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The Devil's Dictionary

by Ambrose Bierce
CRITIC
CUI BONO?

CROSS

-n.

An ancient religious symbol erroneously supposed to owe its significance to the most solemn event in the history of Christianity, but really antedating it by thousands of years. By many it has been believed to be identical with the crux ansata of the ancient phallic worship, but it has been traced even beyond all that we know of that, to the rites of primitive peoples. We have to-day the White Cross as a symbol of chastity, and the Red Cross as a badge of benevolent neutrality in war. Having in mind the former, the reverend Father Gassalasca Jape smites the lyre to the effect following:

 "Be good, be good!" the sisterhood
Cry out in holy chorus,
And, to dissuade from sin, parade
Their various charms before us

But why, O why, has ne'er an eye
Seen her of winsome manner
And youthful grace and pretty face
Flaunting the White Cross banner?

Now where's the need of speech and screed
To better our behaving?
A simpler plan for saving man
(But, first, is he worth saving?)

Is, dears, when he declines to flee
From bad thoughts that beset him,
Ignores the Law as 't were a straw,
And wants to sin — don't let him