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Cape Cod Ballads, and Other Verse by Joseph C. Lincoln

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[Illustration: "He's a hero born and bred,
but it hasn't swelled his head."]

Cape Cod Ballads

and Other Verse

By

Joseph C. Lincoln

_With Drawings by Edward W. Kemble_

1902

To My Wife

This book is affectionately dedicated

Preface

A friend has objected to the title of this book
on the ground that, as many of the characters
and scenes described are to be found in almost
any coast village of the United States, the title might,
with equal fitness, be "New Jersey Ballads," or "Long
Island Ballads," or something similar.

The answer to this is, simply, that while "School-committee
Men" and "Village Oracles" are, doubtless,
pretty much alike throughout Yankeedom, the
particular specimens here dealt with were individuals
whom the author knew in his boyhood "down on the
Cape." So, "Cape Cod Ballads" it is.

The verses in this collection originally appeared in
_Harper's Weekly, The Youth's Companion, The Saturday
Evening Post, Puck, Types, The League of American
Wheelmen Bulletin_, and the publications of the American
Press Association. Thanks are due to the editors
of these periodicals for their courteous permission
to reprint.

J.C.L.

CONTENTS

PREFACE

LIST OF DRAWINGS

THE COD-FISHER

THE SONG OF THE SEA

THE WIND'S SONG

THE LIFE-SAVER

"THE EVENIN' HYMN"

THE MEADOW ROAD

THE BULLFROG SERENADE

SUNDAY AFTERNOONS

THE OLD DAGUERREOTYPES

THE BEST SPARE ROOM

THE OLD CARRYALL

OUR FIRST FIRE-CRACKERS

WHEN NATHAN LED THE CHOIR

HEZEKIAH'S ART

THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL PICNIC

"AUNT 'MANDY"

THE STORY-BOOK BOY

THE SCHOOL-COMMITTEE MAN

WASTED ENERGY

WHEN THE MINISTER COMES TO TEA

"YAP"

THE MINISTER'S WIFE

THE VILLAGE ORACLE

THE TIN PEDDLER

"SARY EMMA'S PHOTYGRAPHS"

WHEN PAPA's SICK

THE BALLAD OF MCCARTY'S TROMBONE

SUSAN VAN DOOZEN

SISTER SIMMONS

"THE FIFT' WARD J'INT DEBATE"

HIS NEW BROTHER

CIRCLE DAY

SERMON TIME

"TAKIN' BOARDERS"

A COLLEGE TRAINING

A CRUSHED HERO

A THANKSGIVING DREAM

O'REILLY'S BILLY-GOAT

THE CUCKOO CLOCK

THE POPULAR SONG

MATILDY'S BEAU

"SISTER'S BEST FELLER"

"THE WIDDER CLARK"

FRIDAY EVENING MEETINGS

THE PARSON'S DAUGHTER

MY OLD GRAY NAG

THROUGH THE FOG

THE BALLADE OF THE DREAM-SHIP

LIFE'S PATHS

THE MAYFLOWER

MAY MEMORIES

BIRDS'-NESTING TIME

THE OLD SWORD ON THE WALL

NINETY-EIGHT IN THE SHADE

SUMMER NIGHTS AT GRANDPA'S

GRANDFATHER'S "SUMMER SWEETS"

MIDSUMMER

"SEPTEMBER MORNIN'S"

NOVEMBER'S COME

THE WINTER NIGHTS AT HOME

"THE LITTLE FELLER'S STOCKIN'"

THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER

THE CROAKER

THE OLD-FASHIONED GARDEN

THE LIGHT-KEEPER

THE LITTLE OLD HOUSE BY THE SHORE

WHEN THE TIDE GOES OUT

THE WATCHERS

"THE REG'LAR ARMY MAN"

FIREMAN O'RAFFERTY

LITTLE BARE FEET

A RAINY DAY

THE HAND-ORGAN BALL

"JIM"

IN MOTHER'S ROOM

SUNSET-LAND

THE SURF ALONG THE SHORE

AT EVENTIDE

INDEX OF FIRST LINES

LIST OF DRAWINGS

THE LIFE-SAVER,
"He's a hero born and bred, but it hasn't
swelled his head."

THE BULLFROG SERENADE,
"With the big green-coated leader's double-bass."

THE OLD DAGUERREOTYPES,
"Grandpa's collar a show."

OUR FIRST FIRE-CRACKERS,
"Do yer 'member how yer fired 'em, slow and
careful, one by one?"

HEZEKIAH'S ART,
"I swan, he did look like a daisy!"

THE SCHOOL-COMMITTEE MAN,
"'And with--ahem--er--as I said before.'"

WHEN THE MINISTER COMES TO TEA,
"He sets and says it's lovely."

THE VILLAGE ORACLE,
"'Well now, I vum! I know, by gum!
I'm right because I _be_!'"

THE BALLAD OF MCCARTY'S TROMBONE,
"'By--Killarney's--lakes--and--fells,
Toot--tetoot toot--toot--toot--dells!'"

His NEW BROTHER,
"Why'd they buy a baby brother,
When they know I'd _good_ deal ruther
Have a dog?"

A COLLEGE TRAINING,
"'That was jolly, Guv'nor, now we'll practice every day.'"

A THANKSGIVING DREAM,
"He stood up on his drumsticks."

THE POPULAR SONG,
"The washwoman sings it all wrong."

MATILDY'S BEAU,
"I recollect I spent an hour a-tyin' my cravat."

MY OLD GRAY NAG,
"He ain't the sort that the big-bugs sport"

MAY MEMORIES,
"Oh, the lazy days of boyhood, when the
world was fair and new!"

NINETY-EIGHT IN THE SHADE,
"Collar kerflummoxed all over my neck."

NOVEMBER'S COME,
"Hey, you swelled-up turkey feller!"

THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER,
"The Grasshopper wore his summer clothes,
And stood there kicking his frozen toes."

THE LIGHT-KEEPER,
"It seems ter me that's all there is:
jest do your duty right."

"THE REG'LAR ARMY MAN,"
"They ain't no tears shed over him
When he goes off ter war."

A RAINY DAY,
"'Settin' 'round and dreamin'."

"JIM,"
"Seem to see her tucked in bed,
With the kitten's furry head
Peekin' out."

CAPE COD BALLADS

THE COD-FISHER

Where leap the long Atlantic swells
In foam-streaked stretch of hill and dale,
Where shrill the north-wind demon yells,
And flings the spindrift down the gale;
Where, beaten 'gainst the bending mast,
The frozen raindrop clings and cleaves,
With steadfast front for calm or blast
His battered schooner rocks and heaves.

_To same the gain, to some the loss,
To each the chance, the risk, the fight:
For men must die that men may live--
Lord, may we steer our course aright._.

The dripping deck beneath him reels,
The flooded scuppers spout the brine;
He heeds them not, he only feels
The tugging of a tightened line.

The grim white sea-fog o'er him throws
Its clammy curtain, damp and cold;
He minds it not--his work he knows,
'T is but to fill an empty hold.

Oft, driven through the night's blind wrack,
He feels the dread berg's ghastly breath,
Or hears draw nigh through walls of black
A throbbing engine chanting death;
But with a calm, unwrinkled brow
He fronts them, grim and undismayed,
For storm and ice and liner's bow--
These are but chances of the trade.

Yet well he knows--where'er it be,
On low Cape Cod or bluff Cape Ann--
With straining eyes that search the sea
A watching woman waits her man:
He knows it, and his love is deep,
But work is work, and bread is bread,
And though men drown and women weep
The hungry thousands must be fed.

_To some the gain, to some the loss_,
_To each his chance, the game with Fate_:
_For men must die that men may live_--
_Dear Lord, be kind to those who wait_.

* * * * *

THE SONG OF THE SEA

Oh, the song of the Sea--
The wonderful song of the Sea!
Like the far-off hum of a throbbing drum
It steals through the night to me:
And my fancy wanders free
To a little seaport town,
And a spot I knew, where the roses grew
By a cottage small and brown;
And a child strayed up and down
O'er hillock and beach and lea,
And crept at dark to his bed, to hark
To the wonderful song of the Sea.

Oh, the song of the Sea--
The mystical song of the Sea!
What strains of joy to a dreaming boy
That music was wont to be!
And the night-wind through the tree
Was a perfumed breath that told
Of the spicy gales that filled the sails
Where the tropic billows rolled
And the rovers hid their gold
By the lone palm on the key,--
But the whispering wave their secret gave
In the mystical song of the Sea.

Oh, the song of the Sea--
The beautiful song of the Sea!
The mighty note from the ocean's throat,
The laugh of the wind in glee!
And swift as the ripples flee
With the surges down the shore,
It bears me back, o'er life's long track,
To home and its love once more.
I stand at the open door,
Dear mother, again with thee,
And hear afar on the booming bar
The beautiful song of the Sea.

* * * * *

THE WIND'S SONG

Oh, the wild November wind,
How it blew!
How the dead leaves rasped and rustled,
Soared and sank and buzzed and bustled
As they flew;
While above the empty square,
Seeming skeletons in air,
Battered branches, brown and bare,
Gauntly grinned;
And the frightened dust-clouds, flying.
Heard the calling and the crying
Of the wind,--
The wild November wind.

