AS at their work two weavers sat,
Beguiling time with friendly chat,
They touched upon the price of meat,
So high, a weaver scarce could eat.
"What with my brats and sickly wife,"
Quoth Dick, "I'm almost tired of life;
So hard my work, so poor my fare,
'Tis more than mortal man can bear.
"How glorious is the rich man's state
His house so fine, his wealth so great!
Heaven is unjust, you must agree;
Why all to him? Why none to me?
"In spite of what the Scripture teaches
In spite of all the parson preaches,
This world (indeed I've thought so long)
Is ruled methinks extremely wrong.
"Where'er I look, howe'er I range,
'Tis all confused and hard and strange;
The good are troubled and oppressed,
And all the wicked are the blest."
Quoth John, "Our ignorance is the cause
Why thus we blame our Maker's laws;
Parts of his ways alone we know;
'Tis all that man can see below.
"See'st thou that carpet, not half done,
Which thou, dear Dick, hast well begun?
Behold the wild confusion there,
So rude the mass it makes one stare!
"A stranger, ignorant of the trade,
Would say, no meaning's there conveyed;
For where's the middle? where's the border?
Thy carpet now is all disorder."
Quoth Dick, "My work is yet in bits,
But still in every part it fits;
Besides, you reason like a lout—
Why, man, that carpet's inside out."
Says John, "Thou say'st the thing I mean,
And now I hope to cure thy spleen;
This world, which clouds thy soul with doubt
Is but a carpet inside out.
"As when we view these shreds and ends,
We know not what the whole intends;
So, when on earth things look but odd,
They're working still some scheme of God.
"No plan, no pattern, can we trace;
All wants proportion, truth, and grace
The motley mixture we deride,
Nor see the beauteous upper side.
"But when we reach that world of light,
And view those works of God aright,
Then shall we see the whole design,
And own the workman is divine.
"What now seem random strokes, will there
All order and design appear;
Then shall we praise what here we spurned,
For then the carpet shall be turned."
"Thou'rt right," quoth Dick; "no more I'll grumble
That this sad world's so strange a jumble;
My impious doubts are put to flight,
For my own carpet sets me right."