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Broadside ballad entitled 'St Peter at the Gate'



St. Peter stood guard at the golden gate,
With a solemn mien and an air sedate,
When up to the top of the golden stair
A man and a woman ascending there
Applied for admission.    They came and stood
Before St. Peter, so great and good,
In hope the City of Peace to win,
And asked St. Peter to let them in.

The woman was tall, and lank, and thin,
With a scraggy beardlet about her chin ;
The man was short, and thick, and stout,
His stomach was built so it rounded out,
His face was pleasant, and all the while
He wore a kind and genial smile.
The choirs in the distance the echoes woke,
And the man kept still while the woman spoke.

" Oh, thou who guards the gate," said she,
'' We two come hither beseeching thee
To let us enter the heavenly land
And play our harps with the angel band.
Of me, St. Peter, there is no doubt,
There's nothing in heaven to bar me out,
I've been to meetings three times a week,
And almost always I'd rise and speak.

" I've told the sinners about the day
When they'd repent of their evil way ;
I've told my neighbours?I've told them all
'Bout Adam and Eve and the primal fall;
I've shown them what they'd have to do
If they'd pass in with the chosen few ;
I've marked their path of duty clear?
Laid out the plan for their whole career.

" I've talked and talked to 'em loud and long,
For my lungs are good and my voice is strong ;
So, good St. Peter, you'll clearly see
That the gate of heaven is open for me ;
But my old man, I regret to say,
Hasn't walked in exactly the narrow way,
He smokes and he swears, and grave faults he's
So I don't know whether he'll pass or not.

" He never would pray with an earnest vim,
Or go to revival, or join in a hymn ;
So I had to leave him in sorrow there
While I with the chosen united in prayer.
He ate what the pantry chose to afford,
While I in my purity sang to the Lord ;
And if cucumbers were all he got,
It's a chance if he merited them or not.

" But, oh, St. Peter, I love him so,
To the pleasure of heaven please let him go !
I've done enough, a saint I've been,
Won't that atone ?   Can't you let him in ?
By my grim gospel I know 'tis so
That the unrepentants must fry below ;
But ain't there some way that you can see
That he may enter who's dear to me P
It's a narrow gospel by which I pray;
But the chosen expect to find some way
Of coaxing, or fooling, or bribing you,
So that their relations may amble through.

"And say, St. Peter, it seems to me,
This gate isn't kept as it ought to be.
You ought to stand right by the opening there,
And never sit down in an easy chair.
And say, St. Peter, my sight is dimmed.
But I don't like the   way your   whiskers are
They're cut too wide, and outward toss ;
They'd look better narrow, cut straight across,
Well, we must be going our crowns to win,
So open, St. Peter, and we'll pass in."

St. Peter sat quiet and stroked his staff,
But in spite of his office he had to laugh,
Then said with a fiery gleam in his eye :
" Who's tending this gateway?you or I ?"
And then he rose in his stature tall,
And pressed a button upon the wall,
And said to an imp who came up aglow,
" Escort this woman to the regions below."

The man stood still as a piece of stone?
Stood sadly, gloomily, there alone.
A life-long settled idea he had,
That his wife was good and he was bad,
He thought if the woman went down below
That he would certainly have to go ;
That if she went down to regions dim,
There wasn't the ghost of a show for him.
Slowly he turned, by habit bent,
To follow wherever the woman went.
St. Peter, standing on duty there,
Observed that the top of his head was bare.
He called the gentleman back and said :
" Friend, how long have you been wed ?"
'Thirty years" (with a weary sigh),
And then he thoughtfully added, " Why?"

St. Peter was silent, with head bent down,
He raised his hand scratched his crown,
Then, seeming a different thought to take,
.      Slowly, half to himself, he spake :
'' Thirty years with that woman there ?
No wonder the man hasn't any hair !
Swearing is wicked ; smoke's not good ;
He smoked and he swore?well, I should think
he would.

" Thirty years with that tongue so sharp !
Oh ! Angel Gabriel! Give him a harp !
A jewelled harp with a golden string I
Good sir, pass in where the angels sing !
Gabriel, give him a seat alone?
One with a cushion?up near the throne !
Call up some angels to play their best,
And let him enjoy the music and rest.
See that on the finest ambrosia he feeds,
He's had about all the hell he needs.
It isn't just hardly the thing to do??
To roast him on earth and the future too !"

They gave him a harp with golden strings.
And he said as he entered the Realm of Day :
" Well, this beats cucumbers anyway."
And so the Scriptures had come to pass,
"The last shall be first, and the first shall be last."

Price, 1d.    To be had from DAVID BAXTER, 32 Brunswick Street, Glasgow,

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Probable period of publication: 1880-1900   shelfmark: RB.m.143(161)
Broadside ballad entitled 'St Peter at the Gate'
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