Oh, the wild November wind,
How it screamed!
How it moaned and mocked and muttered
At the cottage window, shuttered,
Whence there streamed
Fitful flecks of firelight mild:
And within, a mother smiled,
Singing softly to her child
As there dinned
Round the gabled roof and rafter
Long and loud the shout and laughter
Of the wind,--
The wild November wind.

Oh, the wild November wind,
How it rang
Through the rigging of a vessel
Rocking where the great waves wrestle!
And it sang,
Light and low, that mother's song;
And the master, staunch and strong,
Heard the sweet strain drift along--
Softened, thinned,--
Heard the tightened cordage ringing
Till it seemed a loved voice singing
In the wind,--
The wild November wind.

* * * * *

THE LIFE-SAVER

(_Dedicated to the Men in the United States Life-saving Service_.)

When the Lord breathes his wrath above the bosom of the waters,
When the rollers are a-poundin' on the shore,
When the mariner's a-thinkin' of his wife and sons and daughters,
And the little home he'll, maybe, see no more;
When the bars are white and yeasty and the shoals are all a-frothin',
When the wild no'theaster's cuttin' like a knife;
Through the seethin' roar and screech he's patrollin' on the beach,--
The Gov'ment's hired man fer savin' life.

He's strugglin' with the gusts that strike and bruise him like a hammer,
He's fightin' sand that stings like swarmin' bees,
He's list'nin' through the whirlwind and the thunder and the clamor--
A-list'nin' fer the signal from the seas;
He's breakin' ribs and muscles launchin' life-boats in the surges,
He's drippin' wet and chilled in every bone,
He's bringin' men from death back ter flesh and blood and breath,
And he never stops ter think about his own;

He's a-pullin' at an oar that is freezin' to his fingers,
He's a-clingin' in the riggin' of a wreck,
He knows destruction's nearer every minute that he lingers,
But it do'n't appear ter worry him a speck:
He's draggin' draggled corpses from the clutches of the combers--
The kind of job a common chap would shirk--
But he takes 'em from the wave and he fits 'em fer the grave,
And he thinks it's all included in his work.

He is rigger, rower, swimmer, sailor, doctor, undertaker,
And he's good at every one of 'em the same:
And he risks his life fer others in the quicksand and the breaker,
And a thousand wives and mothers bless his name.
He's an angel dressed in oilskins, he's a saint in a "sou'wester",
He's as plucky as they make, or ever can;
He's a hero born and bred, but it hasn't swelled his head,
And he's jest the U.S. Gov'ment's hired man.

* * * * *

"THE EVENIN' HYMN"

When the hot summer daylight is dyin',
And the mist through the valley has rolled,
And the soft velvet clouds ter the west'ard
Are purple with trimmings of gold,--
Then, down in the medder-grass, dusky,
The crickets chirp out from each nook,
And the frogs with their voices so husky
Jine in from the marsh and the brook.

The chorus grows louder and deeper,
An owl sends a hoot from the hill,
The leaves on the elm-trees are rustling
A whippoorwill calls by the mill.
Where swamp honeysuckles are bloomin'
The breeze scatters sweets on the night,
Like incense the evenin' perfumin',
With fireflies fer candles alight.

And the noise of the frogs and the crickets
And the birds and the breeze are ter me
Lots better than high-toned supraners,
Although they don't get to "high C";
And the church, with its grand painted skylight,
Seems cramped and forbiddin' and grim
'Side of my old front porch in the twilight
When God's choir sings its "Evenin' Hymn."

* * * * *

THE MEADOW ROAD

Just a simple little picture of a sunny country road
Leading down beside the ocean's pebbly shore,
Where a pair of patient oxen slowly drag their heavy load,
And a barefoot urchin trudges on before:
Yet I'm dreaming o'er it, smiling, and my thoughts are far away
'Mid the glorious summer sunshine long ago,
And once more a happy, careless boy, in memory I stray
Down a little country road I used to know.

I hear the voice of "Father" as he drives the lumbering steers,
And the pigeons coo and flutter on the shed,
While all the simple, homelike sounds come whispering to my ears,
And the cloudless sky of June is overhead;
And again the yoke is creaking as the oxen swing and sway,
The old cart rattles loudly as it jars,
Then we pass beneath the elm trees where the robin's song is gay,
And go out beyond the garden through the bars;

Down the lane, behind the orchard where the wild rose blushes sweet,
Through the pasture, past the spring beside the brook
Where the clover blossoms press their dewy kisses on my feet
And the honeysuckle scents each shady nook;
By the meadow and the bushes, where the blackbirds build their nests,
Up the hill, beneath the shadow of the pine,
Till the breath of Ocean meets us, dancing o'er his sparkling crests,
And our faces feel the tingling of the brine.

And my heart leaps gayly upward, like the foam upon the sea,
As I watch the breakers tumbling with a roar,
And the ships that dot the azure seem to wave a hail to me,
And to beckon to a wondrous, far-off shore.

* * * * *

Just a simple little picture, yet its charm is o'er me still,
And again my boyish spirit seems to glow,
And once more a barefoot urchin am I wandering at will
Down that little country road I used to know.

* * * * *

[Illustration]

THE BULLFROG SERENADE

When the toil of day is over
And the dew is on the clover,
And the night-hawk whirls in circles overhead;
When the cow-bells melt and mingle
In a softened, silver jingle,
And the old hen calls the chickens in to bed;
When the marshy meadows glimmer
With a misty, purple shimmer,
And the twilight flush is changing into shade;
When the firefly lamps are burning
And the dusk to dark is turning,--
Then the bullfrogs chant their evening serenade:

"Deep-deep, deep-deep, deep-deep, deep-deep!
Better go '_round!_ Better go '_round!_ Better go '_round,_"

First the little chaps begin it,
Raise their high-pitched voices in it,
And the shrill soprano piping sets the pace;
Then the others join the singing
Till the echoes soon are ringing
With the big green-coated leader's double-bass.
All the lilies are a-quiver,
And the grasses by the river
Feel the mighty chorus shaking every blade,
While the dewy rushes glisten
As they bend their heads to listen
To the bullfrogs' summer evening serenade:

"Deep-deep, deep-deep, deep-deep, deep-deep!
Better go '_round!_ Better go '_round!_ Better go '_round!"_

And the melody they're tuning
Has the sweet and sleepy crooning
That the mother hums the baby at her breast,
Till the world forgets its sorrow
And the cares that haunt the morrow,
And is sinking, hushed and happy, to its rest
Sometimes bubbling o'er with gladness,
Sometimes soft and fall of sadness,
Through my dreaming rings the music they have played,
And my memory's dearest treasures
Have been fitted to the measures
Of the bullfrogs' summer evening serenade:

"Deep-deep, deep-deep, deep-deep, deep-deep!
Better go '_round!_ Better go '_round!_ Better go '_round!"_

* * * * *

SUNDAY AFTERNOONS

From the window of the chapel softly sounds an organ's note,
Through the wintry Sabbath gloaming drifting shreds of music float,
And the quiet and the firelight and the sweetly solemn tunes
Bear me, dreaming, back to boyhood and its Sunday afternoons:

When we gathered in the parlor, in the parlor stiff and grand,
Where the haircloth chairs and sofas stood arrayed, a gloomy band,
Where each queer oil portrait watched us with a countenance of wood,
And the shells upon the what-not in a dustless splendor stood.

Then the quaint old parlor organ with the quaver in its tongue,
Seemed to tremble in its fervor as the sacred songs were sung,
As we sang the homely anthems, sang the glad revival hymns
Of the glory of the story and the light no sorrow dims.

While the dusk grew ever deeper and the evening settled down,
And the lamp-lit windows twinkled in the drowsy little town,
Old and young we sang the chorus and the echoes told it o'er
In the dear familiar voices, hushed or scattered evermore.

From the window of the chapel faint and low the music dies,
And the picture in the firelight fades before my tear-dimmed eyes,
But my wistful fancy, listening, hears the night-wind hum the tunes
That we sang there in the parlor on those Sunday afternoons.

* * * * *

[Illustration]

THE OLD DAGUERREOTYPES

Up in the attic I found them, locked in the cedar chest,
Where the flowered gowns lie folded, which once were brave as the best;
And like the queer old jackets and the waistcoats gay with stripes,
They tell of a worn-out fashion--these old daguerreotypes.
Quaint little folding cases fastened with tiny hook,
Seemingly made to tempt one to lift up the latch and look;
Linings of purple velvet, odd little frames of gold,
Circling the faded faces brought from the days of old.

Grandpa and grandma, taken ever so long ago,
Grandma's bonnet a marvel, grandpa's collar a show,
Mother, a tiny toddler, with rings on her baby hands
Painted--lest none should notice--in glittering, gilded bands.

Aunts and uncles and cousins, a starchy and stiff array,
Lovers and brides, then blooming,--now so wrinkled and gray:
Out through the misty glasses they gaze at me, sitting here
Opening the quaint old cases with a smile that is half a tear.

I will smile no more, little pictures, for heartless it was, in truth,
To drag to the cruel daylight these ghosts of a vanished youth;
Go back to your cedar chamber, your gowns and your lavender,
And dream, 'mid their bygone graces, of the wonderful days that were.

