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John Hartley

(1839-1917 / England)

Peter's Prayer


His face wor varry thin an pale,
His een wor strangely breet;
His old rags flapt i'th' wintry gale,
An shooless wor his feet.
His teeth they chattered in his heead,
His hands had lost ther use,
He humbly begg'd a bite o' breead,
But nobbut gate abuse.

A curse wor tremblin on his tongue,
But with a mad despair,
He curbed it wi' an effort strong,
An changed it for a prayer.
'Oh, God!' he cried, 'spare,--spare aw pray!
Have mercy an forgive;
Befooar too lat, show me some way
My wife an bairns can live!'

'Aw read i'th' papers ivvery day,
Ov hundreds,--thaasands spent
For shot an shell, an things to swell
This nation's armament.
Into fowk's hearts, oh, God! instil
A love ov peace, an then,
Maybe we'st have some better times,
An men can help thersen.

Aw nobbut want a chonce to live,
One cannot wish for less;
Wars fill this world wi' misery,--
Peace gives us happiness.
If monarchs dooant get quite as mich,
Ther joys need not decrease;--
Pray think o'th' poor as weel as th' rich;--
We've but one soul apiece.'

Submitted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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