Buckey’s Lamentation for Want of More Wives, Warsaw Message, 7 February 1844

The following anonymous poem attributed to Wilson Law appeared in the Warsaw Message, 7 February 1844, p. 1 and when the newspaper changed names in the Warsaw Signal, 25 April 1844, p. 3.



I once thought I had knowledge great,
  But now I find ”tis small;
I once thought I”d Religion, too,
  But I find I”ve none at all.
For I have got but one lone wife, 
  And can obtain no more;
And the doctrine is, I can”t be saved,
  Unless I”ve half a score!


The narrow gate that Peter kept,
  In ages long ago,
Is locked and barred since he gave up
  The keys to beardless JOE.
And Joe proclaims it is too small,
  And causes great delay,
And that he has permission got
  To open the broad way.


The narrow gate did well enough
  When Peter, James,and John,
Did lead the saints on Zion-ward,
  In single file along:
When bachelors, like good old Paul,
  Could win the glorious prize,
And maids, without a marriage rite, 
  Reach “mansions in the skies.”


But we have other teaching now,
  Of greater glories far;
How a single glory”s nothing more
  Than some lone twinkling star.
A two-fold glory”s like the moon,
  That shines so sweet at night,
Reflecting from her gracious lord
  Whatever he thinks right.


A tenfold glory-that”s the prize!
  Without it you”re undone!
But with it you will shine as bright
  As the bright shining sun.
There you may reign””like mighty Gods,
  Creating worlds so fair;-
At least a world for every wife 
  That you take with you there.


The man that has got ten fair wives, 
  Ten worlds he may create;
And he that has got less than this,
  Will find a bitter fate.
The one or two that he may have,
  He”d be deprived of then;
And they”ll be given as talents were
  To him who has got ten.


And ”tis so here, in this sad life-
  Such ills you must endure-
Some priest or king, may claim your wife
  Because that you are poor.
A revelation he may get-
  Refuse it if you dare!
And you”ll be damned perpetually 
  By our good Lord the Mayor!


But if that you yield willingly,
  Your daughters and your wives,
In spiritual marriage to our POPE,
  He”ll bless you all your Lives;
He”ll seal you up, 
  be darned you can”t,
No matter what you do-
  If that you only stick to him,
He swears HE”LL take you through.


He”ll lead you on to the broad gate,
  Which he has opened wide-
In solid column you shall march,
  And enter side by side.
And no delay you”ll meet with there,
  But “forward march” you shall:-
For he”s not only our Lord MAYOR


This is the secret doctrine taught
  By Joeand the red rams-
Although inpublic they deny-
  But then ”tis all a sham.
They fear the indignation just,
  Of those who have come here,
With hands thats clean and honest hearts, 
  To serve the Lord infear.


Thus, all the twelve do slyly teach,
  And slyly practice, too;
And even the sage Patriarch,
  Wont have untied his shoe:
For sure, ”twould be quite impolite,
  If not a great disgrace,
To have a widow sister fair
  Spit in a Prophet”s face!


But Joeat snaring beats them all,
  And at the rest does laugh;
For widows poor, and orphan girls,
  He can ensnare with chaff,
He sets his snares around for all,-
  And very seldom fails
To catch some thoughtless Partridges, 
  Snow-birds or Knight-ingales!

12. [sic]

But there are hundred other birds
  He never can make sing;
Who wont be driven nor draged to hell,
  By prophet, priest nor king:
Whose sires have bled in days gone by,
  For their dear country”s cause;
And who will still maintain its rights,
  Its Liberty and Laws!

B.Y. & O. H.

[Source: Gary James Bergera, “Buckeye”s Laments: Two Early Insider Exposes of Mormon Polygamy and Their Authorship,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Winter 2002, vol. 95, no. 4, pp. 350-390.]