End o' th' Year (Prose)

A poem by John Hartley

It's a long loin 'at's niver a turn, an' th' longest loin ends somewhear. Ther's a end to mooast things, an' this is th' end o' the year. When a chap gets turned o' forty, years dooant seem as long as once they did - he begins to be feeared o' time rolling on - but it's fooilish, for it nawther gooas faster nor slower nor iver it did. But he's a happy chap 'at, when th' year ends, can luk back an' think ha mich gooid he's done, for it isn't what a chap will do for th' futer, its what he has done i'th' past 'at fowk mun judge by. Its net wise for onybody to booast o' what they mean to do in a month's time, becoss we cannot tell what a month's time may do for us. We can hardly help havin' a gloomy thowt or two at this part o'th' year, but Kursmiss comes to cheer us up a bit, an' he's nooan ov a gooid sooart 'at can't be jolly once i'th' year. As an owd friend o' mine has cliverly said: -

Come let us choose the better part,
And sing whilst life is given;
A cheerful and contented heart
Gives no offence to Heaven.

'Tis Christmas time, then fill the horn,
Away with melancholy,
If there's no leaves upon the thorn,
There is upon the holly.

Hi! varry true! When ther's no leaves upon th' thorn, they're green upon the holly. Ther's allus summat to be thankful for if we seek it aat - ther's sure to be a bit o' sunshine somewhere - an' its a varry bad case if a chap can't find consolation aat o' summat.

Aw remember a case ov a woman deein' 'at aw knew, an' aw met th' husband lukkin' varry glum a bit at after. "Well Joa," aw said, "tha's had a heavy loss, lad." "Eea, aw have," an' then after studdyin' a bit, he said, "but aw should ha had to ha bowt a new suit afoor long, an' aw mud as weel buy black as any other color; it wod ha been awkerd if aw'd just getten a white hat, as aw thowt on - but Providence! orders all things for th' best."

Ther's noa daat a gooid lot on us find consolation aat o'th' Kursmiss jollification - its just a bit ov a sweetener afoor all th' nooats begin o' commin' in; aw dooant mean five paand nooats, ther's nooan monny o' them stirrin'. It's th' coil nooats, an' gas nooats, an' tax papers, them's th' sooart at's stirrin abaat this time. Wheniver ther's a knock at th' door, yo may ventur to put yor hand i' yor pocket; an' happy he must feel 'at can allus find as mich thear as'll do. But its time enuff to think abaat that sooart o' thing when it comes; we've plenty to do nah to think abaat plum pudding an' rooast beef - an' aw hooap at iverybody 'at reads this may have enuff an' to spare. If aw could do owt to help yo to enjoy yorsen, awm sure aw wod, but as that's aat o' mi paar, just afoor aw leave for another twelve months aw'll gie yo a tooast, an' aw hooap yo'll all drink a bumper to it. Here gooas! Fill up to th' brim! Are yo ready? Here's off!

God bless ivery one raand yor table
Wi' plenty to ait an' to spare;
God bless yo an' mak yo all able
To enjoy what may fall to yor share.
God bless yo wi health an' wi riches,
God bless yo wi hearts 'at can feel
For the poor, when cold poverty twitches.
God bless them sometimes wi' a meal.
God bless them 'at's climbin' life's mountain,
Full ov hooaps 'at they niver may craan,
An' refresh from Thy cool soothin' fountain,
Those who paddle resignedly daan.
An' tho' in death's mist-shrouded valley
Our friends we may lose for a while,
God grant that at last all may rally
Where sunleet shall fade in His smile.


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