A Chant

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A Chant
written by William Henry Davies
From "True Travellers", 1923 Link to further information

With all our mirth, I doubt if we shall be
Like Martha here, in her serenity,
When we're her age; who goes from bed to bed
To wash the faces of the newly dead;
To close their staring eyes and comb their hair,
To cross their hands and change the linen there;
Who helps the midwives to give strength and breath
To babes, by almost beating them to death
With a wet towel; and half drowns them too,
Until their tender flesh is black and blue.
Not all the revels, Martha, we have been to
Can give us, when we're old, a peace like yours -
Due to the corpses you have gone and seen to.

SemiPD-icon.png This work is in the public domain in countries where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.