Patient Joe by Hannah More

 

PATIENT JOE
OR, THE NEWCASTLE COLLIER
By Hannah More


Have you heard of a collier of honest renown,
Who dwelt on the borders of Newcastle town?
His name it was Joseph—you better may know
If I tell you he always was called Patient Joe.


Whatever betided, he thought it was right,
And Providence still he kept ever in sight;
To those who love God, let things turn as they would,
He was certain that all worked together for good.


He praised his Creator whatever befell;
How thankful was Joseph when matters went well!
How sincere were his carols of praise for good health,
And how grateful for any increase in his wealth!


In trouble he bowed him to God’s holy will;
How contented was Joseph when matters went ill!
When rich and when poor, he alike understood,
That all things together were working for good.


If the land was afflicted with war, he declared,
’Twas a needful correction for sins which he shared:
And when merciful Heaven bade slaughter to cease,
How thankful was Joe for the blessing of peace!


When taxes ran high, and provisions were dear,
Still Joseph declared he had nothing to fear;
It was but a trial he well understood,
From Him who made all work together for good.


Though his wife was but sickly, his gettings but small,
Yet a mind so submissive prepared him for all;
He lived on his gains, were they greater or less,
And the Giver he ceased not each moment to bless.


When another child came, he received him with joy,
And Providence blessed, who had sent him the boy;
But when the child died, said poor Joe, “I’m content,
For God had a right to recall what he lent.”


It was Joseph’s ill fortune to work in a pit
With some who believed that profaneness was wit:
When disasters befell him, much pleasure they showed,
And laughed, and said, “Joseph, will this work for good?”


But ever when these would profanely advance,
That this happened by luck, and that happened by chance.
Still Joseph insisted no chance could be found;
Not a sparrow by accident falls to the ground.


Among his companions who worked in the pit,
And made him the butt of their profligate wit,
Was idle Tim Jenkins, who drank and who gamed,
Who mocked at his Bible, and was not ashamed.


One day at the pit his old comrades he found,
And they chatted, preparing to go under ground;
Tim Jenkins, as usual, was turning to jest
Joe’s notion—that all things which happened were best.


As Joe on the ground had unthinkingly laid
His provision for dinner, of bacon and bread,
A dog, on the watch, seized the bread and the meat,
And off with his prey ran with footsteps so fleet.


Now to see the delight that Tim Jenkins expressed!
“Is the loss of thy dinner too, Joe, for the best?”
“No doubt on’t,” said Joe; “but as I must eat,
’Tis my duty to try to recover my meat.”


So saying, he followed the dog a long round,
While Tim, laughing and swearing, went down under ground.
Poor Joe soon returned, though his bacon was lost,
For the dog a good dinner had made at his cost.


When Joseph came back, he expected a sneer,
But the face of each collier spoke horror and fear;
“What a narrow escape hast thou had!” they all said;
“The pit is fallen in, and Tim Jenkins is dead!”


How sincere was the gratitude Joseph expressed!
How warm the compassion which glowed in his breast!
Thus events great and small, if aright understood,
Will be found to be working together for good.


“When my meat,” Joseph cried, “was just now stolen away,
And I had no prospect of eating today,
How could it appear to a short-sighted sinner,
That my life would be saved by the loss of my dinner!”