Tom Grit.

A poem by John Hartley

He'd a breet ruddy face an a laffin e'e,
An his shoolders wer brooad as brooad need be;
For each one he met he'd a sally o' wit,
For a jovjal soul wor this same Tom Grit.
He climb'd up to his waggon's heigh seeat wi' pride,
For he'd bowt a new horse 'at he'd nivver tried;
But he had noa fear, for he knew he could drive
As weel, if net better, nor th' best man alive.
Soa he sed, as he gethered his reins in his hand,
An prepared to start off on a journey he'd planned;
But some 'at stood by shook ther heeads an lukt grave,
For they'd daats ha that mettlesum horse might behave.
It set off wi' a jerk when Tom touched it wi' th' whip,
But his arms they wor strong, an like iron his grip,
An he sooin browt it daan to a nice steady gait,
But it tax'd all his skill to mak it run straight.
Two miles o' gooid rooad to the next taan led on,
An ov things like to scare it he knew ther wor none;
Soa he slackened his reins just to give it a spin, -
Then he faand 'at he couldn't for th' world hold it in.
It had th' bit in its teeth an its een fairly blazed,
An it plunged an reared madly, - an then as if crazed
It dashed along th' rooad like a fury let lawse,
Woll Tom tried his utmost to steady his course.
Wi' the reins raand his hands, an feet planted tight
He strained ivvery muscle, - but saw wi' affright
'At the street o' the taan 'at he'd entered wor fill'd,
Wi' fowk fleein wildly for fear they'd be kill'd,
"Let it goa! Let it goa!" they cried aght as it pass'd,
An Tom felt his strength givin way varry fast;
His hands wor nah helpless its mad rush to check,
But he duckt daan his heead an lapt th' reins raand his neck.
That jerk caused the horse to loise hold o' the bit,
An new hooap an new strength seem'd to come to Tom Grit,
An tho' blooid throo his ears an his nooas 'gan to spurt,
Th' horse wor browt to a stand, an ther'd nubdy been hurt.
Then chaps went to hold it, an help poor Tom daan,
For Tom's wor a favorite face i' that taan;
"Tha should ha let goa," they all sed, "an jumpt aght,
Thy life's worth a thaasand sich horses baght daat!"
But Tom wiped his face an he sed as he smiled,
"I'th' back o' that waggon yo'll find ther's a child,
An aw couldn't goa back to its mother alooan,
For he's all th' lad we have. Have yo nooan o' yer own?"

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