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´╗┐Title: Poems for Pale People - A Volume of Verse
Author: Ranck, Edwin Carty, 1879-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Poems for Pale People

A Volume of Verse


Edwin C. Ranck

Humanity Printing and Publishing Co.
St. Louis, Mo.

Copyrighted 1906 by


_This little volume was written for no reason on earth and with no
earthly reason. It just simply happened, on the principle, I suppose
that "murder will out." Murder is a bad thing and so are nonsense
rhymes. There is often a valid excuse for murder; there is none for
nonsense rhymes. They seem to be a necessary evil to be classed with
smallpox, chicken-pox, yellow fever and other irruptive diseases. They
are also on the order of the boomerang and eventually rebound and
inflict much suffering on the unlucky verse-slinger. So you see
nonsense, like a little learning is a dangerous thing and should be
handled with as much care as the shotgun which is never known to be

_A man who writes nonsense may become in time a big gun. But this is
rare; more often he becomes a small bore. This appears paradoxical and
will probably require thinking over, but the more you think it over the
less you will understand. This is true of parlor magic. It is also true
of the magazine poets. It really never pays to think. Thinking is too
much like work. After reading these rhymes you will not think that the
writer ever did think, which after all is the right way to think._

_When Dryden wrote "Alexander's Feast" he modestly stated that it was
the grandest poem ever written. Mr. Dryden evidently believed this or
he wouldn't have said so. But then every one did not agree with Mr.
Dryden. Now I am going one step further and will positively state that
the writer of this volume is the greatest poetical genius who has not
yet died in infancy._

_This is an astounding statement but it can be corroborated by admiring
friends, for the writer is like a certain brand of children's food in
that he is advertised by his loving friends._

_Speaking of "Alexander's Feast" it simply cannot be compared to any
one of the finished, poetic gems in this collection because it is so
utterly different. The difference is what made Dryden famous. But
comparisons are odious, and Mr. Dryden has been dead several years._

_"But what," you may ask, "is the object of nonsense verse?" Most
assuredly to make one laugh. That masterpiece of nonsense "Alice In
Wonderland" and its companion volume "Through The Looking Class" are
absurd books, but their very absurdity is what appeals to us most.
Their author, Mr. Lewis Carroll was, in private life a very sober
gentleman (at least we hope so). Nonsense is the salt of life with
which we season the dry food of everyday cooking._

    _"A little nonsense now and then
      Is relished by the wisest men."_

_Even serious old Longfellow had this feeling in his bones when he
wrote the immortal lines which all of us recall from childhood:_

    _"There was a little girl
      And she had a little curl
    Which hung way down on her forehead;
      And when she was good,
    She was very good indeed,
      But when she was bad, she was horrid."_

_This is nonsense pure and simple and even the most ardent admirers of
Mr. Longfellow must, when they try to make "forehead" and "horrid"
rhyme, admit that it was very poor verse for the author of

_Bret Harte flew off at a tangent when he wrote about "Ah Sin, The
Chinaman," a nonsense poem that gave "Bill Nye" his pseudonym. Oliver
Wendell Holmes wrote "The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay." Rudyard Kipling is
often "caught with the goods on him" and Mark Twain wrote an "Ode to
Stephen Dowling Botts."_

_And Great Scott! I almost forgot that even such a gentle, domestic
creature as the cow has been the unconscious inspiration of much
nonsense and has doubtless often chewed the bitter cud of reflection in
deploring her undesired popularity. First she was forced (very much
against her will, no doubt) to jump over the moon to the undignified
strains of "Hey Diddle, Diddle." Then, just when beginning to breathe
easily again after that astounding performance, Gelett Burgess came
along and gave her more notoriety by raising the question as to whether
there was such a thing as a "purple cow." And even today in many of the
rural districts there are old farmers who never heard of Burgess and
his "purple cow" who will tell you solemnly that "there is a cow of a
sort of purplish color." Which goes to prove that after all nonsense is
only sense plus--NON._

The poems in this collection have appeared from time to time in The
Kentucky Post, The Cincinnati Post, The Cincinnati Commercial Tribune,
Humanity and The Valley Magazine.


    In days gone by, when cows could fly
      And goblins rode on bears;
    When fairies danced upon the green
      And giants moped in lairs,
    There lived alone upon a shelf
      A tinsie, winsie little elf.

    Just when the stars came out at night
      And moonbeams filled the earth with light,
    Down from his perch this little elf
      Would jump and wander by himself.
    He wore a pair of little wings
      Tied in their place by golden strings.

    One day he took a kind of notion
      To take a trip upon the ocean.
    He combed his hair and washed his face
      And put his little wings in place,
    Then from his shelf he softly stole
      And went to see his friend the mole
    Who gave to him a pea-green boat
      And guaranteed that it would float.

    A funny thing about this boat
      'Twas patterned from a ten-pound note.
    The little elf was greatly pleased
      And laughed until he sneezed and sneezed;
    He launched his boat upon the sea
      And kicked his little heels in glee.

    The mole looked on in glad surprise
      (For in those days all moles had eyes.)
    He shouted out a loud farewell
      As the little row-boat rose and fell.
    The elf picked up a golden oar
      And soon lost sight of mole and shore.

    The elf rowed out for quite a way
      And in the waves did sport and play,
    Until at length the sun sank low
      And then he thought it time to go.
    Now just as luck would have it then
      A prowling sea gull left his den.

