"The Boys and the Apple-Tree." by Adelaide O'Keeffe (1776-1855)
"O brother, look yonder! what clusters hang there!
I'll try and climb over the wall:
I must have an apple; I will have a pear;
Although it should cost me a fall!"
Said William to Thomas, "To steal is a sin,
Mamma has oft told this to thee:
I never have stolen, nor will I begin,
So the apples may hang on the tree. "
"You are a good boy, as you ever have been,"
Said Thomas, "let's walk on, my lad:
We'll call on our schoolfellow, Benjamin Green,
Who to see us I know will be glad.
They came to the house, and ask'd at the gate,
And he smiled, and he laugh'd, and caper'd with joy,
His little companions to greet:
"And we too are happy, " said each little boy,
"Our playfellow dear thus to meet. "
"Come, walk in our garden, this morning so fine,
We may, for my father gives leave;
And more, he invites you to stay here and dine:
And a most happy day we shall have!"
But when in the garden, they found 'twas the same
They saw as they walk'd in the road;
And near the high wall when those little boys came,
They started as if from a toad:
"That large ring of iron, you see on the ground,
With terrible teeth like a saw,"
Said their friend, "the guard of our garden is found,
And it keeps all intruders in awe.
"If any the warning without set at naught,
Their legs then this man-trap must tear:"
Said William to Thomas, "So you'd have been caught,
If you had leapt over just there. "
Cried Thomas in terror of what now he saw,
"With my faults I will heartily grapple;
For I learn what may happen by breaking a law,
Although but in stealing an apple. "