This poem is by John Hall Stevenson from the late 1700s:

Don Pringello’s Tale: The Fellowship of the Holy Nuns,
or, The Monk’s Wise Judgement

There is a noble town, called Ghent,
A city famous for its wares,
For Priests and Nuns, and Flanders mares,
And for the best of fish in Lent.

There you may see, threat’ning destruction,
A hundred forts and strong redoubts,
Just like Vauban’s, with ins and outs,
And covered-ways of love’s construction.

In one, constructed as above,
There dwelt two Nuns of the same age,
Join’d like two birds in the same cage,
Both by necessity and love.

In towns of idleness and sloth,
Where the chief trade is tittle-tattle,
Though Priests are commoner than cattle,
They had but one between them both.

Our Nuns should have had two at least,
In Ghent they’re common as great guns:
Which made it hard upon our Nuns,
And harder still upon the Priest.

But he was worthy of all praise,
With spreading shoulders and a chest,
A leg, a chine, and all the rest,
Like Hercules of the Farnese.

Amongst the Nuns there was a notion,
That these two Sisters were assigned
To him, for a severer kind
Of penitential devotion.

His penance lasted a whole year;
And he had such a piece of work,
If it had been for turning Turk,
It could not have been more severe.

Our Nuns, which is no common case,
Living together without jangling,
All on a sudden fell a wrangling
About precedency and place.

They both with spleen were like to burst,
Like two proud Misses when they fight,
At an Assembly, for the right
Of being taken out the first.

Before the Priest they made this clatter;
Between them both he was perplexed,
And studied to find out a Text,
To end the controverted matter.

Children, said he, scratching his sconce,
I should be better pleased than you,
Could I divide myself in two,
And satisfy you both at once.

Angels, perhaps, may have such powers;
But it is fit and seasonable,
That you should be more reasonable,
Whilst you’re with Beings such as ours.

Be friends, and listen to the Teacher;
Cease your vain clamour and dispute;
Be ye like little fishes mute,
Before Saint Anthony the Preacher.

To end at once all disputation,
I’ll set my back against that gate,
And there produce, erect and straight,
The cause of all your altercation.

But first you both shall hooded be,
Both so effectually blinded,
‘Twill be impossible to find it,
Except by Chance or Sympathy.

Which of you first, be it agreed,
The rudder of the Church can seize,
Like Peter’s Vicar with his keys,
Shall keep the helm, and have the lead;
She shall go first, I mean to say,
And have precedence every day.

The Nuns were tickled with the jest,
They were content; and he contrived
To give the helm, for which they strived,
To her that managed it the best.