    The savage sea gull loudly laughed
      To see an elf in such a craft,
    And swooping down upon the water
      He did a thing he hadn't oughter,
    For with his strong and sturdy beak
      He caused the boat to spring a leak.

    He said he longed for a little change
      And the bank-note boat was just in range;
    The poor young elf gave one big holler
      Just as the sea gull made a swallow
    (And this is strange indeed to follow
      For a gull himself is just a swallow.)

    The faithful mole heard this loud yell
      And rushed down to the shore pell-mell.
    Alas, alas he was too late
      And saw his friend's unhappy fate;
    He groaned, and shrieked and tore his fur
      And raised an awful din and stir.

    The sea gull heard this awful racket
      And seized the mole, just like a packet.
    He carried him across the seas
      To teach the young gulls A B C's.
    But the loving mole went blind with rage
      And they had to put him in a cage,
    And ever since that fatal night
      The moles have all been out of sight.


    There was once an eccentric old coon,
      Who ate dynamite with a spoon,
    But when he got loaded
      The powder exploded--
    And now there's a coon in the moon.


    Oh, let's go out to the county fair
      And breathe the balmy country air,
    And whittle a stick and look at the hosses,
      Discuss the farmer's profit and losses.

    We'll take a look at the country stock
      And drink some milk from a dairy crock;
    Look at the pigs and admire the chickens,
      And try to forget it's hot as the dickens.

    Forget there are any political rings
      Just think of the butter and eggs and things;
    So wash off the buggy and hitch up the mare,
      And we'll all go out to the county fair.


    A maddened horse comes down the street,
      With waving mane and flying feet.
    The crowd scatters in every direction;
      It looks like a fight at a city election.
    A big policeman waves his hands,
      And the air is full of vague commands,
    While across the street a retail grocer
      Shrieks to his child as the horse draws closer
    When suddenly out of the mad hubbub,
      Steps Jimmie O'Dowd of the Jefferson Club.

    Every man there holds his breath--
      To stop the horse means sudden death.
    But quick as a flash,
      O'Dowd makes a dash.
    With all his might and the horse's mane,
      He brings the old plug to a halt again.
    Then every man there doffs his hat
      And cries "Well, what do you think of that?"
    Never since the days of Nero
      Has there been a greater hero.


    A night when witches skim the air,
      When spooks and goblins climb the stair;
    When bats rush out with muffled wings,
      And now and then the door-bell rings;
    But just the funniest thing of all
      Is 'cause you can't see when they call.


    'Tis Saturday morn and all is bright
      By nature's own endowing;
    The sun is fiercely giving light,
      And only me--

    Across the river I hear the sound
      Of a boatman slowly rowing;
    I have no time to fool around,
      Especially when I'm--

    And when the dinner hour has come,
      And thoughts of work are fleeting,
    I only hear the insects hum,
      Because I'm busy--

    At night when all things are at rest,
      Safe in Old Morpheus' keeping,
    No troubles do my mind infest,
      For I am soundly--


    John went into the garden one day
      And found his baby sister at play;

    John hit baby with a brick
      And laughed because it made her sick.

    John is only two and six
      And loves to do these funny tricks.


    O, the circus parade! O, the circus parade!
      It lays all the politics back in the shade,
    And the merchants forget that they've got any trade,
      While many remember they've never been paid
    As they rushed out to look at the circus parade;
      And preachers who used to be terribly staid
    Yell just like boys at the circus parade.
      Every one's there, both the mistress and maid,
    All looking on at the circus parade.

    And out at the grounds, when you've seen the parade,
      How delicious it is to drink pink lemonade;
    And look at the elephant twirling his trunk,
      And laugh at the capers cut by the monk;
    Watch the old clown who is acting a dunce,
      And try hard to see three rings going at once;
    Gaze at the ringmaster cracking his whip,
      And watch the tight-rope artist skip.
    I saw that circus, Yes Sirree!
      Saw about enough for three.


    "Oh lend me five," the young man cried,
      "My money all is spent."
    The maiden shook her head and sighed,
      "I'm sorry but it's Lent."


    (Written in collaboration with R. B. Hamilton.)

    When Julius Caesar met his death,
      He muttered in his dying breath:
    "It is not patriotism now
      Prompts you to break your friendship's vow."
    Quoth Brutus, as he stabbed again
      The greatest of his countrymen:
          "You're in this fix
          Through politics."

    As on his path Columbus sped,
      A sailor to the great man said:
    "Without a break, without a bend,
      The broad Atlantic has no end."
    And to the sailor at his side,
      'Tis rumored, that great man replied:
          "I guess I know.
          You go below."

    The snow fell fast on Russia's soil,
      The soldiers, wearied with their toil,
    Cried: "'Tis not possible that we
      Our native France again shall see."
    Stern ever in the face of death,
      Napoleon said beneath his breath:
          "Go take a walk,
          I hate such talk."

    A cherry tree lay on the ground,
      On George's body, pa did pound;
    "But pa," George cried, "It seems to me
      That you are wrong; dis ain't your tree."
    The old man sadly shook his head
      And to his wayward son he said:
          "Don't lie to me
          I know my tree."

    When Dewey on his flagship sailed,
      The Spaniards never even quailed.
    "Oh, it ain't possible," said they,
      "For him to reach Manila Bay."
    But Dewey merely smiled in glee,
      "It isn't possible?" quoth he,
          "Why, hully gee,
          Just wait and see."


