I met upon a narrow way, Dead weary from his toil, A fellow warped and gnarled and grey, Who reeked of sweat and soil. His rags were readyful to rot, His eyes were dreary dim; Yet . . . yet I had the humble thought To raise my hat to him.
For thinks I: It's the likes of him That makes the likes of me; With horny hand and lagging limb He slaves to keep me free; That I may have a golden time, And praise the Lord on high, Life grinds into the bloody grime A better man than I.
Yet if in sheer humility I yield this yokel place, Will he not think it mockery And spit into my face, Saying: "How can you care a damn, As now my way you bar, When it's because of what I am, You, Sir, are what you are?"
But no, he did not speak like that, Nor homage did I pay; I did not lift my bowler hat To greet his common clay; Instead, he made me feel an ass, As most respectfully He stepped aside to let me pass, And raised his cap to ME.