* * * * *

THE BEST SPARE ROOM

I remember, when a youngster, all the happy hours I spent
When to visit Uncle Hiram in the country oft I went;
And the pleasant recollection still in memory has a charm
Of my boyish romps and rambles round the dear old-fashioned farm.
But at night all joyous fancies from my youthful bosom crept,
For I knew they'd surely put me where the "comp'ny" always slept,
And my spirit sank within me, as upon it fell the gloom
And the vast and lonely grandeur of the best spare room.

Ah, the weary waste of pillow where I laid my lonely head!
Sinking, like a shipwrecked sailor, in a patchwork sea of bed,
While the moonlight through the casement cast a grim and ghastly glare
O'er the stiff and stately presence of each dismal haircloth chair;
And it touched the mantel's splendor, where the wax fruit used to be,
And the alabaster image Uncle Josh brought home from sea;
While the breeze that shook the curtains spread a musty, faint perfume
And a subtle scent of camphor through the best spare room.

Round the walls were hung the pictures of the dear ones passed away,
"Uncle Si and A'nt Lurany," taken on their wedding day;
Cousin Ruth, who died at twenty, in the corner had a place
Near the wreath from Eben's coffin, dipped in wax and in a case;
Grandpa Wilkins, done in color by some artist of the town,
Ears askew and somewhat cross-eyed, but with fixed and awful frown,
Seeming somehow to be waiting to enjoy the dreadful doom
Of the frightened little sleeper in the best spare room.

Every rustle of the corn-husks in the mattress underneath
Was to me a ghostly whisper muttered through a phantom's teeth,
And the mice behind the wainscot, as they scampered round about,
Filled my soul with speechless horror when I'd put the candle out.
So I'm deeply sympathetic when some story I have read
Of a victim buried living by his friends who thought him dead;
And I think I know his feelings in the cold and silent tomb,
For I've slept at Uncle Hiram's in the best spare room.

* * * * *

THE OLD CARRYALL

It's alone in the dark of the old wagon-shed,
Where the spider-webs swing from the beams overhead,
And the sun, siftin' in through the dirt and the mold
Of the winder's dim pane, specks it over with gold.
Its curtains are tattered, its cushions are worn,
It's a kind of a ghost of a carriage, forlorn,
And the dust from the roof settles down like a pall
On the sorrowin' shape of the old carryall.

It was built long ago, when the world seemed ter be
A heaven, jest made up for Mary and me,
And my mind wanders back to that first happy ride
When she sat beside me,--my beauty and bride.
Ah, them were the days when the village was new
And folks took time to live, as God meant 'em ter do;
And there's many a huskin' and quiltin' and ball
That we drove to and back in the old carryall.

And here in the paint are the marks of the feet
Where a little form climbed ter the high-fashioned seat,
And soft baby fingers them curtains have swung,
And a curly head's nestled the cushions among;
And then come the gloom of that black, bitter day
When "Thy will be done" looked so wicked ter say
As we drove to the grave, while the rain seemed to fall
Like the tears of the sky on the old carryall.

And so it has served us through sunshine and cloud,
Through fun'rals and weddin's, from bride-wreath ter shroud;
It's old and it's rusty, it's shaky and lame,
But I love every j'int of its rickety frame.
And it's restin' at last, for its race has been run,
It's lived out its life and its work has been done,
And I hope, in my soul, at the last trumpet call
I'll have done mine as well as the old carryall.

* * * * *

OUR FIRST FIRE-CRACKERS

O you boys grown gray and bearded, you that used ter chum with me
In that lazy little village down beside the tumblin' sea,
When yer sniff the burnin' powder, when yer see the banners fly,
Don't yer thoughts, like mine, go driftin' back to Fourths long since
gone by?
And, amongst them days of gladness, ain't there one that stands alone,
When yer had yer first fire-crackers--jest one bunch, but all yer own?

Don't yer 'member how yer envied bigger chaps their fuss and noise,
'Cause yer Ma had said that crackers wasn't good fer _little_ boys?
Do yer 'member how yer teased her, morn and eve and noon and night,
And how all the world yelled "Glory!" when at last she said yer might?

Do yer 'member how yer bought 'em, weeks and weeks ahead of time,
After savin' all yer pennies till they footed up a dime?
Do yer 'member what they looked like? I can see 'em plain as plain,
With a dragon on the package, grinnin' through a fiery rain.

[Illustration]

Do yer 'member how yer fired 'em, slow and careful, one by one?
Do'n't it seem like each was louder than the grandest sort of gun?
Can't yer see the big, red flashes, if yer only shut yer eyes,
And jest smell the burnin' powder, sweeter'n breaths from paradise?

O you boys, gray-haired and bearded. O you youngsters grown ter men,
We can't buy them kind of crackers now, nor never shall again!
Fer the joys thet used ter glitter through the fizz and puff and crash,
Has, ter most of us, been deadened by the grindin' chink of cash;
But I'd like ter ask yer, fellers, how much of yer hoarded gold
Would yer give if it could buy yer one glad Fourth like them of old?
How much would yer spend ter gain it--that light-hearted, joyous glow
That come with yer fust fire-crackers, when yer bought 'em long ago?

* * * * *

WHEN NATHAN LED THE CHOIR

I s'pose I hain't progressive, but I swan, it seems ter me
Religion isn't nigh so good as what it used ter be!
I go ter meetin' every week and rent my reg'lar pew,
But hain't a mite uplifted when the sarvices are through;
I take my orthodoxy straight, like Gran'pop did his rum,
(It never hurt him, neither, and a deacon, too, by gum!)
But now the preachin' 's mushy and the singin' 's lost its fire:
I 'd like ter hear old Parson Day, with Nathan leadin' choir.

I'd like ter know who told these folks that all was perfect peace,
And glidin' inter heaven was as slick as meltin' grease;
Old Parson Day, I tell yer what, his sermons made yer _think_!
He'd shake yer over Tophet till yer heard the cinders clink.
And then, when he'd gin out the tune and Nate would take his stand
Afore the chosen singers, with the tuning-fork in hand,
The meetin'-house jest held its breath, from cellar plum ter spire,
And then bu'st forth in thunder-tones with Nathan leadin' choir.

They didn't chime so pretty, p'r'aps, as does our new quartette,
But all them folks was there ter sing, and done it, too, you bet!
The basses they 'd be rollin' on, with faces swelled and red,
And racin' the supraners, who was p'r'aps a bar ahead;
While Nate beat time with both his hands and worked like drivin' plow,
With drops o' sweat a-standin' out upon his face and brow;
And all the congregation felt that Heav'n was shorely nigher
Whene'er they heerd the chorus sung with Nathan leadin' choir.

Rube Swan was second tenor, and his pipes was kinder cracked,
But Rube made up in loudness what in tune he might have lacked;
But 'twas a leetle cur'us, though, for p'r'aps his voice would balk,
And when he'd fetch a high note give a most outrageous squawk;
And Uncle Elkanah was deef and kind er'd lose the run,
And keep on singin' loud and high when all the rest was done;
But, notwithstandin' all o' this, I think I'd never tire
Of list'nin' ter the good old tunes with Nathan leadin' choir.

We've got a brand-new organ now, and singers--only four--
But, land! we pay 'em cash enough ter fee a hundred more;
They sing newfangled tunes and things that some folks think are sweet,
But don't appeal ter me no more'n a fish-horn on the street.
I'd like once more ter go ter church and watch old Nathan wave
His tunin'-fork above the crowd and lead the glorious stave;
I'd like ter hear old Parson Day jest knock the sinners higher,
And then set back and hear a hymn with Nathan leadin' choir.

* * * * *

HEZEKIAH'S ART

My son Hezekiah's a painter; yes, that's the purfession he's at;
An artist, I mean,--course he ain't a whitewasher or nothin' like that.
At home he was always a-drawin' and shirkin' his work 'round the place,
And kept me continyerly jawin' or dressin' him down with a trace;
Till I says ter Mother, "Between us, this thing might's well be understood;
Our Hez is jest simply a gen'us, and a gen'us is _never_ no good;
He won't stop fer jawin's and dressin's; he'll daub and he'll draw
all the while;
So he might as well have a few lessons, and learn how ter do it in style."

So I sold a slice of the wood-lot ter the folks at the summer hotel,
That fetched me some cash--quite a good lot--so now he's been gone a
long spell;
He's got a room up ter the City, an' calls it a name that is queer--
I ain't up in French, more's the pity--but something that's like
"attyleer."
I went up last month on a visit, and blamed if that place wa'n't a sight!
The fourteenth or fifteenth--which is it?--well, anyhow, it's the top
flight;
I wouldn't have b'lieved he could be there, way up on that
breath-takin' floor,
If't wa'n't fer the sign that I see there--"H. Lafayette Boggs"--on
the door.

That room was a wonder fer certain! The floor was all paint-spots and dirt,
Each window was hung with a curtain, striped gay as a calico shirt;
The walls was jest like a museum, all statoos and flim-flam and gush
And picters--good land! when I see 'em I jest had ter turn 'round and
blush;
And Hez! he looked like a gorilla,--a leetle round hat on his head,
And hair that would stuff a big piller, and necktie blue, yeller, and red;
I swan, he did look like a daisy! I tell yer, it went ter my heart,
'Cause, course I supposed he was crazy, until he explained it was ART.

[Illustration: "I swan, he did look like a daisy!"]