    Thus onward as through life we go,
      Amid the pomp, and glare, and show,
    We oft some proverb misconstrue
      And mutter boldly, "'Tis not true."
    But in their calm, majestic way,
      We hear the tongues of wise men say:
          "You go way back
          And then sit down."


    Ting-ling--"South, please, 1085;
      Why hello, Jim--Oh, Saints alive!
    It's south, I told you--hello; no,
      I said once that I could not go.

    "Say, can you meet me there tonight?
      Confound it, Jim, you must be tight.
    What are you saying anyhow,
      I've got the wrong ear by the sow?

    "Not pretty? Why, she's out o'sight,
      Oh, shut up; that will be all right.
    You can't walk there? Why it ain't far;
      We get there on a 'lectric car.

    "Well, Great Scott, man, don't talk all day,
      But let me know now right away.
    Miss B----, Oh, let the old girl wait;
      We won't be out so very late.

    "You will? All right then--eight o'clock;
      Be sure and meet me on the block,
    Remember now, don't get it wrong;
      All right, old man (Ting-ling), so long."


    I never saw a loaf of bread
      Conspicuous in its purity,
    But that I sadly shook my head
      And left five-cents as surety.


    Say, I like toys,
      Christmas toys.
    Remember when we were boys
      Long ago?
    Then you were a kid
      Not a beau.
    And on Christmas Day,
      Oh, say,
    We got up in the dark
      And had a jolly lark
    Round the fire.
      The cold air was shocking
    As we peeped in our stocking--
      And, way down in the toe,
    Now say this is so--
      Dad placed a dollar.
    Made me holler.
      Yes, sirree,

    They were good to me.
      Remember Jim?
    Mean trick I did him.
      You know Jim was surly?
    Well I got up early
      Took his dollar out,
    And put a rock
      In his sock.
    Gee, he was mad,
      Went and told dad;
    But dad he just laughed
      And said:
    Might's well be dead
      If you couldn't have fun.
    Then for spite,
      I kept that dollar 'til night.
    Funny, seein' these toys
      Made me think of us boys.
    But now, Gee!
      Christmas ain't like it used to be.


    Wake for the sun, that scatters into flight,
      The poker players who have stayed all night;
    Drives husbands home with reeling steps, and then--
      Gives to the sleepy "cops" an awful fright.

    I sometimes think that never blows so red
      The nose, as when the spirits strike the head;
    That every step one takes upon the way
      Makes him wish strongly he were home in bed.

    The moving finger writes, but having "pull",
      You think that you can settle things in full,
    But when you interview the Police Judge,
      You find that you have made an awful bull.

    Some nonsense verses underneath the bough,
      A little "booze", a time to loaf, and thou--
    Beside me howling in the wilderness,
      Would be enough for one day anyhow.


    Good people if you have the mumps,
      Or ever get down with the dumps;
    Or have bad cold or aching pains,
      Or ever suffer with chilblains--
    Don't seek your doctor for advice,
      And pay him some tremendous price,
    But buy a drug that's safe and sure--
      In fact, get Blank's Consumptive Cure.


    He led her out across the sand,
      And by her side did sit:
    He asked to hold her little hand,
      She sweetly answered, "Nit."


    Have you ever mused in silence upon a summer's day
      And let your thoughts run riot and your feelings have full sway,
    As you sprawled full length upon the grass in some secluded dell
      And breathed the balmy country air, and smelt the country smell?

    Then as you muse,
      And gently snooze,
    Between thinks
      You remember those jinks
    When spirits were high
      On the Fourth of July.

    There was little Willie Browning, the worst of all the boys
      Who had a sure-nuff cannon that made all kinds of noise;
    And when the cannon wouldn't go he blew into the muzzle,
      But what became of Willie's teeth has always been a puzzle.

    How the folks looked askance
      At the seats of our pants,
    When those giant skyrockets
      Went off in our pockets!
    Gee whiz!
      What fun the Fourth is!

    When the red-hot July sun began to wink the clouds away,
      We were out with whoops and shoutings to celebrate the day.
    With piece of punk in one hand and crackers in the other,
      We would troop home later in the day for linseed oil and mother.

    But our burns
      Were small concerns.
    Our hearts were light,
      Injuries slight.
    Not even a sigh
      On the Fourth of July.

    And as you lie and ponder, the thought comes home to you
      That your youngest boy now celebrates the way you used to do;
    And the mother that he bawls for to have those small wounds dressed
      Is the woman whom long years ago you swore you loved the best.

    But what funny things
      Memory brings.
    Who would have thought
      That I would be caught
    With a tear in my eye
      On the Fourth of July.


    When you're feelin' blue as ink
      An' your spirits 'gin to sink,
    Don't be weak an' take a drink
            Keep Tryin'.

    There are times when all of us
      Get riled up and start a muss,
    But there ain't no use to cuss,
            Keep Tryin'.

    When things seem to go awry,
      And the sun deserts your sky,
    Don't sit down somewhere and cry,
            Keep Tryin'.

    Everybody honors grit,
      Men who never whine a bit--
    Men who tell the world, "I'm IT"
            Keep Tryin'.

    Get a hustle on you NOW,
      Make a great, big solemn vow
    That you'll win out anyhow,
            Keep Tryin'.

    All the world's a battlefield
      Where the true man is revealed,
    But the ones who never yield
            Keep Tryin'.


    There was once a young man quite erratic
      Who lived all alone in an attic,
    He wrote magazine verse
      That made editors curse,
    But his friends thought it fine and dramatic.


