How to Select a Successful Evangelist

How to Select a Successful Evangelist  (2007) 
by Robert E. Howard

First published in The Last of the Trunk och Brev i Urval (2007), where it appears in a letter to Tevis Clyde Smith, c. March 1928. It is a satirical sonnet, possibly inspired by Sinclair Lewis's Elmer Gantry, published the year before.

First, find a man who has a goodly voice,
Whose yell shall shake the very topmost spire
When he proclaims some rival rev a liar.
Pass up the knowledge if he has the noise.
Next, see he mixes freely with the boys.
A man with carefully concealed desire,
But one whose sex appeal is like a fire—
Then he is sure of all the women’s choice.

Yet let him be discreet—Let not a rumor
Attend his trail. Let him condemn all thought
Most loudly as the evil he has fought.
Enough vulgarity to pass as humor.

He shall be sure then, gathering the tin
And lead ten thousand from the ways of sin.

This work is from the United States and in the public domain because it was not legally published with the permission of the copyright holder before January 1, 2003 and the author died more than 70 years ago. This is a posthumous work and its copyright in certain countries and areas may depend on years since posthumous publication, rather than years since the author's death. Translations or editions published later may be copyrighted.

This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.