(A)n epic poem by American writer Herman Melville, originally published in two volumes. Clarel is the longest poem in American literature, stretching to almost 18,000 lines (longer even than European classics such as the Iliad, Aeneid and Paradise Lost). As well as for its great length, Clarel is notable for being the major work of Melville's later years.
In an excerpt from the poem in the book I'm reading, this passage occurs:
He [the Dominican] turned and would have gone; but no,
New matter struck him: “Ere I go
Yet one word more; and bear with me;
Whatever your belief may be— If well ye wish to human kind,
Be not so mad, unblest and blind
As, in such days as these, to try
To pull down Rome. If Rome could fall
’Twould not be Rome alone, but all Religion.
All with Rome have tie
Even the railers which deny,
All but the downright Anarchist,
Christ-hater, Red and Vitriolist.
Rome and the Atheist have gained:
These two shall fight it out— these two;
Protestantism being retained For base of operations sly
Melville got it, and he was a protestant!
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