    A seedy young man in Savanah
      Fell in love with a rich girl named Anna,
    But her papa got mad
      And swore that "By Gad,
    The fellow shall never Havana!"

    But the couple eloped to Caracas,
      Where the Germans kicked up such a fracas;
    And he said to his wife,
      "You can bet your sweet life
    That papa dear never will track us."


    Maud Muller on a summer's day,
      Raked the meadows, sweet with hay.
    Nor was this just a grand-stand play;
      Maud got a rake-off, so they say.


    A cat duet.
      A silhouette.
    A high brick wall,
      An awful squall.
    A moonlit night,
      A mortal fight.
    A man in bed,
      Sticks out his head.
    Gee Whiz!
      The man has riz.
    His arm draws back
      A big bootjack--
    A loud swish,
    "What's that?"
      A dead cat.


    Beware the Sissy Boy my child,
      Not because he's very wild;
    The Sissy Boy is never that,
      Although he'll run if you say "Scat!"
    The Sissy Boy's infinitesimal,
      He is not worth a duodecimal.

    If you should take a custard pie
      And hit a Sissy in the eye,
    He would not go before a jury,
      He'd only blush and say "Oh Fury!"
    For he is perfumed, sweet and mild,
      That's just his kind, my dearest child.

    One should never strike a Sissy,
      He is too lady-like and prissy.
    You do not need to use your fist
      But merely slap him on the wrist,
    And if this will not make him budge,
      Then glare at him and say "Oh Fudge!"

    The Sissy sports a pink cravat
      And often wears a high silk hat;
    His voice is like a turtle dove's
      And he always wears the "cutest" gloves.
    At playing ping-pong he's inured,
      And his finger-nails are manicured.

    He uses powder on his face
      And his handkerchiefs are trimmed with lace;
    He loves to play progressive euchre
      And spend his papa's hard-earned lucre.
    He wears an air of nonchalance
      And always takes in every dance.

    Socially, he's quite a pet
      And always fashionably in debt.
    He hates to be considered slow
      And poses as a famous beau.
    He loves to cut a swath and dash
      When papa dear puts up the cash.

    This, my child, is the Sissy Boy
      Who acts so womanly and coy.
    His head's as soft as new-made butter;
      His aim in life is just to flutter;
    Yet he goes along with unconcern
      And marries a woman with money to burn.


    I never saw a purple cow,
      You say you never saw one;
    But this I'll tell you anyhow,
      I know that I can draw one.


    Lobsters haven't any feet,
      But they have lots of claws;
    Yet lobster meat is good to eat,
      And this is strange, because--
    A dog is never good to eat,
      And yet a dog has paws,
    And so have cats, and so have rats
      And so have other kind of brats.

    A lobster then, so to speak,
      Is, my child, an awful freak;
    For if you get him in a stew,
      He'll blush quite red and glare at you.
    Yet if you eat much lobster salad,
      It will make you very pallid.


    A funny thing once happened to a German from Berlin,
      For once he got too gay and seized a swordfish by the fin,
    This made the big fish angry, and he sawed the German's chin.
      "Just Tell Them That I Saw You" said the swordfish with a grin.


    There once was an old crocodile
      Who lived on the banks of the Nile.
    One day, for a meal,
      He swallowed a wheel,
    And ate for dessert, an automobile.


    (What the Little Boy Thought.)

    If I had wings just like a bird
      Do you know what I'd do?
    I'd fly way up into the sky
      An' holler down at you.

    I'd fly along the Milky Way
      Feelin' fine and chipper,
    An' then I'd drink some buttermilk
      Fresh from out the Dipper.

    I'd skim along through fleecy clouds,
      An' see the great, Big Bear
    An' ask him how he liked to live
      So high up in the air.

    Wouldn't it be dandy
      To fly just when you please,
    An' go an' ask the Dog-star
      If he worried much with fleas?

    I'd do all kinds of other things
      If I could only fly,
    But I am just a little boy
      An' so I dassn't try.


    Said Sue to her suitor:
      "You'll get a new suit, or
    I'll sue for a suitor to suit."
      "Why Sue," said her suitor
    Who tried hard to suit her,
      "Your suitor is suited to suit."


    (After Walt Whitman.)

    That light, that white, that weird, uncanny substance we call snow
      Is slowly sifting through the bare branches--and ever and anon
    My thoughts sift with the drifting snow, and I am full of pale regret.
      Yes, full of pale regret and other things--you know what I mean.
    And why? Because the snow must go; the time has came to part.
      Yes, it cannot wait much longer--like the flakes my thoughts are melting
    'Tis here, 'tis there, in fact, 'tis everywhere--the snow I mean.
      Like the thick syrup which covers buckwheat cakes it lies.

    The man who says he don't regret its passing also lies.
      And wilt thou never come again? Yes, thou ilt never come again. Alas!
    How well I remember thee! 'Twas but yesterday, methinks.
      When a great daub of snow fell from a nearby housetop
    And when I ventured--poor foolish mortal that I was--to look,
      Caught me fairly in the mouth (an awful swat) and nearly smothered me.
    There is another little trick of thine, most lovely snow--
      It is but a proof of thine affection to cling around our necks,
    But still we swear--we cannot help it, Snow.
      Now it is "Skidoo," or "23 for you." Oh, cursed inconstancy of man!


