keeper of the Rolls replied:
“Of them I’ve little trace;
But one he was a Prince of pride
And one of lowly race.
One was a Holy Saint proclaimed;
For one no hell sufficed . . . .
Let’s see – the last was Nero named,
The other . . . Jesus Christ.”