Little Willy



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LITTLE WILLY, Once, upon a summer’s day, Little Willy ran away, With some naughty boys to play. His mother bade him not do so ; But little naughty boys, you know, Are sometimes bad enough to go, And do the things that are forbid, And mind it not when they are chid : This little naughty Willy did. He heeded not his mother’s voice, But went to play with wicked boys, Who ran about and made a noise.

6 Willy knew that this was wrong, But yet his inclination strong Bore him with the rest along. He gaily join’d the little crew, Became the worst among them too, Andplan’d the mischief they should do. He said he knew a farmer there, Who had some peaches fine and fair," And of them he would have a share. The rest lov’d fruit as well as he; And so the little rogues agree To steal the peaches from the tree. Then off they all together went, Upon this wicked project bent; And I will tell you the event.

8 The former he had gone away To distant fields, to work that day, And with him went his faithful Tray. So o’er the garden fence they stepp’d, Where nought appear’d to intercept, And towards the peach-tree slily crept. Among them Willy was the first; He led the way ; no other durst: And therefore Willy was the worst. He fill’d his pockets with the fruit, And had some in his hat to boot. O wicked boy ! ho v could he do’t ? God saidof old,“Thoushalt not steal;” And they that do must always feel A guilt they can’t from him conceal.

9 These little thieves were all afraid, And some back to the highway made, Repenting ere the game was played. The wiser part by far were they, Who, thus repenting, went away, And told the others not to stay. Four only ventured to the spot, And of the farmer’s peaches got As many as they could, I wot. Then thought it time to make retreat, Lest in their exit they should meet Some bitter for their stolen sweet. F<>r mischief waits on mischief still; And ill acts ever tend to ill : Vice must be punish’d, and it will.

11 My little reader now shall hear, Howrogueslike these,amid their cheer Have men as well as God to fear. Just as they leave the rifled tree, Who spies them at a distance ? He Whom least of all they wish’d tosee! The farmer from his work returns, And in his garden he discerns A sight at which his anger burns. He calls aloud for faithful Tray, And bids him hunt the thieves away: The dog was swifter far than they. A bitter chastisement was near ; They saw the dog close in the rear, But saw not all they had to fear.

12 They scrambled o’er the fence and run. But there they met the farmer’s son, Who caught andflogsr’d them every one. Such was the pain their pleasure cost; Their booty'- in their flight was lost, And all their expectation cross’d. Now homeward all these urchins go, By sad experience-taught to know, That sinful pleasure leads to wo. And he who, with this base intent. Against his mother’s counsel went, Had time, had reason, to repent. Correction lurks in many a spot, Where heedless boys expect it not : Twas so in wicked Willy’s lot.

14 What time he from the garden fled, He press’d a bee beneath his tread, And felt the insect’s vengeance sped. That farmer boy, with haze] stick, Had also stung him to the quick, And paid him well for all the trick. Touch’d with remorse, and flush'd with shame, Dejected, sore, and tired, and lame, Poor Willy felt himself to blame. He knew his wild and mad career, Had oftened griev’d his parents dear, And well deserv’d rebuke severe. Amidst his trouble, pain, and wo, How could he to those parents go, Whom he had just offended so 7

15 Distress’d in body and in mind, What comfort could he hope to find, But from his friends and parents kind? He saw the folly of his way, And now resolv’d no more to stray, No more with wicked boys to play. With tears of sorrow in his eyes, Poor Willy to his parents hies, And tells them all his fault, and cries. Their deep displeasure too. he sees, And seeks forgiveness on his knees : Forgiven’ he was more at ease. They had compassion on their son, And spake of that Eternal One Who knew of all that he had done.

16 Tho’ Willy had before been taught, That God’s forgiveness should be sought, He ne’er did seek it as he ought. But now, prepar’d by what he felt, His little heart at once did melt : He found the place where mercy dwelt. For all his sins and faults he wept ; They were to deep oblivion swept, And all his promises were kept. Schoolmaster.