    O a fat turkey gobbler once sat on a limb
      And he sighed at the wind, and the wind sighed at him.
    But the grief of the gobbler one could not diminish,
      For it was Thanksgiving and he saw his finish.
    So the heart of the gobbler was heavy as lead
      And he muttered the words of the poet who said:
    "Backward, turn backward, O Time in thy flight,
      Make me a boy again, just for to-night!"


    Sprig, Sprig--Oh lovely Sprig!
      Oh, hast thou cub to stay?
    Add wilt the little birdies sig
      Throughout the livelog day?
    What bessage dost thou brig to be,
      Fair Lady of by dreabs--
    Dost whisper of the babblig brook
      Ad fishig poles ad streabs?

    Those happy days have cub agaid,
      The sweetest of the year,
    Whed bad cad raise ad appetite
      Ad wholesub thirst for beer.
    I've often thought id wudder, Sprig,
      Of how the lily grows,
    But the thig that's botherig be dow
      Is how to sprig dew clothes.

    Sprig, Sprig--Oh lovely Sprig!
      By thoughts are all of you
    I saw a robid yesterday--
      How strange it seebs--ad dew!
    I've got a dreadful cold, Fair Sprig,
      Or else I'd sig to thee
    Ad air frob Beddelssohd, perhaps,
      Or "The Shade of the Old Apple Tree."


    Ah, somewhere in another world
      There is a warmer spot,
    Where the fire is burning always.
      And always it is hot;
    And always fiends are shouting,
      And always flames are blue,
    And always Satan's asking:


    They were seated there in silence
      Each one busy with a frown,
    It was midnight in the city,
      And the lid was on the town.
    They had all been playing poker
      'Mid the rattle of the chink,
    When a gloom fell o'er the party,
      For they couldn't buy a drink,
    But a little fellow whispered
      As he held a poker hand,
    "Can't we get as drunk on water
      As we can upon the land?"
    Then we kicked the little rascal,
      And we spoke without a frown,
    And we anchored safe in harbor
      When the lid was on the town.


    Why that's a doodle bug, my child
      Who lives alone, remote and wild.
    His domicile's a hole in the ground
      And when at home he's easily found.
    The only plan allowed by law
      Is to lure him forth upon a straw,
    For the doodle bug is a misanthrope
      And otherwise is sure to elope.


    I hate the fellow who sits around
      And knocks the livelong day--
    Who tells of the work he might have done;
      If things had come his way.
    But I love the fellow who pushes ahead
      And smiles at his work or play--
    You can wager when things do come around,
      They will come his way--and stay.


    What a difference in the morning
      When you try to raise your head;
    When your eyelids seem so heavy
      You could swear they were of lead;
    When your tongue is thickly coated
      And you have an awful thirst;
    When you drink so much cold water
      That you feel about to burst;
    When you lift your hand towards heaven
      And solemnly do say:
    "I'm going to 'cut out' drinking
      And I'll swear off right to-day."


    I never walk along the street
      Because I haven't any feet;
    Nor is this strange when I repeat
      That I am but a garden beet.


    'Twas on the f-f-f-first of April D-D-Day,
      W-w-w-when Nature s-s-smiled and all w-w-was gay,
    And I--w-w-why I was in a w-w-whirl,
      'C-c-cause I w-w-was w-w-walking w-w-with my g-g-girl.

    We w-w-wandered through a leafless w-w-wood
      W-w-where many giant oak-t-t-trees s-s-stood,
    And p-p-paused beside a d-d-dark g-g-green pool
      And sat d-d-down on a rustic s-s-stool.

    T-t-then out I s-s-spoke in accents b-b-bold,
      And all m-m-my l-love for her I t-t-told.
    She answered w-w-with a sweet, s-s-hy g-g-glance
      That pierced m-m-my h-h-heart like C-C-Cupid's l-lance.

    I seized her in a t-t-tight embrace,
      And s-s-showered k-k-kisses on her f-f-face,
    And t-t-told her that I'd g-g-give my l-life
      If she would only b-b-be my w-w-wife.

    "Please k-k-keep your l-l-life," the m-m-maid replied
      "F-f-for I w-w-will gladly b-b-be your b-b-bride,
    And y-y-you" she s-s-said, in t-t-tones quite c-c-cool,
      "W-w-why you c-c-can b-b-be my April F-F-Fool."


    Mary had a little lamb,
      The lamb was always buttin'
    So Mary killed the little lamb
      And turned him into mutton.


    There was a girl in our town
      Who dearly loved to flirt,
    But the home folks never noticed it at all.
      The women in the neighborhood
    All said she was too pert,
      But she never even noticed them at all.

    One night a young man came to call
      Who was considered slow,
    But when he got alone with her,
      He turned the lights down low.
    He begged her for a little kiss,
      She softly murmured "No,"
    But you couldn't hardly notice it at all.


    With a clatter and a jangle,
      And a wrangle and a screech,
    How the old alarm clock wheezes
      As it sneezes out of reach!
    How you groan and yawn and stretch
      In the chilly morning air,
    As you pull the blankets tight,
      With your head clear out of sight--
    How you swear!


    Old Mother Hubbard
      She went to the cupboard,
    To find a nice bone for her dog.
      But when she got there
    The cupboard was bare,
      And now they are both on the hog.


    I knew a young man so conceited
      That a glance at his face made you heated.
    One night, playing whist,
      He was slapped on the wrist,
    Because some one said that he cheated.


