A Simple and Pathetic Tale

Communicated by Mrs Flaxman

In the most admired modern taste

As I walk’d out the other evening late
My mind in thoughtful serious state,
Brooding o’er inward joys,
I saw upon a five-barr’d gate
Three little boys.
Yes — I am sure that there were three
For each of them did bow to me.
Said I, “My little boys ’tis late,
What keeps you here upon this gate?
Have you no things wherewith to play?
Nor top, nor whip, nor bat, nor ball
To make you busy, active, gay?”
“No Sir,” said they, “we’ve none at all.”
“Nor anything,” said I, “to eat?”
“No Sir,” said they, “we’ve nothing yet,
For Mommy to the shop is gone,
Till she comes back we can have none.”
All further questions I forbore;
Then walked away, and Mused the more;
 But Ah! my thoughts had lost their joys,
 Because of these three little boys,
 That had nor meat, nor drink, nor toys.

Fitz Wordsworth