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Cobbler and Stork
by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

COBBLER

Stork, I am justly wroth,
   For thou hast wronged me sore;
The ash roof-tree that shelters thee
   Shall shelter thee no more!

STORK

Full fifty years I 've dwelt
   Upon this honest tree,
And long ago (as people know!)
   I brought thy father thee.
What hail hath chilled thy heart,
   That thou shouldst bid me go?
Speak out, I pray---then I 'll away,
   Since thou commandest so.

COBBLER

Thou tellest of the time
   When, wheeling from the west,
This hut thou sought'st and one thou brought'st
   Unto a mother's breast.
I was the wretched child
   Was fetched that dismal morn---
'T were better die than be (as I)
   To life of misery born!
And hadst thou borne me on
   Still farther up the town,
A king I 'd be of high degree,
   And wear a golden crown!
For yonder lives the prince
   Was brought that selfsame day:
How happy he, while---look at me!
   I toil my life away!
And see my little boy---
   To what estate he 's born!
Why, when I die no hoard leave I
   But poverty and scorn.
And thou hast done it all---
   I might have been a king
And ruled in state, but for thy hate,
   Thou base, perfidious thing!

STORK

Since, cobbler, thou dost speak
   Of one thou lovest well,
Hear of that king what grievous thing
   This very morn befell.
Whilst round thy homely bench
   Thy well-belovèd played,
In yonder hall beneath a pall
   A little one was laid;
Thy well-belovèd's face
   Was rosy with delight,
But 'neath that pall in yonder hall
   The little face is white;
Whilst by a merry voice
   Thy soul is filled with cheer,
Another weeps for one that sleeps
   All mute and cold anear;
One father hath his hope,
   And one is childless now:
He wears a crown and rules a town---
   Only a cobbler thou!
Wouldst thou exchange thy lot
   At price of such a woe?
I'll nest no more above thy door,
   But, as thou bidst me, go.

COBBLER

Nay, stork! thou shalt remain---
   I mean not what I said;
Good neighbors we must always be.
   So make thy home o'erhead.
I would not change my bench
   For any monarch's throne,
Nor sacrifice at any price
   My darling and my own!
Stork! on my roof-tree bide,
   That, seeing thee anear,
I 'll thankful be God sent by thee
   Me and my darling here!

 

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