    An impudent Barbary ape
      Once tried on a lady's new cape.
    As he gave a big grin,
      The lady came in,
    And--his children are still wearing crepe.


    Take up the household burden,
      No iron rule of kings,
    But make your family understand
      That you are running things,
    Don't storm around and bluster,
      And don't get mad and swear
    If in the soup is floating--
      A rag and a hank of hair.

    Take up the household burden
      In patience to abide,
    To curse the irate grocer
      And make your wife confide
    By open speech and simple
      And hundred times made plain
    How she has sought to profit
      In spending all you gain.

    Take up the household burden--
      The little baby boy,
    And walk the floor in anguish
      And don't let it annoy.
    For when the kid seems sleepy
      And you are feeling "sold,"
    There comes a cry from baby boy
      That makes your blood run cold.

    Take up the household burden
      And try and be a man,
    Just simply grin and bear it
      And do the best you can.
    Come now and try your manhood
      And let the future go,
    And listen to your elders--
      They've tried it and they know.


    A young girl stands
      Upon the sands,
    And waves her hands--

    A fresh young man
      With shoes of tan,
    Looks spick and span--

    They walk the beach,
      She seems a peach
    Just out of reach--

    Ah what is this?
      A sound of bliss
    A kiss, a kiss--

    A father lean
      Upon the scene,
    Looks awful mean--


    Here's to dear Ould Ireland,
      Here's to the Irish lass,
    Here's to Dennis and Mike and Pat,
      Here's to the sparkling glass.
    Here's to the Irish copper,
      He may be green all right,
    But you bet he's Mickie on the spot
      Whenever it comes to a fight.
    Here's to Robert Emmet, too,
      And here's to our dear Tom Moore.
    Here's to the Irish shamrock,
      Here's to the land we adore.


    (By A. Turkey Gobbler.)

    I'm just a turkey gobbler,
      But I've got a word to say
    And I'd like to say it quickly
      Before I pass away,
    For I will get it in the neck
      Upon Thanksgiving Day.

    I cannot keep from thinking
      Of poor Marie Antoinette,
    She lost her head completely,
      But this is what I'll get--
    They'll knock the stuffin' out o' me
      Without the least regret.

    I've just a few days left now
      Before I meet my fate,
    For every turkey gets the axe,
      The little and the great.
    There never was a turkey born
      Who didn't fill a plate.

    Only three days left now,
      Goodness, how time flies!
    It brings a sadness to my heart
      And teardrops to my eyes.
    Does every turkey feel that way
      Three days before he dies?

    This is a very cruel world
      (I'm talking sober facts),
    For I was only raised to be
      The victim of an axe--
    The butt of all your silly jokes,
      And all your funny cracks.

    And when you sit down Thursday
      How happy you will be,
    Every person gathered there
      Will eat enough for three.
    I'll be the guest of honor
      'Cause that dinner is on ME.


    I'm the ghost of that poor gobbler
      Who used to be so great,
    They took my poor, neglected bones
      And piled them on a plate.
    Reader, shed a kindly tear
      For my unhappy fate.

    This is the common lot of all
      Upon the world's great chart;
    We've got to leave a pile of bones--
      The stupid and the smart.
    Even when Napoleon died
      He left a Bonaparte.

    We are merely puppets
      Moving on a string,
    And when we think that we are IT,
      The axe will fall--"Gezing!"
    O, Grave, where is thy victory?
      O, Death, where is thy sting?


    (After Ben King, Dedicated to E. Jesse Conway.)

    If I were City Editor
      And you should come to my cold desk and choke,
    And say, "Old man I'm actually dead broke."
      I say, if I were City Editor,
    And you should come in deepest grief and woe
      And say, "Oh Lordy let me have the dough,"
    I might arise with slow and solemn wink
      And lecture you upon the curse of drink.

    If I were City Editor
      And you should come to my hotel and reel,
    Clasping my beer to quench the thirst you feel,
      I say if I were City Editor
    And you should come in trembling and in fear
      And even hint about licking up that beer,
    I'd hit you just one swat, and then,
      I guess I'd have to order one more bier.


    What is transcendentalism?
      Merely sentimentalism
    With a dash of egotism
      Somewhat mixed with mysticism.
    Not at all like Socialism,
      Nor a bit like Atheism,
    Hinges not on pessimism,
      Treats of man's asceticism,
    Quite opposes anarchism.
      Can't you name another "Ism?"
    Yes, it's transcendentalism.


    (Man's Inhumanity to Hogs Makes Countless Thousands Squeal.)

    I lived upon a little farm,
      A happy hog was I,
    I never dreamed of any harm
      Nor ever thought to die.

    All day I wallowed in the mud,
      And ate the choicest slops.
    I watched the brindles chew their cud--
      The farmer tend his crops.

    Upon the hottest days I'd go
      And flounder in the river--
    I thought that hogs might come and go,
      But I would live forever.

    Then finally I waxed so fat
      That I could hardly walk,
    And then the farmers gather 'round
      And all began to talk.

    I couldn't understand a word,
      All I did was grunt;
    You see that's all a hog can do--
      It is his only stunt.

    But finally they took me out
      And put me on a train.
    I really couldn't move about
      And squealed with might and main.

    I grunted, grunted as I flew
      And moved in vain endeavor,
    But even then I thought it true
      That I would live forever.

    And so we came to Packingtown
      Where there were hogs galore,
    I never saw so many hogs
      In all my life before.

