'Ave a 'eart!

''Ere! 'Ave a 'eart!' 'e sez. 'Why, love a duck!
 A 'uman bein' ain't a choppin' block!
There ain't no call fer you to go an' chuck
 A man about when 'e 'as took the knock.
Gaw! Do yeh want to bust 'im all apart!
 'Ere! 'Ave a 'eart!

'Aw, 'ave a 'eart!' 'e weeps. 'A fight's a fight;
But, strike me bandy, this is bloody war!
It's murder! An' you got no blasted right
To arst a 'uman man to come fer more.
'E 'ad no chance with you right frum the start.
Aw, 'ave a 'eart!

'Yeh've pulped 'is dile,' 'e whines; 'yeh've pinched 'is gun;
 Yeh've bunged 'is eye 'an bashed in 'arf 'is teeth.
'Struth! Ain't yeh satisfied with wot yeh've done?
Or are you out to fit 'im fer a wreath?
The man's 'arf dead a'ready! Wot's yer dart?
 Say, 'ave a 'eart!'

I never did 'ear sich a bloke to squeal
About a trifle. This 'ere pal uv Spike's
Don't seem to 'ave the stummick fer a deal
Uv solid stoush: rough work don't soot 'is likes.
'E ain't done much but blather frum the start,
''Ere 'ave a 'eart!'

A rat-face coot 'e is, with rat-like nerves
That's got all jangled with ixceedin' fright,
While I am 'andin' Spike wot 'e deserves.
But twice 'e tried to trip me in the fight,
The little skunk, now sobbin' like a tart,
 'Aw, 'ave a 'eart!'

This 'ere's the pretty pitcher in Ah Foo's
Back privit room: Spite Wegg, well on the floor,
Is bleedin' pretty, with a bonzer bruise
Paintin' one eye, an' 'arf 'is clobber tore.
While me, the conq'rin' 'ero, stan's above
'Owlin' me love.

The rat-face mutt is dancin' up an' down;
Ah Foo is singin' jazz in raw Chinee;
The parson's starin' at me with a frown,
As if 'e thort sich things could never be;
An' I'm some bloke 'e's but 'arf rekernised
'E's 'ipnertised.

Foo's furniture is scattered any'ow,
Artisic like, in bits about the floor.
An' 'arf a dozen blokes, drawn by the row,
Nosey but nervis, 'overs near the door.
I ain't no pitcher orf no chocklit box.
  I've took some knocks.

I ain't no pitcher. But - 0 Glory! - But
Ther's dicky-birds awarblin' in me soul!
To think that I ain't lost that upper-cut!
An' my left-'ook's still with me, good an' whole.
I feared me punch was dead; but I was wrong.
Me 'eart's all song!

Then, as Spike makes a move, I raised me mits
Fearin' a foul; an' Rat-face does 'is block.
'E loosens up a string uv epi-tits
That seem to jolt the parson with a shock.
Filthy an' free they was, make no mistakes.
Then Snowy wakes.

All through the fight 'e 'ad seemed kind uv dazed,
Ubsorbin' it like some saint in a dream.
But now 'e straightened up, 'is ole eyes blazed
An', as the filth flowed in a red-'ot stream,
'Is voice blew in like cool winds frum the south:
 'Shut that foul mouth!'

'Shut your vile mouth, or, by the Lord! - ''Is 'and
Went up, an' there was anger on 'is face.
But Rat-face ducked. 'E weren't the man to stand
Agin that figger uv avengin' grace.
Ducked, or 'e might uv stopped one 'oly smite
Frum Snowy's right.

'Young friend,' 'E turns to me. An' then I 'ear
A yell: 'The cops! The cops is in the Lane!
'Parson,' I sez, 'we are de tropp, I fear.
Mid 'appier scenes I'll vencher to ixplain.
'Ang to me 'and, an' wave no fond farewell;
But run like 'ell!'

Some say wrong livin' reaps no good reward.
Well, I dunno. If I 'ad not cut loose
In Spadgers, in them days long, long deplored,
'Ow could I knowed the run uv Foo's caboose?
That back-way entrance, used fer Chiner's friends'
 Un'oly ends.

Out by a green door; down a flight uv stairs;
Along a passige; up another flight;
Through 'arf a dozen rooms, broadcastin' scares
To twenty yellow men, pea-green with fright;
Me an' the parson, through that 'eathen land,
Trips 'and in 'and.

Out uv dark corners, voices 'ere an' there
Break sudden with a jabberin' sing-song,
Like magpies flutin' on the mornin' air.
We pays no 'eed to them, but plug along,
Twistin' an' turnin' through them secret ways,
 Like in a maze.

I bust a bolted door. The parson gasps:
The air inside is 'eavy with the drug.
A fat Chow goggles at the broken hasps;
Another dreams un'eedin' on a rug.
Out by the other door-past piles uv fruit
'Ow we did scoot!

Red lanterns - lacquer-work - brass pots - strange smells
Silk curtains - slippers - baskets - ginger jars
A squealin' Chinee fiddle-tinklin' bells
Queer works uv art - filth - fowls - ducks - iron bars
To winders - All pass by us in a stream,
 Like 'twuz a dream.

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"'Ave a 'eart!" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 5 Jul 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6205/'ave-a-'eart!>.

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