This Art, it does stagger a feller that ain't got a connerseer's view,
Fer trees by its teachin' is yeller, and cows is a shade of sky-blue.
Hez says that ter paint 'em like natur' is common and tawdry and vile;
He says it's a plaguey sight greater to do 'em "impressionist style."
He done me my portrait, and, reely, my nose is a ultrymarine,
My whiskers is purple and steely, and both of my cheeks is light green.
When Mother first viewed it she fainted--she ain't up in Art, don't
yer see?
And she had a notion 'twas painted when Hez had been off on a spree.

We used ter think Hezzy would shame us by bein' no good anyhow,
But he says some day he'l be famous, so we're sort er proud of him, now.
He says that the name he's a-makin' shall ring in Fame's thunderin' tone;
He says that earth's dross he's forsaken, he's livin' fer Art's sake alone.
That's nice, but what seems ter me funny, and what I can't get through
my head
Is why he keeps writin' fer money and can't seem ter earn nary red.
I've been sort er thinkin' it over, and seems ter me, certain enough,
That livin' _for_ Art is just clover, but that livin' _on_ it is tough.

* * * * *

THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL PICNIC

Oh! the horns are all a-tootin' as we rattle through the town,
And we fellers are a-hootin' and a-jumpin' up and down,
And the girls are all a-gigglin' and a-tryin' ter be smart,
With their braided pig-tails wigglin' at the joltin' of the cart;
There's the teachers all a-beamin', rigged up in their Sunday clothes,
And the parson's specs a-gleamin' like two moons acrost his nose,
And the sup'rintendent lookin' mighty dignerfied and cool,
And a-bossin' of the picnic of the Baptist Sunday-school.

Everybody's got their basket brimmin' full of things ter eat,
And I've got one--if yer ask it--that is purty hard ter beat,--
'Cept that Sis put in some pound-cake that she made herself alone,
And I bet yer never found cake that was quite so much like stone.
There'll be quarts of sass'parilla; yes, and "lemmo" in a tub;
There'll be ice-cream--it's vernilla--and all kinds of fancy grub;
And they're sure ter spread the table on the ground beside the spring,
So's the ants and hoppergrasses can just waltz on everything.

Then the girls they'll be a-yippin', 'cause a bug is in the cream;
And a "daddy-long-legs" skippin' round the butter makes 'em scream;
And a fuzzy caterpillar--jest the littlest kind they make--
Sets 'em holl'rin', "Kill her! kill her!" like as if it was a snake.
Then, when dinner-time is over and we boys have et enough,
Why, the big girls they'll pick clover, or make wreaths of leaves and
stuff;
And the big chaps they'll set 'round 'em, lookin' soft as ever wuz,
Talkin' gush and actin' silly, same as that kind always does.

Then, we'll ride home when it's dark'nin' and the leaves are wet with dew,
And the lightnin'-bugs are sparklin' and the moon is shinin', too;
We'll sing "Jingle bells" and "Sailing," "Seein' Nelly home," and more;
And that one that's slow and wailin', "Home ag'in from somethin' shore."
Then a feller's awful sleepy and he kinder wants ter rest,
But the stuff he's et feels creepy and like bricks piled on his chest;
And, perhaps, he dreams his stummick has been stepped on by a mule;
But it ain't: it's jest the picnic of the Baptist Sunday school!

* * * * *

"AUNT 'MANDY"

Our Aunt 'Mandy thinks that boys
Never ought ter make a noise,
Or go swimming or play ball,
Or have any fun at all;
Thinks a boy had ought ter be
Dressed up all the time, and she
Hollers jest as if she's hurt
At the _littlest mite_ er dirt
On a feller's hands or face,
Or his clothes, or any place.

Then at dinner-time she's there,
Sayin', "Mustn't kick the chair!"
Or "Why _don't_ yer sit up straight?"
"'Tain't perlite to drum yer plate."
An' yer got ter eat as _slow_,
'Cause she's dingin' at yer so.
Then, when Chris'mus comes, she brings
Nothin', only _useful_ things:
Han'kershi'fs an' gloves an' ties,
Sunday stuff yer jest _despise_.

She's a ole maid, all alone,
'Thout no children of her own,
An' I s'pose that makes her fuss
'Round our house a-bossin' us.
If she 'd had a boy, I bet,
'Tween her bossin' and her fret
She'd a-killed him, jest about;
So God made her do without,
For he knew _no_ boy could stay
With Aunt 'Mandy _every_ day.

* * * * *

THE STORY-BOOK BOY

Oh, the story-book boy! he's a wonderful youth,
A prodigy reeking with goodness and truth;
As brave as a lion, as wise as a sage,
And sharp as a razor, though twelve years of age.
His mother is good and she's awfully poor,
But he says, "Do not fret, _I'll_ provide for you, sure!"
And the hard grasping landlord, who comes to annoy,
Is braved to his teeth by the story-book boy.

Oh, the story-book boy! when he sees that young churl.
The Squire's spoiled son, kick the poor crippled girl,
He darts to the rescue as quick as he can,
And dusts the hard road with the cruel young man;
And when he is sought by the vengeful old Squire,
He withers the latter with tongue-lashing ire;
For the town might combine his young nerve to destroy,
And never once shake him--the story-book boy.

[Illustration: "And with--ahem--era--I said before."]

Oh, the story-book boy! when the Judge's dear child
Is dragged through the streets by a runaway wild,
Of course he's on hand, and a "ten-strike" he makes,
For he stops the mad steed in a couple of "shakes";
And he tells the glad Judge, who has wept on his hat,
"I did but my duty!" or something like that;
And the very best place in the Judge's employ
Is picked out at once for the story-book boy.

Oh, the story-book boy! all his troubles are o'er,
For he gets to be Judge in a year or two more;
And the wicked old landlord in poverty dies,
And the Squire's son drinks, and in gutters he lies;
But the girl whom he saved is our hero's fair bride,
And his old mother comes to their home to abide;
In silks and sealskins, she cries, in her joy:
"Thank Heaven, I'm Ma of a story-book boy!"

* * * * *

THE SCHOOL-COMMITTEE MAN

Sometimes when we're in school, and it's the afternoon and late,
And kinder warm and sleepy, don't yer know;
And p'r'aps a feller's studyin' or writin' on his slate,
Or, maybe chewin' paper-balls to throw,
And teacher's sort er lazy, too--why, then there'll come a knock
And everybody'll brace up quick's they can;
We boys and girls'll set up straight, and teacher'll smooth her frock,
Because it's him--the school-committee man.

He'll walk in kinder stately-like and say, "How do, Miss Brown?"
And teacher, she'll talk sweet as choclate cake;
And he'll put on his specs and cough and pull his eyebrows down
And look at us so hard 't would make yer shake.
We'll read and spell, so's he can hear, and speak a piece or two,
While he sets there so dreadful grand and cool;
Then teacher'll rap her desk and say, "Attention!" soon's we're through,
And ask him, won't he please address the school.

He'll git up kinder calm and slow, and blow his nose real loud,
And put his hands behind beneath his coat,
Then kinder balance on his toes and look 'round sort er proud
And give a big "Ahem!" ter clear his throat;
And then he'll say: "Dear scholars, I am glad ter see yer here,
A-drinkin'--er--the crystal fount of lore;
Here with your books, and--er--and--er--your teacher kind and dear,
And with--ahem--er--as I said before."

We have ter listen awful hard ter every word of his
And watch him jest like kittens do a rat,
And laugh at every joke he makes, don't care how old it is,
'Cause he can _boss the teacher_,--think of that!
I useter say, when I growed up I 'd be a circus chap
And drive two lions hitched up like a span;
But, honest, more I think of it, I b'lieve the bestest snap
Is jest ter be a school-committee man.

* * * * *

WASTED ENERGY

South Pokus is religious,--that's the honest, livin' truth;
South Pokus folks are pious,--man and woman, maid and youth;
And they listen every Sunday, though it rains or snows or shines,
In their seven shabby churches, ter their seven poor divines,
Who dispense the balm and comfort that the thirstin' sperit needs,
By a-fittin' of the gospel ter their seven different creeds,
Each one sure his road ter Heaven is the only sartin way,--
Fer South Pokus is religious, as I started off ter say.

Now the Pokus population is nine hundred, more or less,
Which, in one big congregation, would be quite a church, I guess,
And do lots of good, I reckon; but yer see it couldn't be,--
Long's one's tweedledum was diff'rent from the other's tweedledee.
So the Baptists they are Baptists, though the church is swamped in debt,
And the Orthodox is rigid, though expenses can't be met,
And the twenty Presbyterians 'll be Calvinists or bust,--
Fer South Pokus is religious, as I said along at fust.

And the Methodist is buried, when his time comes 'round ter die,
In the little weedy graveyard where no other sect can lie,
And at Second Advent socials, every other Wednesday night,
No one's ever really welcome but a Second Adventite;
While the Unitarian brother, as he walks the village streets,
Seldom bows unless another Unitarian he meets;
And there's only Univers'lists in a Univers'list's store,--
Fer South Pokus is religious, as I think I said before.

I thought I'd read that Jesus come ter do the whole world good,--
Come ter bind the Jew and Gentile in a lovin' brotherhood;
But it seems that I'm mistaken, and I haven't read it right,
And the text of "_Love_ your neighbor" must be somewhere written "Fight";
But I want ter tell yer, church folks, and ter put it to yer strong,
While _you're fighting_ Old Nick's fellers _pull tergether_ right along:
So yer'd better stop your squabblin', be united if yer can,
Fer the Pokus way of doin' ain't no use ter God or man.

