Th' Better Part - Poem by John Hartley
A poor owd man wi' tott'ring gait,
Wi' body bent, an snowy pate,
Aw met one day;--
An daan o'th' rooad side grassy banks
He sat to rest his weary shanks;
An aw, to while away mi time,
O'th' neighbourin hillock did recline,
An bade 'gooid day.'
Said aw, 'Owd friend, pray tell me true,
If in your heart yo nivver rue
Th' time 'at's past?
Does envy nivver fill yor breast
When passin fowk wi' riches blest?
An do yo nivver think it wrang
At yo should have to trudge along,
Soa poor to th' last?'
'Young man,' he sed, 'aw envy nooan;
But ther are times aw pity some,
Wi' all mi heart;
To see what trubbl'd lives they spend,
What cares upon their hands depend;
Then aw in thowtfulness declare
'At 'little cattle little care'
Is th' better part.
Gold is a burden hard to carry,
An tho' Dame Fortun has been chary
O' gifts to me;
Yet still aw strive to feel content,
An think what is, for th' best is meant;
An th' mooast ov all aw strive for here,
Is still to keep mi conscience clear,
From dark spots free.
An while some tax ther brains to find
What they'll be foorced to leeav behind,
When th' time shall come;
Aw try bi honest word an deed,
To get what little here aw need,
An live i' hopes at last to say,
When breeath gooas flickerin away,
'Aw'm gooin hooam.''
Aw gave his hand a hearty shake,
It seem'd as tho' the words he spake
Sank i' mi heart:
Aw walk'd away a wiser man,
Detarmined aw wod try his plan
I' hopes at last 'at aw might be
As weel assured ov Heaven as he;
That's th' better part.
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