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Belated Conscience

 To buy for school a copy-book
 I asked my Dad for two-pence;
He gave it with a gentle look,
 Although he had but few pence.
'Twas then I proved myself a crook And came a moral cropper, I bought a penny copy-book And blued the other copper.
I spent it on a sausage roll Gulped down with guilt suggestion, To the damnation of my soul And awful indigestion.
Poor Dad! His job was hard to hold; His mouths to feed were many; Were he alive a millionfold I'd pay him for his penny.
Now nigh the grave I think with grief, Though other sins are many, I am a liar and a thief 'Cause once I stole a penny: Yet be he pious as a friar It is my firm believing, That every man has been a liar And most of us done thieving.

by Robert William Service
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