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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

Old Mother Laidinwool

Enlarged from "Old Song"

Old Mother Laidinwool had nigh twelve months been dead.
She heard the hops was doing well, an' so popped up her head
For  said  she:  "The  lads  I've picked  with  when  I  was young and fair,
They're bound to be  at hopping and  I'm bound to meet 'em  there! "

                Let me up and go 
                Back to the work I know, Lord!
                Back to the work I know, Lord!
                For it is dark where I lie down, My Lord!
                An' it's dark where I lie down!

Old Mother Laidinwool, she give her bones a shake,
An' trotted down the churchyard-path as fast as she could make.
She met the Parson walking, but she says to him, says she: --
"Oh, don't let no one trouble for a poor old ghost like me!"

'Twas all a warm September an' the hops had flourished grand.
She saw the folks get into 'em with stockin's on their hands--
An' none of 'em was foreigners but all which she had known,
And old Mother Laidinwool she blessed 'em every one.

She saw her daughters picking an' their children them-beside,
An' she mowed among the babies an' she stilled 'em when they cried.
She saw their clothes was bought, not begged, an' they was clean an' fat,
An' old Mother Laidinwool she thanked the Lord for that.

Old Mother Laidinwool she waited on all day
Until it come too dark to see an' people went away--
Until it was too dark to see an' lights began to show,
An' old Mother Laidinwool she hadn't where to go. 

Old Mother Laidinwool she give her bones a shake
An 'trotted back to churchyard-mould as fast as she could make.
She  went  where  she  was  bidden  to  an'  there  laid  down  her ghost,  .  .  .
An' the Lord have mercy on you in the Day you need it most!

             Let me in again, 
             Out of the wet an' rain, Lord!
             Out of the wet an' rain, Lord! 
             For it's best as You shall say, My Lord! 
             An' it's best as You shall say! 

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