The History of John Jones (Poem by Edwin John Dove Pratt)

Beautiful Poem


The History of John Jones
By Edwin John Dove Pratt


The sun never shone,
The rain could not fall
On a steadier man than John.
A holy man was John,
And honest withal.
His mates had never heard
Drop from his guarded lip
An idle word,
But twice — first, while on board his ship,
When he had lost his pipe, he swore,
Just a mild damn, and nothing more;
And once he cursed
The government; but then he reckoned
The Lord forgave him for the first,
And justified the second.

And he was temperate in all his ways,
Was John;
He never drank, but when Thanksgiving days
Came on;
Never in summer on a fishing trip
Would he allow the smell on board his ship;
Only in winter or in autumn,
When a cramp or something caught him,
Would he take it, for he prized it,
Not for its depraved abuses,
But for its discreeter uses,
As his Church had authorized it.

The sun had never shone
On a kinder man than John,
Nor upon
A better Christian than was John.
He was good to his dog, he was good to his cat,
And his love went out to his horse;
He loved the Lord and his Church, of course,
For righteous was he in thought and act;
And his neighbors knew, in addition to that,
He loved his wife, as a matter of fact.

Now, one fine day it occurred to John,
That his last great cramp was on;
For nothing that the doctor wrote
Could stop that rattle in his throat.
He had broken his back upon the oar,
He had dried his last boat-load of cod,
And nothing was left for John any more,
But to drift in his boat to the port of God.

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