You are here:   Text > A Ballad of Bo-oz and Ruth

"Naomi entreating Ruth and Orpah to return to the land of Moab" (1795) by William Blake 

Bo-oz was ancient, but a good man

and wealthy: kine far as eye can see;

goats galore; a decent chunk of arable

lowland made up the polity.

He meted justice in a trembly voice;

remembered birthdays and children's names;

advanced overdue rental (once only)

but paid for festivals, for the wine and games.

His wives were modest and he married less 

than custom or his temperament allowed.

Children and grandchildren thronged each tent,

punished only when they got too proud

to mingle with servants or lend a hand 

with threshing and bread-making. He'd collect

tithes with a smile and a present. You treated God,

his children and his creation with respect.

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