* * * * *

WHEN THE MINISTER COMES TO TEA

Oh! they've swept the parlor carpet, and they've dusted every chair,
And they've got the tidies hangin' jest exactly on the square;
And the what-not's fixed up lovely, and the mats have all been beat,
And the pantry's brimmin' over with the bully things ter eat;
Sis has got her Sunday dress on, and she's frizzin' up her bangs;
Ma's got on her best alpacky, and she's askin' how it hangs;
Pa has shaved as slick as can be, and I'm rigged way up in G,--
And it's all because we're goin' ter have the minister ter tea.

[Illustration]

Oh! the table's fixed up gaudy with the gilt-edged chiny set,
And we'll use the silver tea-pot and the comp'ny spoons, you bet;
And we're goin' ter have some fruit-cake and some thimbleberry jam,
And "riz biscuits," and some doughnuts, and some chicken, and some ham.
Ma, she'll 'polergize like fury and say everything is bad,
And "Sich awful luck with cookin'," she is sure she never had;
But, er course, she's only bluffin', for it's as prime as it can be,
And she's only talkin' that way 'cause the minister's ter tea.

Everybody'll be a-smilin' and as good as ever was,
Pa won't growl about the vittles, like he generally does,
And he'll ask me would I like another piece er pie; but, sho!
That, er course, is only manners, and I'm s'posed ter answer "No."
Sis'll talk about the church-work and about the Sunday-school,
Ma'll tell how she liked that sermon that was on the Golden Rule,
And if I upset my tumbler they won't say a word ter me:--
Yes, a boy can eat in comfort with the minister ter tea!

Say! a minister, you'd reckon, never 'd say what wasn't true;
But that isn't so with ours, and I jest can prove it, too;
'Cause when Sis plays on the organ so it makes yer want ter die,
Why, he sets and says it's lovely; and that, seems ter me, 's a lie:
But I like him all the samey, and I only wish he'd stay
At our house fer good and always, and eat with us every day;
Only think of havin' goodies _every_ evenin'! Jimmi_nee_!
And I'd _never_ git a scoldin' with the minister ter tea!

* * * * *

"YAP"

I've got a little yaller dog, a wuthless kind of chap,
Who jest ain't good fer nothin' but ter eat and sleep and "yap."
Fer all 'round general wuthlessness I never see his beat,
And yet he makes more fuss and noise than all the farm complete.
There ain't a mite of sense inside that yaller hide of his;
But, as _he_ ain't no good, he likes ter pester them that is.
The critters all despise him, but there ain't a one but feels
A little mite oneasy when he's "yappin'" round their heels.

Yer see, he loves ter sneak around behind 'em, out of sight,
And give a sudden snap and snarl as if he meant ter bite;
Of course they know he wouldn't hurt, and only means to scare,
But still, it worries 'em ter know the little scamp is there;
And if they do git nervous-like and try to hit him back
He swells up so with pride it seems as if his skin would crack;
And then he's wuss than ever, so they find it doesn't pay,
But let him keep on "yappin'" till he's tired and goes away.

There's lots of people built like him--yer see 'em everywhere--
Who, 'cause they ain't no use themselves, can't somehow seem ter bear
Ter see another feller rise, but in their petty spite
And natural meanness, snarl and snap and show they'd like ter bite.
They don't come out in front like men, and squarely speak their mind,
But like that wuthless yaller pup, they're hangin' 'round behind.
They're little and contemptible, but if yer make a slip
It must be bothersome ter know they'll take that chance ter nip.

But there! perhaps it isn't right ter mind 'em, after all;
Perhaps we ought ter thank the Lord _our_ souls ain't quite so small;
And they, with all their sneakin' ways, must be, I rather guess,
The thorns that prick your fingers 'round the roses of success:
Fer, when yer come ter think of it, they never bark until
A feller's really started and a good ways up the hill;
So, 'f I was climbin' up ter fame I wouldn't care a rap,
But I'd think I _was_ somebody when the curs begun ter "yap."

* * * * *

THE MINISTER'S WIFE

She's little and modest and purty,
As red as a rose and as sweet;
_Her_ children don't ever look dirty,
Her kitchen ain't no way but neat.
She's the kind of a woman ter cherish,
A help ter a feller through life,
Yet every old hen in the parish
Is down on the minister's wife.

'Twas Mrs. 'Lige Hawkins begun it;
She always has had the idee
That the church was built so's she could run it,
'Cause Hawkins is deacon, yer see;
She thought that the whole congregation
Kept step ter the tune of her fife,
But she found 't was a wrong calkerlation
Applied ter the minister's wife.

Then Mrs. Jedge Jenks got excited--
She thinks she's the whole upper crust;--
When she found the Smiths was invited
Ter meet'n', she quit in disgust.
"_You_ can have all the paupers yer choose to,"
Says she, jest as sharp as a knife;
"But if _they_ go ter church _I_ refuse to!"
"Good-by!" says the minister's wife.

And then Mrs. Jackson got stuffy
At her not comin' sooner ter call,
And old Miss Macgregor is huffy
'Cause she went up ter Jackson's at all.
Each one of the crowd hates the other,
The church has been full of their strife;
But now they're all hatin' another,
And that one's the minister's wife.

But still, all their cackle unheedin',
She goes, in her ladylike way,
A-givin' the poor what they're needing
And helpin' the church every day:
Our numbers each Sunday is swelling
And real, true religion is rife,
And sometimes I feel like a-yellin',
"Three cheers fer the minister's wife!"

* * * * *

[Illustration: "'Well, now, I vum! I know, by gum! I'm right because
I _be_!'"]

THE VILLAGE ORACLE

* * * * *

"_I am Sir Oracle, and when I ope my lips let no dog bark!_"

* * * * *

Old Dan'l Hanks he says this town
Is jest the best on earth;
He says there ain't one, up nor down,
That's got one half her worth;
He says there ain't no other state
That's good as ourn, nor near;
And all the folks that's good and great
Is settled right 'round here.

Says I "D'jer ever travel, Dan?"
"You bet I ain't!" says he;
"I tell you what! the place I've got
Is good enough fer me!"

He says the other party's fools,
'Cause they don't vote his way;
He says the "feeble-minded schools"
Is where they ought ter stay;
If he was law their mouths he'd shut,
Or blow 'em all ter smash;
He says their platform's nawthin' but
A great big mess of trash.

Says I, "D'jer ever read it, Dan?"
"You bet I ain't!" says he;
"And when I do; well, I tell you,
I'll let you know, by gee!"

He says that all religion's wrong
'Cept jest what he believes;
He says them ministers belong
In jail, the same as thieves;
He says they take the blessed Word
And tear it all ter shreds;
He says their preachin's jest absurd;
They're simply leatherheads.

Says I, "D'jer ever hear 'em, Dan?"
"You bet I ain't!" says he;
"I'd never go ter _hear_ 'em; no;
They make me sick ter _see!_"

Some fellers reckon, more or less,
Before they speak their mind,
And sometimes calkerlate or guess,--
But them ain't Dan'l's kind.
The Lord knows all things, great or small,
With doubt he's never vexed;
He, in his wisdom, knows it all,--
But Dan'l Hanks comes next.

Says I, "How d' yer know you're right?"
"How do I _know_?" says he;
"Well, now, I vum! I know, by gum!
I'm right because I _be_!"

* * * * *

THE TIN PEDDLER

Jason White has come ter town
Drivin' his tin peddler's cart,
Pans a-bangin' up an' down
Like they'd tear theirselves apart;
Kittles rattlin' underneath,
Coal-hods scrapin' out a song,--
Makes a feller grit his teeth
When old Jason comes along.

Jason drives a sorrel mare,
Bones an' skin at all her j'ints,
"Blooded stock," says Jase; "I swear,
Jest see how she shows her p'ints!
Walkin' 's her best lay," says he,
Eyes a-twinklin' full of fun,
"Named her Keely Motor. See?
Sich hard work ter make her run."

Jason's jest the slickest scamp,
Full of jokes as he can hold;
Says he beats Aladdin's lamp,
Givin' out new stuff fer old;
"Buy your rags fer more 'n they're worth,
Give yer bran'-new, shiny tin,
I'm the softest snap on earth,"
Says old Jason, with a grin.

Jason gits the women's ear
Tellin' news and talkin' dress;
Can 't be peddlin' forty year
An' not know 'em more or less;
Children like him; sakes alive!
Why, my Jim, the other night,
Says, "When I git big I'll drive
Peddler's cart, like Jason White!"

* * * * *

"SARY EMMA'S PHOTYGRAPHS"

Our Sary Emma is possessed ter be at somethin' queer;
She's allers doin' loony things, unheard of fur and near.
One time there wa'n't no limit ter the distance she would tramp
Ter get a good-fer-nothin', wuthless, cancelled postage-stamp;
Another spell folks couldn't rest ontil, by hook or crook,
She got 'em all ter write their names inside a leetle book;
But though them fits was bad enough, the wust is nowadays,
Fer now she's got that pesky freak, the photygraphin' craze.

