A Dialogue: Reverend—Boy

Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).

P2 DAVIS, John. Ymddyddan rhwng y parchedig ar bachgenyn. (A dialogue between the reverend and the boy.) Merthyr Tydfil: J. Davis, Printer, Georgetown, [1849].

1 p. 17 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 24.

This poem enjoyed considerable popularity over the next several years in Wales. Four variants have been determined, and there are likely more that have yet to surface. Three of the variants have only small differences in the title lettering and the publication information at the bottom. A fourth variant has an ornamental border and is signed “Gwrandawwr” (A listener) instead of “J. Davis.”

The poem portrays a preacher who is chiding a young Mormon lad for having been duped by “that deluded lot.” The boy defends his position and bests the preacher at every turn. There are eight stanzas of four lines each in the poem; the last of these stanzas indicates the boy’s triumph over the preacher.

Three years following the appearance of the poem in Welsh, Davis rendered an English translation of it (see P15).

A Dialogue Between the Reverend and the Boy

R. Come here, Wil—listen to me; art thou one of the Saints? Hast thou been duped into believing such horrible deceit?

B. The truth I must say, my Reverend Sir; of the Saints I am one. And this because their religion was established by Christ himself.

R. What knows a little boy like you about the religion of Jesus Christ? The Saints will certainly take thee quickly to a sad hell.

B. ‘Tis true that I but little know; yet I know that Christ lives, And that all his words are true: I came to know this from God.

R. Our age now is too enlighted for anyone to believe something so foolish; God did reveal in ancient times, but he pulled that back.

B. He reveals now, surely; I am a witness that God is the same: Whoever will do His will, may know for himself.

R. Oh, be still, do not jest, thou foolish boy; thou art presumptuous now. Dost thou know better than one who is a servant to the great Jesus?

B. You are learned, Sir, I know, and one of high birth; But before you can know anything, you must be like a little child.

R. Is it the Saints that teach thee thus to disrespect a servant of God? Good child, leave the deluded lot, who make a living with their deceit.

B. To whom can I go to better learn Christ’s complete commandments? You and your sects say boldly that they do not teach all of them.

R. Do not believe anything the Saints say—they are despised by all; Come to some respectable denomination, boy; don’t be persecuted more.

B. All who claim false religion are respected by the world; But Christ said of us, that we would be constantly persecuted.

R. Don’t lose thy soul, my dear boy, by following such a foolish sect:— I’ll place thee in a splendid position if thou wilt turn back.

B. Christ said woe to him who’d hinder one like me; It would be better to tie him to a stone, and drown him in the sea.

R. Thou little Satan!—I shall leave thy presence, I’ll not bother more with thee; Go ahead and believe the Saints, and go deceived to hell with them.

B. The tempter’s gone—and, Oh, my Father, who art in heaven, I am grateful to thee for giving me strength, to completely triumph over him.

J. Davis.