[Illustration: Profession & Practice. This full page poem has the saint at the door of a thin man with empty purse, then at the door with the man well fed and full purse, and finally the saint alone scratching his head.]
Once, when Saint Swithin chanced to be
A-wandering in Hungary,
He, being hungered, cast around
To see if something might be found
To stay his stomach.
Near by stood
A little house, beside a wood,
Where dwelt a worthy man, but poor.
Thither he went, knocked at the door.
The good man came. Saint Swithin said,
“I prithee give a crust of bread
To ease my hunger.”
The good man, “I am sadly loath
To say” (here tears stood on his cheeks)
“I’ve had no bread for weeks and weeks,
Save what I’ve begged. Had I one bit,
I’d gladly give thee half of it.”
“How,” said the Saint, “can one so good
Go lacking of his daily food,
Go lacking means to aid the poor,
Yet weep to turn them from his door?
Here—take this purse. Mark what I say:
Thou’lt find within it every day
Two golden coins.”
passed. Once more
Saint Swithin knocked upon the door.
The good man came. He’d grown fat
And lusty, like a well-fed cat.
Thereat the Saint was pleased. Quoth he,
“Give me a crust for charity.”
“A crust, thou say’st? Hut, tut! How now?
Wouldst come a-begging here? I trow,
Thou lazy rascal, thou couldst find
Enough of work hadst thou a mind!
’Tis thine own fault if thou art poor.
Begone, sir!” Bang!—he shut the door.
Saint Swithin slowly scratched his head.
“Well, I am—humph!—just so,” he said.
“How very different the fact is
’Twixt the profession and the practice!”
[Illustration: A Tale of a Tub. This full page illustrated poem shows the man in the tub on the sea, dreaming of the roasted pig.]
You may bring to mind I’ve sung you a song,
Of a man of Haarlem town.
I’ll sing of another,—’t will not take long—,
Of equally great renown.
“I’ve read,” said he, “there’s
a land afar,
O’er the boundless rolling sea,
Where fat little pigs ready roasted are:
Now, that is the land for me.
Where tarts may be plucked from the wild tart tree,
And puddings like pumpkins grow,
Where candies, like pebbles, lie by the sea,—
Now, thither I’ll straightway go.”
Now, what do you think I’ve heard it said
Was his boat, his oar, his sail?
A tub, a spoon, and a handkerchief red,
For to breast both calm and gale.