The Penny Ye Mean to Gie by Unknown Author

There’s a funny tale ‘of a stingy man,
Who was none too good but might have been worse,
Who went to his church, on a Sunday night
And carried along his well-filled purse.

When the sexton came with the begging plate,
The church was but dim with the candle’s light;
The stingy man fumbled all thro’ his purse,
And chose a coin by touch and not by sight.

It’s an odd thing now that guineas should be
So like unto pennies in shape and size.
“I’ll gie a penny,” the stingy man said:
“The poor must not gifts of pennies despise.”

The penny fell down with a clatter and ring!
And back in his seat leaned the stingy man.
“The world is full of the poor,” he thought,
“I can’t help them all—I give what I can.”

Ha! ha! how the sexton smiled, to be sure,
To see the gold guinea fall in the plate;
Ha! ha! how the stingy man’s heart was wrung,
Perceiving his blunder—but just too late!

“No matter,” he said; “in the Lord’s account
That guinea of gold is set down to me—
They lend to him who give to the poor;
It will not so bad an investment be.”

“Na, na, mon,” the chuckling sexton cried out,
“The Lord is na cheated—he kens thee well;
He knew it was only by accident
That out o’ thy fingers the guinea fell!

“He keeps an account, na doubt, for the puir;
But in that account He’ll set down to thee
Na mair o’ that golden guinea, my mon,
Than the one bare penny ye mean to gie!”

There’s comfort, too, in the little tale—
A serious side as well as a joke—
A comfort for all the generous poor
In the comical words the sexton spoke;

A comfort to think that the good Lord knows
How generous we really desire to be,
And will give us credit in his account,
For all the pennies we long “to gie.”