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Menella Bute Smedley (Менелла Бьют Смедли)

Little Pat and the Parson

He stands at the door of the church peeping in,
No troublesome beadle is near him;
The preacher is talking of sinners and sin,
And little Pat trembles to hear him;
A poor little fellow alone and forlorn,
Who never knew parent or duty,—

His head is uncover'd, his jacket is torn,
And hunger has wither'd his beauty.

The white-headed gentleman shut in the box
Seems growing more angry each minute,—
He doubles his fist, and the cushion he knocks,
As if anxious to know what is in it.
He scolds at the people who sit in the pews,—
Pat takes them for kings and princesses.
(With his little bare feet—he delights in their shoes:
In his rags—he feels proud of their dresses!)

The Parson exhorts them to think of their need,
To turn from the world's dissipation,
The naked to clothe and the hungry to feed,—
Pat listens with strong approbation!
And when the old clergyman walks down the aisle,
Pat runs up to meet him right gladly,
“Shure, give me my dinner,” says he with a smile,
“And a jacket,—I want them quite badly!”

The kings and princesses indignantly stare,
The beadle gets word of the danger,

And, shaking his silver-tipp'd stick in the air,
Looks knives at the poor little stranger.
But Pat's not afraid, he is sparkling with joy,
And cries—who so willing to cry it?—
31:“You'll give me my dinner—I'm such a poor boy:
You said so—now don't you deny it!”

The pompous old beadle may grumble and glare,
And growl about robbers and arson;
But the boy who has faith in the sermon stands there,
And smiles at the white-headed Parson!

The kings and princesses may wonder and frown,
And whisper he wants better teaching;
But the white-headed Parson looks tenderly down
On the boy who has faith in his preaching.

He takes him away without question or blame,
As eager as Patsy to press on,
For he thinks a good dinner (and Pat thinks the same)
Is the moral that lies in the lesson.
And after long years, when Pat, handsomely drest—

A smart footman—is asked to determine
Of all earthly things what's the thing he likes best,
He says, “Och! shure, the master's ould sermin!”

Menella Bute Smedley's other poems:
  1. What Hearest Thou?
  2. To a Little Girl
  3. One and Another
  4. Grizzel Hume
  5. A Contrast

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