She had ter have a camera--and them things cost a sight--
So she took up subscriptions fer the "Woman's Home Delight"
And got one fer a premium--a blamed new-fangled thing,
That takes a tin-type sudden, when she presses on a spring;
And sence she got it, sakes alive! there's nothin' on the place
That hain't been pictured lookin' like a horrible disgrace:
The pigs, the cows, the horse, the colt, the chickens large and small;
She goes a-gunnin' fer 'em, and she bags 'em, one and all.

She tuk me once a-settin' up on top a load er hay:
My feet shets out the wagon, and my head's a mile away;
She took her Ma in our back yard, a-hanging out the clothes,
With hands as big as buckets, and a face that's mostly nose.
A yard of tongue and monstrous teeth is what she calls a dog;
The cat's a kind er fuzzy-lookin' shadder in a fog;
And I've got a suspicion that what killed the brindle calf
Was that he seen his likeness in our Sary's photygraph.

She's "tonin'," er "develerpin'," er "printin'," ha'f the time;
She's allers buyin' pasteboard ter mount up her latest crime:
Our front room and the settin'-room is like some awful show,
With freaks and framed outrages stuck all 'round 'em in a row:
But soon I'll take them picters, and I'll fetch some of 'em out
And hang 'em 'round the garden when the corn begins ter sprout;
We'll have no crows and blackbirds ner that kind er feathered trash,
'Cause them photygraphs of Sary's, they beat scarecrows all ter smash.

* * * * *

WHEN PAPA'S SICK

When Papa's sick, my goodness sakes!
Such awful, awful times it makes.
He speaks in, oh! such lonesome tones,
And gives such ghas'ly kind of groans,
And rolls his eyes and holds his head,
And makes Ma help him up to bed,
While Sis and Bridget run to heat
Hot-water bags to warm his feet,
And I must get the doctor _quick_,--
We have to _jump_ when Papa's sick.

When Papa's sick Ma has to stand
Right 'side the bed and hold his hand,
While Sis, she has to fan an' fan,
For he says he's "a dyin' man,"
And wants the children round him to
Be there when "sufferin' Pa gets through";
He says he wants to say good-by
And kiss us all, and then he'll die;
Then moans and says his "breathin''s thick",--
It's awful sad when Papa's sick.

When Papa's sick he acts that way
Until he hears the doctor say,
"You've only got a cold, you know;
You'll be all right 'n a day or so";
And then--well, say! you ought to see--
He's different as he can be,
And growls and swears from noon to night
Just 'cause his dinner ain't cooked right;
And all he does is fuss and kick,--
We're _all_ used up when Papa's sick.

* * * * *

[Illustration]

THE BALLAD OF McCARTY'S TROMBONE

Sure, Felix McCarty he lived all alone
On the top av a hill be the town av Athione,
And the pride av his heart was a batthered trombone,
That he played in an iligant style av his own.
And often I've heard me ould grandfather say,
That, long as he lived, on Saint Patherick's Day,
the minute the dawn showed the first streak av gray
McCarty would rise and this tune he would play:

"Pertaters and fishes make very good dishes,
Saint Patherick's Day in the mornin'!"
With tootin' and blowin' he kept it a-goin',
For rest was a thing he was scornin';
And thim that were lazy could niver lie aisy,
But jumped out av bed at the warnin';
For who could be stayin' aslape with him playin'
"Saint Patherick's Day in the mornin'?"

And thin whin the b'ys would fall in fer parade,
McCarty'd be gay with his buttons and braid,
And whin he stipped out fer ter head the brigade,
Why, this was the beautiful tune that he played:

"By--Killarney's--lakes--and--fells,
Toot--tetoot toot--toot--toot--dells!"
And--the heel av--McCart--y's--boot
Marked--the time at--iv'--ry--toot,
While--the slide at--aich--bass--note
Seemed--ter slip half--down--his throat,
As--he caught his--breath--be--spells:--
"By--Killarney's--lakes--and--fells!"

Now McCarty he lived ter be wrinkled and lean,
But he died wan fine day playin' "Wearin' the green,"
And they sould the ould horn to a British spalpeen,
And it bu'st whin he tried ter blow "God save the Queen";

But the nights av Saint Patherick's Days in Athlone
Folks dare not go by the ould graveyard alone,
For they say that McCarty sits on his tombstone
And plays this sad tune on a phantom trombone:

"The harp that wance through Tara's halls
The sowl av music shed,
Now hangs as mute on Tara's walls
As if that sowl were dead."
And all who've heard the lonesome _keens_
That that grim ghost has blown,
Know well by Tara's harp he means
That batthered ould trombone.

* * * * *

SUSAN VAN DOOZEN

I'll write, for I'm witty, a popular ditty,
To bring to me shekels and fame,
And the only right way one may write one to-day
Is to give it some Irish girl's name.
There's "Rosy O'Grady," that dear "steady lady,"
And sweet "Annie Rooney" and such,
But mine shall be nearly original, really,
For Susan Van Doozen is Dutch.

_O Susan Van Doozen! the girl of my choos'n',_
_You stick in my bosom like glue;
While this you're perusin', remember I'm mus'n',_
_Sweet Susan Van Doozen, on you.
So don't be refus'n' my offer, and bruis'n'_
_A heart that is willing to woo;
And please be excus'n', not cold and refus'n',--
O Susan Van Doozen, please do_!

Now through it I'll scatter--a quite easy matter--
Some lines that we all of us know,
How "The neighbors all cry as she passes them by,
'There's Susan, the pride of the row!'"
And something like "daisy" and "setting me crazy,"
--These lines the dear public would miss--
Then chuck a "sweetheart" in, and "never to part" in,
And end with a chorus like this:

_O Susan Van Doozen! before I'd be los'n'
One glance from your eyes of sky-blue,
I vow I'd quit us'n' tobacco and booz'n',
(That word is not nice, it is true).
I wear out my shoes, 'n' I'm los'n' my roos'n'_
_My reason, I should say, dear Sue_,--
_So please change your views 'n' become my own Susan_,
_O Susan Van Doozen, please do_!

* * * * *

SISTER SIMMONS

Almost every other evening jest as reg'lar as the clock
When we're settin' down ter supper, wife and I, there comes a knock
An' a high-pitched voice, remarking', "Don't get up; it's _me_, yer know";
An' our mercury drops from "summer" down ter "twenty-five below,"
An' our cup of bliss turns sudden inter wormwood mixed with gall,
Fer we know it's Sister Simmons come ter make her "reg'lar call."

In she comes an' takes the rocker. Thinks she'll slip her bunnit off,
But she'll keep her shawl on, coz she's 'fraid of addin' ter her cough.
No, she won't set down ter supper. Tea? well, yes, a half er cup.
Her dyspepsy's been so lately, seems as if she _should_ give up;
An', 'tween rheumatiz an' as'ma, she's jest worn ter skin an' bone.
It's a good thing that she told us,--by her looks we'd never known.

Next, she starts in on the neighbors; tells us all their private cares,
While we have the fun er knowin' how she talks of _our_ affairs;
Says, with sobs, that Christmas comin' makes her feel _so_ bad, for, oh!
Her Isaiah, the dear departed, allers did enjoy it so.
Her Isaiah, poor henpecked critter, 's been dead seven years er more,
An' looked happier in his coffin than he ever did afore.

So she sits, her tongue a-waggin' in the same old mournful tones,
Spoilin' all our quiet evenin's with her troubles an' her groans,
Till, by Jude, I'm almost longin' fer those mansions of the blest,
"Where the wicked cease from troublin' an' the weary are at rest!"
But if Sister Simmons' station is before the Throne er Grace,
I'll just ask 'em to excuse me, an' I'll try the other place.

* * * * *

"THE FIFT' WARD J'INT DEBATE"

Now Councilman O'Hoolihan do'n't b'lave in annixation,
He says thim Phillypynos air the r-r-ruin av the nation.
He says this counthry's job is jist a-mindin' av her biz,
And imparyilism's thrayson, so ut is, so ut is.
But big Moike Macnamara, him that runs the gin saloon,
He wants the nomina-a-tion, so he sings a different chune;
He's a-howlin' fer ixpansion, so he puts ut on the shlate
Thot he challenged Dan O'Hoolihan ter have a j'int debate.

_Ho, ho! Begorra! Oi wisht that ye 'd been there!
Ho, ho! Begorra! 'Twas lovely, Oi declare_;
_The langwudge, sure 't was iligant, the rhitoric was great_,
_Whin Dan and Mack, they had ut back,
At our big j'int debate_.

'T was in the War-r-d Athletic Club we had ut fixed ter hear 'em,
And all the sates was crowded, fer the gang was there ter cheer 'em;
A foine debatin' platfor-r-m had been built inside the ring,
And iverybuddy said 't was jist the thing, jist the thing.
O'Hoolihan, he shtarted off be sayin', ut was safe
Ter say that aich ixpansionist was jist a murth'rin thafe;
And, whin I saw big Mack turn rid, and shtart ter lave his sate,
Oi knew we 'd have a gor-r-geous toime at our big j'int debate.