    Then we had to shoot the chutes
      And climb a flight of stairs,
    We never had a chance to stop
      Or time to say our prayers.

    Loud-squealing hogs above, below
      They formed a seething river,
    For men may come and men may go
      But hogs go on forever.

    And then I saw an iron wheel
      Which stood alone in state,
    And then I heard an awful squeal--
      A hog had met his fate.

    A devilish chain upon the wheel
      Had seized him by the leg;
    It was no use to kick and squeal,
      It was no use to beg.

    I longed in deepest grief and woe
      To leave that brimming river;
    If once into that room you go
      Your fate is sealed forever.

    Farewell, Farewell, a long farewell,
      Around the room I spin,
    And then a fellow with a knife
      Smites me below the chin.


    Dear reader I was just a hog,
      But O it's awful hard
    To die disgraced, and then to be--
      Turned into "Pure Leaf Lard."


    (A Response to Judge Mulligan's Famous Toast.)

    The moonlight may be softest
      In Kentucky,
    And summer days come oftest
      In Kentucky,
    But friendship is the strongest
      When the money lasts the longest
    Or you sometimes get in wrongest
      In Kentucky.

    Sunshine is the brightest
      In Kentucky,
    And a right is often rightest
      In Kentucky,
    While plain girls are the fewest,
      They work their eyes the truest,
    They leave a fellow bluest
      In Kentucky.

    All debts are treated lightest
      In Kentucky,
    So make your home the brightest
      In Kentucky,
    If you have the social entree
      You need never think of pay,
    Or, at least, that's what they say
      In Kentucky.

    Orators are the proudest
      In Kentucky,
    And they always talk the loudest
      In Kentucky.
    While boys may be the fliest,
      Their money is the shyest,
    They carry bluffs the highest
      In Kentucky.

    Pedigrees are longest
      In Kentucky,
    Family trees the strongest
      In Kentucky.
    For blue blood is a pride,
      But, if you've ever tried
    You'll find 'sporting blood' inside
      In Kentucky.

    Society is exclusive
      In Kentucky,
    So do not be intrusive
      In Kentucky.
    If you want the right of way,
      And have the coin to pay,
    You'll be in the swim to stay
      In Kentucky.

    The race track's all the money
      In Kentucky,
    But don't you go there, sonny
      In Kentucky.
    For, while thoroughbreds are fleetest,
      They get your coin the neatest,
    And leave you looking seediest
      In Kentucky.

    Short-skates are the thickest
      In Kentucky,
    They spot a sucker quickest
      In Kentucky.
    They'll set up to a drink,
      Get your money 'fore you think,
    And you get the "dinky dink"
      In Kentucky.

    If you want to be fraternal
      In Kentucky,
    Just call a fellow "Colonel"
      In Kentucky,
    Or, give a man a nudge
      And say, "How are you, Judge?"
    For they never call that "fudge"
      In Kentucky.

    But when you have tough luck
      In Kentucky,
    In other words "get stuck"
      In Kentucky,
    Just raise your voice and holler
      And you'll always raise a dollar,
    While a drink is sure to follow
      In Kentucky.

    'Tis true that birds sing sweetest
      In Kentucky,
    That women folk are neatest
      In Kentucky,
    But there are things you shouldn't tell
      About our grand old State--and, well--
    Politics is h----l
      In Kentucky.


    The Incubus.

    The way was dark within the gloomy church-yard,
      As I wandered through the woodland near the stream,
    With slow and heavy tread
      Through a city of the dead,
    When suddenly I heard a dreadful scream.

    My heart gave frantic leap, as when the roebuck
      Is started by the clamor of the chase,
    And I halted all atremble
      In the vain hope to dissemble,
    Or cloak the leaden pallor on my face.

    'Twas in the ghostly month of grim December,
      The frozen winds were bitter in their cry
    And I muttered half aloud
      To that white and silent crowd:
    "'Tis a somber month to live in or to die."

    And then as if in answer to my whisper,
      Came a voice of some foul fiend from Hell:
    "No longer live say I,
      'Tis better far to die
    And let the falling snow-flakes sound the knell."

    Perched upon a tombstone sat the creature
      Grewsome as an unquenched, burning lust.
    Sitting livid there
      With an open-coffin stare--
    A stare that seemed the mocking of the just.

    And in my thoughts the dreadful thing is sitting--
      Sitting there with eyelids red and blear,
    And see it there I will
      'Til my restless soul is still
    And the earth-clods roll and rumble on my bier.


    In days gone by, the poets wrote
      Sweet verses to the ladies fair;
    Described the nightingale's clear note,
      Or penned an Ode to Daphne's hair.

    To dare all for a woman's smile
      Or breathe one's heart out in a rose--
    Such trifles now are out of style,
      The scented manuscript must close.

    Yet Villon wrote his roundelays,
      And that sweet singer Horace;
    But I will sing of other days
      In praise of Clara Morris.

    Youth is but the joy of life,
      Not the eternal moping;
    We get no happiness from strife
      Nor yet by blindly groping.

    All the world's a stage you know
      The men and women actors;
    A little joy, a little woe--
      These are but human factors.

    The mellow days still come and go,
      The earth is full of beauty;
    If we would only think it so,
      Life is not all a duty.

    And you are young in heart not years,
      Is this not true because
    You mingle happiness with tears
      And do not look for flaws?

    Your silver hair is but the snow
      That drifts above the roses,
    And though the years may come and go
      They can but scatter posies.


