The Iron Ball

An iron ball
stood on a wall
at Hartstop Hall
and persons all
both short and tall
came to the wall
to see the ball,
which through it all
o’ertopped the wall
and did not fall.

A lad named Saul
from Hartstop Hall
(a fathom tall
as I recall),
who had the gall
to scale the wall,
did heave and haul
upon the ball,
which, ’spite of all,
clave to the wall,
a stubborn ball
that would not fall.

So with a call
he summoned Paul
from out the Hall
(a child so small
he could but crawl)
and headstrong Saul
transported Paul,
wrapped in a shawl,
and did install
him on the wall,
whereat young Paul
began to crawl
along the wall
towards the ball.

Just then a squall
disturbed poor Paul.
(This will appal
you one and all.)
He chanced to fall
from off the wall.
I saw him sprawl
in death’s cold thrall,
and haughty Saul
began to bawl.
He wrapped the small
corpse in the shawl
and carried Paul
to Hartstop Hall,
leaving the ball
upon the wall.

When darkness fell,
a maid called Nell
began to yell
and ring a bell.
The ball, it fell
and rolled pell-mell
towards a well,
wherein it fell.
There still it lies,
a worthless prize.
And that is all
about the ball.

John Barclay


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