Thin Moike he tuk his tur-r-n ter shpake, "Av Oi wance laid me hand,"
Says he, "upon an 'Anti,' faith! Oi'd make his nose ixpand;
Oi 'd face the schnakin' blackguar-r-d, and Oi'd baste him where he shtood.
Oi'd annix him to a graveyard, so Oi would, so Oi would!"
Thin up jumped Dan O'Hoolihan a-roar-r-in' out "Yez loie!"
And flung his b'aver hat at Mack, and plunked him in the eye;
And Moike he niver shtopped ter talk, but grappled wid him straight,
And the ar-r-gymint got loively thin, at our big j'int debate.

Oi niver in me loife have seen sich char-r-min' illycution,
The gistures av thim wid their fists was grand in ixecution;
We tried to be impar-r-tial, so no favoroite we made,
But jist sicked them on tergither, yis indade, yis indade.
And nayther wan was half convinced whin Sar-r-gint Leary came,
Wid near a dozen other cops, and stopped the purty game;
But niver did Oi see dhress-suits in sich a mortial state
As thim the or-r-ators had on at our big j'int debate.

_Ho, ho! Begorra! Oi wisht that ye'd been there!
Ho, ho! Begorra! The foight was on the square_;
_Ter see the wagon goin' off, wid thim two on the sate_!--
_Oi 'd loike ter shtroike, 'twixt Dan and Moilce_,
_Another j'int debate_.

* * * * *

HIS NEW BROTHER

Say, I've got a little brother,
Never teased to have him, nuther,
But he's here;
They just went ahead and bought him,
And, last week the doctor brought him,
Wa'n't that queer?

When I heard the news from Molly,
Why, I thought at first 't was jolly,
'Cause, you see,
I s'posed I could go and get him
And then Mama, course, would let him
Play with me.

But when I had once looked at him,
"Why!" I says, "My sakes, is _that_ him?
Just that mite!"
They said, "Yes," and, "Ain't he cunnin'?"
And I thought they must be funnin',--
He's a _sight!_

[Illustration: "Why'd they buy a baby brother,
When they know I'd _good_ deal ruther
Have a dog?"]

He's so small, it's just amazin',
And you 'd think that he was blazin',
He's so red;
And his nose is like a berry,
And he's bald as Uncle Jerry
On his head.

Why, he isn't worth a dollar!
All he does is cry and holler
More and more;
_Won't_ sit up--you can't arrange him,--
_I_ don't see why Pa do'n't change him
At the store.

Now we've got to dress and feed him,
And we really didn't _need_ him
More 'n a frog;
Why'd they buy a baby brother,
When they know I'd _good_ deal ruther
Have a dog?

* * * * *

CIRCLE DAY

Me and Billy's in the woodshed; Ma said, "Run outdoors and play;
Be good boys and don't be both'rin', till the company's gone away."
She and sister Mary's hustlin', settin' out the things for tea,
And the parlor's full of women, such a crowd you never see;
Every one a-cuttin' patchwork or a-sewin' up a seam,
And the way their tongues is goin', seems as if they went by steam.
Me and Billy's been a-listenin' and, I tell you what, it beats
Circus day to hear 'em gabbin', when the Sewin' Circle meets.

First they almost had a squabble, fightin' 'bout the future life;
When they'd settled that they started runnin' down the parson's wife.
Then they got a-goin' roastin' all the folks there is in town,
And they never stopped, you bet yer, till they'd done 'em good and brown.
They knew everybody's business and they made it mighty free,
But the way they loved _each other_ would have done yer good to see;
Seems ter me the only way ter keep yer hist'ry off the streets
Is to be on hand a-waitin' when the Sewin' Circle meets.

Pretty quick they'll have their supper, then's the time to see the fun;
Ma'll say the rolls is _awful_, and she's 'fraid the pie ain't done.
Really everything is bully, and she knows it well enough,
But the folks that's havin' comp'ny always talks that kind of stuff.
That sets all the women goin', and they say, "How _can_ you make
Such _delicious_ pies and biscuits, and such _lovely_ choc'late cake?"
Me and Billy don't say nothin' when we pitches in and eats
Up the things there is left over when the Sewin' Circle meets.

I guess Pa do'n't like the Circle, 'cause he said ter Uncle Jim
That there cacklin' hen convention was too peppery for _him_.
And he'll say to Ma, "I'm sorry, but I've really got ter dodge
Down t' the hall right after supper--there's a meetin' at the lodge."
Ma'll say, "Yes, so I expected." Then a-speakin' kinder cold,
"Seems ter me, I'd get a new one; that excuse is gettin' old!"
Pa'll look sick, just like a feller when he finds you know he cheats,
But he do'n't stay home, you bet yer, when the Sewin' Circle meets.

* * * * *

SERMON TIME

"Blessed are the poor in spirit": there, I'll just remember that,
And I'll say it over 'n over, till I've got it good and pat,
For when I get home from meetin', Gran'ma'll ask me for the text,
And if I say I've forgot it, she'll be goin' for me next,
Say in', I don't pay attention, and what _am_ I comin' to;
Tellin' 'bout when _she_ was little, same as old folks always do.
Say, I'll bet she didn't like it any better than the rest,
Sittin' 'round all stiff and starchy, dressed up in your Sunday best.

"Blessed are the poor"--I tell yer, some day I'll be clearin' out,
Leavin' all this dressin' nonsense, 'cause I'm goin' ter be a scout,
Same as "Deadwood Dick," a-killin' all the Injuns on the plains:
_He_ do'n't comb his hair, you bet yer; no, nor wash, unless it rains.
And bimeby I'll come home, bringin' loads of gold and di'mon' rings;
My, won't all the boys be jealous when they see those kind of things!
'N' I'll have a reputation, folks'll call me "Lariat Ben,"
Gran'ma'll think I 'mount ter somethin', maybe, when she sees me then.

"Blessed are the"--There's a blackbird, outside, sittin' on a limb,--
Gosh! I wish it wasn't Sunday, p'raps I wouldn't go for him.
Sis says stonin' birds is wicked, but she's got one on her hat,--
S'pose that makes it right and proper, if yer kill 'em just for that.
There's that dudey city feller, sittin' in the Deacon's pew.
Needn't feel so big now, Smarty, just because your clothes are new;
Me and Sam has rigged a hat line; when it's dark to-morrer night
We'll just catch your shiny beaver and we'll send it out of sight.

"Blessed are"--There's Mr. Wiggin sound asleep. I wish he'd snore.
Cracky! Now he's been and done it, dropped his hymn-book on the floor.
See how cross his wife is lookin'. Say, I bet they'll have a row;
Pa said that she wore the breeches, but she's got a dress on now.
There's Nell Baker with her uncle. Her 'n I don't speak at school,
'Cause she wouldn't help a feller when I clean forgot the rule.
Used to be my girl before that--Gee! what was that text about?
"Blessed--blessed--blessed" something. I'll ask Sis when we get out.

* * * * *

"TAKIN' BOARDERS"

_We'd_ never thought of takin' 'em,--'t was Mary Ann's idee,--
Sence she got back from boardin'-school she's called herself "Maree"
An' scattered city notions like a tom-cat sheds his fur.
She thought our old melodeon wa'n't good enough fer her,
An' them pianners cost so that she said the only way
Was ter take in summer boarders till we 'd made enough to pay;
So she wrote adver_tis_ements out to fetch 'em inter camp,
An' now there's boarders thicker here than June bugs round a lamp.

Our best front parlor'll jest be sp'iled; they h'ist up every shade
An' open all the blinds, by gum! an' let the carpet fade.
They're in there week days jest the same as Sunday; I declare,
I really think our haircloth set is showin' signs o' wear!
They set up ha'f the night an' sing,--no use ter try ter sleep,
With them a-askin' folks ter "Dig a grave both wide an' deep,"
An' "Who will smoke my mashum pipe?" By gee! I tell yer what:
If they want me to dig their graves, I'd jest as soon as not!

There ain't no comfort now at meals; I can't take off my coat,
Nor use my knife to eat, nor tie my napkin 'round my throat,
Nor drink out of my sasser. Gosh! I hardly draw my breath
'Thout Mary Ann a-tellin' me she's "mortified to death!"
Before they came our breakfast time was allus ha'f-past six;
By thunderation! 't wouldn't do; you'd orter hear the kicks!
So jest to suit 'em 't was put off till sometime arter eight,
An' when a chap gits up at four that's mighty long ter wait.

The idee was that Mary Ann would help her Ma; but, land!
She can't be round a minute but some boarder's right on hand
Ter take her out ter walk or ride--_she_ likes it well enough,
But when you 're gittin' grub for twelve, Ma finds it kinder tough.
We ain't a-sayin' nothin' now, we'll see this season through,
But folks that bought one gold brick ain't in love with number two;
An' if you're passin' down our way next summer, cast your eye
At our front fence. You'll see a sign,
"NO BOARDERS NEED APPLY."

* * * * *

A COLLEGE TRAINING

Home from college came the stripling, calm and cool and debonair,
With a weird array of raiment and a wondrous wealth of hair,
With a lazy love of languor and a healthy hate of work
And a cigarette devotion that would shame the turbaned Turk.
And he called his father "Guv'nor," with a cheek serene and rude,
While that raging, wrathful rustic calld his son a "blasted dude."
And in dark and direful language muttered threats of coming harm
To the "idle, shif'less critter" from his father's good right arm.

