John Hartley (1839-1917 / England)
Th' Lesser Evil
Young Harry wor a single chap,
An wod have lots o' tin,
An monny a lass had set her cap,
This temptin prize to win.
But Harry didn't want a wife,
He'd rayther far be free;
An soa escape all care an strife
'At wedded couples see.
But when at last his uncle deed,
An left him all his brass,
'Twor on condition he should wed,
Some honest Yorksher lass.
Soa all his dreamin day an neet
Abaat what sprees he'd have;
He had to bury aght o'th' seet,
Deep in his uncle's grave.
To tak a wife at once, he thowt
Wor th' wisest thing to do,
Soa he lukt raand until he browt
His choice daan between two.
One wor a big, fine, strappin lass,
Her name wor Sarah Ann,
Her height an weight, few could surpass,
Shoo'r fit for onny man.
An t'other wor a little sprite,
Wi' lots o' bonny ways,
An little funny antics, like
A kitten when it plays.
An which to tak he could'nt tell,
He rayther liked 'em booath;
But if he could ha pleased hissen,
To wed one he'd be looath.
A wife he thowt an evil thing,
An sewer to prove a pest;
Soa after sometime studyin
He thowt th' least wod be th' best.
They sooin wor wed, an then he faand
He'd quite enuff to do,
For A'a! shoo wor a twazzy haand,
An tongue enuff for two.
An if he went aght neet or day,
His wife shoo went as weel;
He gat noa chonce to goa astray;--
Shoo kept him true as steel.
His face grew white, his heead grew bald,
His clooas hung on his rig,
He grew like one 'at's getten stall'd,
Ov this world's whirligig.
One day, he muttered to hissen,
'If aw've pickt th' lesser evil,
Th' poor chap 'at tackles Sarah Ann,
Will wish he'd wed the D---l.'
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