A godly father, sitting on a draught
To do as need and nature hath us taught,
Mumbled (as was his manner) certain prayers,
And unto him the devil straight repairs,
And bodly to revile him he begins,
Alleging that such prayers were deadly sins
And that he shewed he was devoid of grace
To speak to God from so unmeet a place.
The reverent man, though at first dismayed,
Yet strong in faith, to Satan thus he said:
Thou damned spirit, wicked, false and lying,
Despairing thine own good, and ours envying,
Each take his due, and me thou canst not hurt,
To God my prayer I meant, to thee the dirt.
Pure prayer ascends to Him that high doth sit,
Down falls the filth, for fields of hell more fit.
– Sir John Harington, 1596.