And the trouble reached a climax on the lawn behind the shed,--
"Now, I'm gon' ter lick yer, sonny," so the sturdy parent said,
"And I'll knock the college nonsense from your noddle, mighty quick!"--
Then he lit upon that chappy like a wagon-load of brick.
But the youth serenely murmured, as he gripped his angry dad,
"You're a clever rusher, Guv'nor, but you tackle very bad";
And he rushed him through the center and he tripped him for a fall,
And he scored a goal and touchdown with his papa as the ball.

[Illustration: "That was jolly, Guv'nor. now we'll practice every day."]

Then a cigarette he lighted, as he slowly strolled away,
Saying, "That was jolly, Guv'nor, now we'll practice every day";
While his father from the puddle, where he wallowed in disgrace,
Smiled upon his offspring, proudly, from a bruised and battered face,
And with difficulty rising, quick he hobbled to the house.
"Henry's all right, Ma!" he shouted to his anxious, waiting spouse,
"He jest licked me good and solid, and I tell yer, Mary Ann,
When a chap kin lick _your husband_ he's a mighty able man!"

* * * * *

A CRUSHED HERO

On a log behind the pigsty of a modest little farm,
Sits a freckled youth and lanky, red of hair and long of arm;
But his mien is proud and haughty and his brow is high and stern,
And beneath their sandy lashes, fiery eyes with purpose burn.
Bow before him, gentle reader, he's the hero we salute,
He is Hiram Adoniram Andrew Jackson Shute.

Search not Fame's immortal marbles, never there his name you'll find,
For our hero, let us whisper, is a hero in his mind;
And a youth may bathe in glory, wade in slaughter time on time,
When a novel, wild and gory, may be purchased for a dime.
And through reams of lurid pages has he slain the Sioux and Ute,
Bloody Hiram Adoniram Andrew Jackson Shute.

Hark, a heavy step advancing,--list, a father's angry cry,
"He hain't shucked a single nubbin; where's that good-fer-nothin' Hi?"
"Here, base catiff," comes the answer, "here am I who was your slave,
But no more I'll do your shuckin', though I fill a bloody grave!
Freedom's fire my breast has kindled; there'll be bloodshed, tyrant!
brute!"
Quoth brave Hiram Adoniram Andrew Jackson Shute.

"Breast's a-blazin', is it, Sonny?" asks his father with a smile,
"Kind er like a stove, I reckon, what they call 'gas-burner' style.
Good 'base-burner' 's what your needin'"--here he pins our hero fast,
"Come, young man, we'll try the woodshed, keep the bloodshed till the
last."
Then an atmosphere of horse-whip, interspersed with cow-hide boot,
Wraps young Hiram Adoniram Andrew Jackson Shute.

* * * * *

Weep ye now, oh, gentle reader, for the fallen, great of heart,
As ye wept o'er Saint Helena and the exiled Bonaparte;
For a picture, sad as that one, to your pity I would show
Of a spirit crushed and broken,--of a hero lying low;
For where husks are heaped the highest, working swiftly, hushed and mute,
Shucketh Hiram Adoniram Andrew Jackson Shute.

* * * * *

A THANKSGIVING DREAM

I'm pretty nearly certain that't was 'bout two weeks ago,--
It might be more, or, p'raps 't was less,--but, anyhow, I know
'T was on the night I ate the four big saucers of ice cream
That I dreamed jest the horriblest, most awful, _worstest_ dream.
I dreamed that 'twas Thanksgiving and I saw our table laid
With every kind of goody that, I guess, was ever made;
With turkey, and with puddin', and with everything,--but, gee!
'T was dreadful, 'cause they was alive, and set and looked at me.

And then a great big gobbler, that was on a platter there,
He stood up on his drumsticks, and he says, "You boy, take care!
For if, Thanksgivin' Day, you taste my dark meat or my white,
I'll creep up to your bedroom in the middle of the night;
I'll throw off all the blankets, and I'll pull away the sheet,
I'll prance and dance upon you with my prickly, tickly feet;
I'll kick you, and I'll pick you, and I'll screech, 'Remember me!'
Beware, my boy! Take care, my boy!" that gobbler says, says he.

[Illustration: The Talking Turkey]

And then a fat plum puddin' kind er grunted-like and said:
"I'm round and hot and steamin', and I'm heavier than lead,
And if you dare to eat me, boy, upon Thanksgivin' Day,
I'll come at night and tease you in a frightful sort of way.
I'll thump you, and I'll bump you, and I'll jump up high and fall
Down on your little stomach like a sizzlin' cannon-ball
I'll hound you, and I'll pound you, and I'll screech 'Remember me!'
Beware, my boy! Take care, my boy!" that puddin says, says he.

And then, soon as the puddin' stopped, a crusty ol' mince pie
Jumped from its plate and glared at me and winked its little eye;
"You boy," it says, "Thanksgivin' Day, don't dare ter touch a slice
Of me, for if you do, I'll come and cramp you like a vise.
I'll root you, and I'll boot you, and I'll twist you till you squeal,
I'll stand on edge and roll around your stomach like a wheel;
I'll hunch you, and I'll punch you, and I'll screech, 'Remember me!'"

* * * * *

I don't know what came after that, 'cause I woke up, you see.

You wouldn't b'lieve that talk like that one ever _could_ forget,
But, say! ter-day's Thanksgivin,' and I've et, and et, and et!
And when I'd stuffed jest all I could, I jumped and gave a scream,
'Cause all at once, when 't was too late, I 'membered 'bout that dream.
And now it's almost bedtime, and I ought ter say my prayers
And tell the folks "good-night" and go a-pokin' off up-stairs;
But, oh, my sakes! I dasn't, 'cause I know them things'll be
All hidin' somewheres 'round my bed and layin there fer me.

* * * * *

O'REILLY'S BILLY-GOAT

A solemn Sabbath stillness lies along the Mudville lanes,
Among the crags of Shantytown a peaceful quiet reigns,
For down upon McCarty's dump, in fiery fight for fame,
The Shanties meet the Mudvilles in the final pennant game;
And heedless of the frantic fray, in center field remote,
Behind the biggest ash-heap lies O'Reilly's billy-goat.

The eager crowd bends forward now, in fierce excitement's thrall,
The pitcher writhes in serpent twist, the umpire says, "Play ball!"
The batsman swings with sudden spite,--a loud, resounding "spat,"
And hissing through the ambient air the horse-hide leaves the bat;
With one terrific battle-cry, the "rooter" clears his throat,
But still serene in slumber lies O'Reilly's billy-goat.

Alas, alas for Shantytown! the Mudvilles forge ahead;
Alas for patriotic hopes! the green's below the red;
With one half inning still to play the score is three to two,
The Shantys have a man on base,--be brave my lads, and true;
Bold Captain Muggsy comes to bat, a batsman he of note,
And slowly o'er the ash-heap walks O'Reilly's billy-goat.

The yelling Mudville hosts have wrecked his slumbers so serene,
With deep disgust and sullen eye he gazes o'er the scene.
He notes the center-fielder's garb, the Mudvilles' shirt of red;
He firmly plants his sturdy legs, he bows his horned head,
And, as upon his shaggy ears the Mudville slogan smote,
A sneer played 'mid the whiskers of O'Reilly's billy-goat.

The valiant Muggsy hits the ball. Oh, deep and dark despair!
He hits it hard and straight, but ah, he hits it in the air!
The Mudville center-fielder smiles and reaches forth in glee,
He knows that fly's an easy out for such a man as he.
Beware, oh rash and reckless youth, nor o'er your triumph gloat,
For toward you like a comet flies O'Reilly's billy-goat.

Across the battle-field is borne a dull and muffled sound,
The fielder like a bullock falls, the ball rolls on the ground.
Around the bases on the wing the gallant Muggsy speeds,
And follows swiftly in the track where fast his comrade leads.
And from the field of chaos where the dusty billows float,
With calm, majestic mien there stalks O'Reilly's billy-goat.

Above the crags of Shantytown the flaunting pennant waves,
And cheering myriads chant the praise of Muggsy's lusty braves.
The children shout in gladsome glee, each fair one waves her hand,
As down the street the heroes march with lively German band;
But wilder grows the tumult when, with ribboned horns and coat,
They see, on high in triumph borne, O'Reilly's billy-goat.

* * * * *

THE CUCKOO CLOCK

When Ezry, that's my sister's son, come home from furrin parts,
He fetched the folks a lot of things ter brighten up their hearts;
He fetched 'em silks and gloves and clothes, and knick-knacks, too, a
stock,
But all he fetched fer us was jest a fancy cuckoo clock.
'T was all fixed up with paint and gilt, and had a little door
Where sat the cutest little bird, and when 't was three or four
Or five or six or any time, that bird would jest come out
And, 'cordin' ter what time it was, he'd flap his wings and shout:
"_Hoo_-hoo! _Hoo_-hoo! _Hoo_-hoo!"

Well, fust along we had it, why, I thought 'twas simply prime!
And used to poke the hands around ter make it "cuckoo" time;
And allers when we'd company come, they had ter see the thing,
And, course they almost had a fit when "birdie" come ter sing.
But, by and by, b'gosh! I found it somehow lost its joys,
I found it kind er made me sick to hear that senseless noise;
I wished 't was jest a common clock, that struck a gong, yer know,
And didn't have no foolish bird ter flap his wings and go:
"_Hoo_-hoo! _Hoo_-hoo! _Hoo_-hoo!"

Well, things git on from bad to wuss, until I'm free ter grant,

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