Quote: Repentance on a Sunday, For what he has done on Saturday (1905) Question about ascription

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Apr 13 14:55:49 UTC 2014

Several reference works list a sardonic verse about church attendance
that I have been asked to trace. I have a question for Fred and anyone
else with the knowledge to answer.

A 1909 citation is given in The Yale Book of Quotations, The Times
Book of Quotations, and The Encarta Book of Quotations: "The
Christian" (1909) by Thomas Russell Ybarra (Venezuelan-born U.S.
author, 1880-1971).

I've located a 1905 citation in "Life" in which the verse is anonymous.

Question: Is it possible that Thomas Russell Ybarra was not the author
of the verse, and he was simply repeating a verse he had seen
previously? Alternatively, did Ybarra give the verse to "Life" for

I have not been able to examine the 1909 book yet. Is the verse
presented as an epigraph?

Here is the 1905 cite. Further below is an entertaining 1797 precursor.

[ref] 1905 December 14, Life, Volume 46, Number 1207, A Definition,
Quote Page 746, Column 2, Life Publishing Company, New York. (Google
Books Full View) link [/ref]


[Begin excerpt]
A CHRISTIAN is a man who feels
Repentance on a Sunday
For what he has done on Saturday,
And is going to do on Monday.
[End excerpt]

A few weeks later the verse was reprinted in a Utah newspaper:

[ref] 1905 December 28, Salt Lake Telegram, A Definition, Quote Page
4, Column 3, Salt Lake City, Utah. (GenealogyBank)[/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
A Christian is a man who feels
Repentance on a Sunday
For what he has done on Saturday,
And is going to do on Monday.
[End excerpt]

Here is an excerpt from a poem published in 1797 called "The
Grumbler's Petition"

[ref] 1797 April, The Monthly Epitome, Volume 1, Paul Positive's
Prison Amusements Extract: The Grumbler's Petition, Start Page 283,
Quote Page 283, Printed for W. Clarke, New Bond Street, London.
(Google Books Full View)[/ref]


[Begin excerpt]
A worthy orthodox divine;
Six days and nights in riot spent,
I'll bless the seventh and repent;
Then start again on Monday morn,
Nor rest till Sabbath day return.

--No--my good grannum us'd to say,
That there will come---a judgment day!
"Well, then with lawyers I'll resort,
And, like a spectre, haunt the court;"
[End excerpt]


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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