The Sorrowful Fate of Bartholomew Jones

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Bartholemew Jones made his money in mines,And although he has left us his fame still shinesAs a man who was knowing in various lines.

It wasn't his line to write or to spell,To teach or to preach, to dig or to fell,But to handle his shares, and to keep out of hell.

He knelt every day at the foot of the Throne(To use his own words), yet he wore (it was known)His garments of grace o'er a heart made of stone.

And when Death would no longer concede a respite,He hied straight away to the regions of light,As a man of whom no one could question the right.

He wandered for long o'er the pavements of gold,Saw wonders and glories around him unfold,But somehow all seemed to him dismal and cold.

He tired of the sun's everlasting rays,Grew sick of the harps and the hymns and the praise,And drooped in the glare of the glittering ways.

"If this be the heaven I laboured to win,I'd better have taken full measure of sin,"He moaned to the angel who first let him in.

Said the angel, while looking to bolt and to bar,"I fear, sir, you're somewhat mistaken so far,But this is the hell where the hypocrites are."

© William Gay