East-End Curate, An

A small blind street off East Commercial Road;
Window, door; window, door;
Every house like the one before,
Is where the curate, Mr Dowle, has found a pinched abode.
Spectacled, pale, moustache straw-coloured, and with a long thin face,
Day or dark his lodgings' narrow doorstep does he pace.

A bleached pianoforte, with its drawn silk plaitings faded,
Stands in his room, its keys much yellowed, cyphering, and abraded,
" Novello's Anthems" lie at hand, and also a few glees,
And " Laws of Heaven for Earth" in a frame upon the wall one sees.

He goes through his neighbours' houses as his own, and none regards,
And opens their back-doors off-hand, to look for them in their yards:
A man is threatening his wife on the other side of the wall,
But the curate lets it pass as knowing the history of it all.

Freely within his hearing the children skip and laugh and say:
" There's Mister Dow-well! There's Mister Dow-well!" in their play;
And the long, pallid, devoted face notes not,
But stoops along abstractedly, for good, or in vain, Got wot!
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