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Category: Funny Narrative Poems
       Classic humorous and funny story poems. Narrative poems are written accounts of connected events in poetry format.

  THE PILGRIMS AND THE PEAS  

A brace of sinners, for no good,
    Were order'd to the Virgin Mary's shrine,
Who at Loretto dwelt, in wax, stone, wood,
    And in a fair white wig look'd wondrous fine.

Fifty long miles had those sad rogues to travel,
With something in their shoes much worse than gravel;
In short, their toes so gentle to amuse,
The priest had order'd peas into their shoes:

A nostrum, famous in old popish times,
For purifying souls that stunk with crimes;
    A sort of apostolic salt,
    Which popish parsons for its powers exalt,
For keeping souls of sinners sweet,
Just as our kitchen salt keeps meat.

The knaves set off on the same day,
Peas in their shoes, to go and pray:
    But very different was their speed, I wot:
One of the sinners gallop'd on,
Swift as a bullet from a gun;
    The other limp'd, as if he had been shot.

One saw the Virgin soon--peccavi cried--
    Had his soul whitewash'd all so clever;
Then home again he nimbly hied,
    Made fit with saints above to live forever.

In coming back, however, let me say,
He met his brother rogue about half-way,
Hobbling, with outstretch'd arms and bended knees,
Damning the souls and bodies of the peas;
His eyes in tears, his cheeks and brow in sweat,
Deep sympathizing with his groaning feet.

"How now," the light-toed, white-wash'd pilgrim broke,
    "You lazy lubber!"
"Odds curse it!" cried the other, "'tis no joke;
My feet, once hard as any rock,
    Are now as soft as blubber.

"Excuse me, Virgin Mary, that I swear:
As for Loretto, I shall not go there;
No! to the Devil my sinful soul must go,
For damme if I ha'n't lost every toe.
But, brother sinner, pray explain
How 'tis that you are not in pain?
    What power hath work'd a wonder for your toes?
Whilst I, just like a snail, am crawling,
Now swearing, now on saints devoutly bawling,
    Whilst not a rascal comes to ease my woes?

"How is't that you can like a greyhound go,
    Merry as if that naught had happen'd, burn ye!"
"Why," cried the other, grinning, "you must know,
That, just before I ventured on my journey,
    To walk a little more at ease,
    I took the liberty to boil my peas."

                                                    John Wolcot.


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