A poem by John Kendall

After W. W.

An adventure of the Author's, and one designed to show that grievances may be met with in the cottages of the humblest, and may take the most unexpected forms.

When in my white-washed walls confined
Till eve her freedom brings,
I often turn a musing mind
To think awhile of things,

And thus about the noontide glow
To-day my thoughts recalled
Old Adam, whom I once did know,
A dear old thing, though bald.

A village Gravedigger was he
With Newgate fringe of grey,
The only man that one could see
At work on Saturday!

For on those evenings (which provide
A due release to toil)
He shovelled wearily, and plied
His task upon the soil.

Therein a sorrow Adam had,
And when he knew me well
He told this tale, and made me sad,
Which now to you I tell.

For once my feet did chance to stray
Across the old churchyard,
And Adam sighed, and paused to say
'It's werry, werry hard.'

I marvelled much to hear him sigh,
And when he paused again,
'Come, come, you quaint old thing,' said I,
'Why thus this tone of pain?'

In silence Adam rose, and gained
A seat amid the stones,
And thus the veteran complained,
The dear old bag of bones.

'Down by the wall the Village goes,
How horrid sounds their glee,
On Saturdays they early close,
They have their Sundays free;

'And here, on this depressing spot,
I cannot choose but moan
That I, a labouring man, have not
An hour to call my own.

'The Blacksmith in his Sunday things,
The Clerk that leaves his till,
Can give their thoughts of labour wings,
And frolic as they will.

'To me they - drat 'em! - never give
A thought; they wander by,
An irritation while they live,
A nuisance when they die.

'If there be one that needs lament
The way these folks behave,
'Tis he whose holidays are spent
In digging someone's grave,

'For when a person takes and dies,
On Monday though it be,
They never hold his obsequies
Till Sunday after three.

'And thus it fares through their delay,
That I may not begin
To dig the grave till Saturday, -
On Sunday fill it in.

'My Sabbath ease is broken through,
My Saturdays destroyed;
Many employ me; very few
Have left me unemployed!'

Again did Adam murmur 'Drat!'
And smote the old-churchyard,
And said, as on his hands he spat,
'It's werry, werry hard!'

And as I rose, the path to take
That led me home again,
My head was in my wideawake,
His words were in my brain.

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