John Hartley

(1839-1917 / England)

A True Tale - Poem by John Hartley

Ther's a Squire lives at th' Hall 'at's lukt up to,
As if he wor ommost a god.
He's hansum, he's rich, an he's clivver,
An fowk's praad if he gives 'em a nod.
He keeps carriages, horses an dogs,
For spooartin, or fancy, or labor,
He's a pew set apart in a church,
An he's reckoned a varry gooid naybor.

Ther's a woman bedrabbled an weet,
Crouched daan in a doorhoil to rest;
Her een strangely breet,--her face like a sheet,
An her long hair hings ovver her breast.
Want's shrivell'd her body to nowt,
An vice has set th' stamp on her face;
An her heart's grown soa callous an hard,
'At it connot be touched wi' disgrace.

Ther's a child bundled up i' some rags,
'At's whinin its poor life away;
Neglected an starvin on th' flags,
On this wild, cold an dree winter's day.
An its father is dinin at th' Hall,
An its mother is deein wi' th' cold,
Withaat even a morsel o' breead,
Yet its father is rollin i' gold.

Ther's a grey heeaded man an his wife,
Who are bow'd daan wi' grief,--net wi' years:--
Ivver mournin a dowter they've lost,
Ivver silently dryin ther tears.
Shoo wor th' hooap an pride o' ther life,
Till a Squire put strange thowts in her heead;
Then shoo fled an they ne'er saw her mooar,
Soa they mourn her as if shoo wor deead.

Ther's One up aboon sees it all;
He values noa titles nor brass,
He cares noa mooar for a rich Squire,
Nor He does for a poor country lass,
His messengers now hover near,
Till that mother an child yield ther breath,
An th' Squire has noa longer a fear,
For his secret is lockt up in death.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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