Ann Taylor (30 January 1782 - 20 December 1866 / Colchester, England)
Poor Martha is old, and her hair is turn'd grey,
And her hearing has left her for many a year;
Ten to one if she knows what it is that you say,
Though she puts her poor wither'd hand close to her ear.
I've seen naughty children run after her fast,
And cry, "Martha, run, there's a bullock so bold;"
And when she was frighten'd, laugh at her at last,
Because she believed the sad stories they told.
I've seen others put their mouths close to her ear,
And make signs as if they had something to say;
And when she said, "Master, I'm deaf and can't hear,"
Point at her and mock her, and scamper away.
Ah! wicked the children poor Martha to tease,
As if she had not enough else to endure;
They rather should try her affliction to ease,
And soothe a disorder that nothing can cure.
One day, when those children themselves are grown old,
And one may be deaf, and another be lame,
Perhaps they may find that some children, as bold,
May tease them, and mock them, and serve them the same.
Then, when they reflect on the days of their youth,
A faithful account will their consciences keep,
And teach them, with shame and with sorrow, the truth,
That "what a man soweth, the same shall he reap."
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