Those Two boys

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When Bill was a lad he was terribly bad.  
 He worried his parents a lot;  
He'd lie and he'd swear and pull little girls' hair;  
 His boyhood was naught but a blot.  

At play and in school he would fracture each rule—  
 In mischief from autumn to spring;  
And the villagers knew when to manhood he grew  
 He would never amount to a thing.  

When Jim was a child he was not very wild;  
 He was known as a good little boy;  
He was honest and bright and the teacher's delight—  
 To his mother and father a joy.  

All the neighbors were sure that his virtue'd endure,  
 That his life would be free of a spot;  
They were certain that Jim had a great head on him  
 And that Jim would amount to a lot.  

And Jim grew to manhood and honor and fame  
 And bears a good name;  
While Bill is shut up in a dark prison cell—  
 You never can tell.

© Franklin Pierce Adams