THE STORY OF DEACON BROWN.
Have you heard the story of Deacon Brown-
How be came near losing his saintly crown
By uttering language so profane?
But it wasn't his fault, us I maintain;
Listen, Maria, and you will see
How it might have happened to you or me.
A worthy man was Deacon Brown
As ever lived in Clovertown;
Bland of manner and soft of speech,
With a smile for all and a word for each.
"There's odds in deacons," as I've heard tell;
But one who has known him for quite a spell
Has often told me that Brown stood well,
Not only in church, but among his neighbors.
Esteemed and loved for his life and tabors.
Not a man in the town at Brown would frown,
There wasn't a stain on his fair renown;
His soul was white, though his name was Brown.
One morning the deacon started down
To purchase some goods at the store In town-
Sugar and salt and a calico gown,
And a pair of shoes for the youngest Brown,
And other things which he noted down-
A good provider was Deacon Brown.
His guileless heart was light as a feather,
As he rode along in the sweet May weather,
Till he came at length to the garden gate
Of the Widow Simpson, and there did wait
For a moment's chut with the pious dame
Who, years agone, was the deacon's flame.
The Widow Simpson was meek and mild.
With a heart as pure as an innocent child.
She dwelt in a cottage, small And neat,
A little way back from the village street;
And now, in sun-bonnet, with trowel in hand.
She was tickling the soil of her garden land.
The widow looked up And said, "Do tell!
Is that you, deacon? I hope you're well."
And the deacon replied to the gentle dame:
"Quite well, I thank you; I hope you're the same."
Then they talked of the crops and the late spring storms,
Of the sparrow grass And the currant worms;
And she asked the deacon what she should do,
For the varmints that riddled her bushes through.
The deacon, scratching his head, said, "Well,
If I were you I would give them hel-
He bore too hard on the fence as he spoke,
When suddenly, swiftly, down it broke;
And prostrate there at the widow's feet
Lay the fence, and the deacon pale as a sheet!
The deacon's pride was sadly humbled;
His teeth dropped out and he wildly mumbled,
As blindly there in the dirt he fumbled;
And the widow's faith as suddenly crumbled.
When she found how her good friend Brown had stumbled.
And her beautiful fence to the ground had tumbled;
While it seemed to her that an earthquake rumbled;
'In fact, as you see, things were generally jumbled.
The widow turned pale, and well she might.
As she looked at the ruin with womanly fright;
But the pious soul was shocked still more.
As she thought 'twas an oath the deacon swore.
The deacon, too, in his grief intense.
Was afraid be had given the widow offense.
He looked around in a vague surprise.
While he tried to dam the tears that would rise
(Of pain And shame) in his dust-filled eyes.
But when he recovered his teeth and sense
He borrowed a hammer and fixed the fence,
And endeavored with meekness to explain
His late remark, which was cut in twain
By the fall of the fence And his sad refrain;
No man could say he ever swore!
He was only speaking of hellebore,
A drug she could buy at what's-his-name's store.
To kill the bugs which her bushes bore.
I cannot tell all that the deacon said.
But he started for home with an aching head,
And a heavy hear that could not rest;
For a guilty feeling was in his breast.
Which be couldn't get out. though he tried his best.
And the widow, she was ill at ease,
In spite of the deacon's apologies.
She left the garden, went up the stair,
Threw herself into her locking-chair,
And rocked and rocked till the soothing balm
Of the breeze and the sunshine made her calm.
Then she searched the Scriptures to find a text
That would somewhat case her mind perplext;
For her righteous soul was sorely vext.
And she wondered, "Whatever will happen next?"
And she thinks to this day, as I've heard her say.
Brown shouldn't have spoken in just that way.
But as for myself, I question whether.
If he'd just put his syllables nearer together,
There had been the least trouble or scandal-but then
Such mistakes will occur with the wisest of men.
In viewing such things with our moral eyes,
There's a tendency always to moralize;
And this is the moral I offer for all:
When you think you are standing take heed lest you fall!