    (Mrs. Jefferson Davis, widow of the President of the Southern
    Confederacy died October 16, 1906.)

    Oh weep fair South, and bow thy head
      For one is gone beyond recall!
    Cast flowers on the sainted dead
      Who sleeps beneath a funeral pall.
      To the sound of muffled drum,
      To the sound of muffled drum.

    She saw a noble husband's fame
      Grow more enduring with the years,
    And in the land his honored name
      Loom brighter through a mist of tears,
      But the sound of muffled drum!
      O the sound of muffled drum!

    Our fate is but to meet and part
      Upon Life's dark and troubled sea,
    Yet recollection stirs the heart,
      Of men in gray who used to be,
      But the sound of muffled drum!
      O the sound of muffled drum!

    Brave South, 'tis but a moment's pause
      E'er on that dim and distant shore,
    The heroes of thy Fallen Cause
      Will meet again to part no more
      To the sound of muffled drum.
      To the sound of muffled drum.


    A college professor one day
      Was fishing in Chesapeake Bay;
    Said a crab to his mate,
      "Let's kick off the bait,
    This business is too old to pay."


    The list is long, the stories read the same;
      Strong mortal man is but a flesh-hued toy;
    Some have their ending in a life of shame;
      Others drink deeply from the glass of joy;
    Some see the cup dashed dripping from their lip
      Or drinking, find the wine has turned to gall,
    While others taste the sweets they fain would sip
      And then Death comes--the sequel to it all.

    TO POE.

    You lived in a land horror-haunted,
      And wrote with a pen half-divine;
    You drank bitter sorrow, undaunted
      And cast precious pearls before swine.


    May the day that gave Christ birth
      Bring you boundless joy and mirth,
    Fill the golden hours with gladness,
      Raise no thought to cause you sadness.


    Far back within an age remote,
      Which common history fails to note,
    When dogs could talk, and pigs could sing,
      And frogs obeyed a wooden king,
    There lived a tribe of rats so mean,
      That such a set was never seen.
    For during all the livelong day
      They fought and quarrelled in the hay,
    And then at night they robbed the mice,
      Who always were so kind and nice.
    They stole their bread, they stole their meat,
      And all the jam they had to eat;
    They gobbled up their pies and cake,
      And everything the mice could bake;
    They stuffed themselves with good fresh meal,
      And ruined all they could not steal;
    They slapped their long tails in the butter
      Until they made a frightful splutter;
    Then, sleek and fine in coats of silk,
      They swam about in buttermilk.
    They ate up everything they found,
      And flung the plates upon the ground.
    And catching three mice by their tails,
      They drowned them in the water-pails;
    Then seeing it was morning light,
      They scampered home with all their might.
    The mouse-tribe living far and near,
      At once this awful thing did hear,
    And all declared with cries of rage,
      A war against the rats they'd wage.
    The mouse-king blew a trumpet blast,
      And soon the mice came thick and fast
    From every place, in every manner,
      And crowded round the royal banner.
    Each had a sword, a bow and arrow;
      Each felt as brave as any sparrow,
    And promised, in the coming fight,
      To die or put the rats to flight.
    The king put on a coat of mail,
      And tied a bow-knot to his tail;
    He wore a pistol by his side,
      And on a bull-frog he did ride.
    "March on!" he cried. And, hot and thick,
      His army rushed, in double quick.
    And hardly one short hour had waned,
      Before the ranks the rat-camp gained,
    With sounding drum and screaming fife,
      Enough to raise the dead to life.
    The rats, awakened by the clatter,
      Rushed out to see what was the matter,
    Then down the whole mouse-army flew,
      And many thieving rats it slew.
    The mice hurrahed, the rats they squealed,
      And soon the dreadful battle-field
    Was blue with smoke and red with fire,
      And filled with blood and savage ire.
    The rats had eaten so much jam,
      So many pies and so much ham,
    And were so fat and sick and swollen
      With all the good things they had stolen
    That they could neither fight nor run;
      And so the mice the battle won.
    They threw up rat-fur in the air;
      They piled up rat-tails everywhere;
    And slaughtered rats bestrewed the ground
      For ten or twenty miles around.
    The rat-king galloped from the field
      When all the rest were forced to yield;
    But though he still retained his skin,
      He nearly fainted with chagrin,
    To think that in that bloody tide
      So many of his rats had died.
    Fierce anger blazed within his breast;
      He would not stop to eat or rest;
    But spurring up his fiery steed,
      He seized a sharp and trusty reed--
    Then, wildly shouting, rushed like hail
      To cut off little mouse-king's tail.
    The mouse-king's face turned red with passion
      To see a rat come in such fashion,
    For he had just that minute said
      That every thieving rat was dead.
    The rat was scared, and tried to run,
      And vowed that he was just in fun;
    But nought could quell the mouse-king's fury--
      He cared not then for judge or jury;
    And with his sharp and quivering spear,
      He pierced the rat right through the ear.
    The rat fell backward in the clover,
      Kicked up his legs, and all was over.
    The mice, with loud and joyful tones,
      Now gathered all the bad rats' bones,
    And with them built a pyramid,
      Down which their little children slid.
    And after that eventful day
      The mice in peace and joy could play,
    For now no wicked rats could steal
      Their cakes and jam and pies and meal,
    Nor catch them by their little tails,
      And drown them in the water-pails.

          [1] Written by the author's father, the late George W. Ranck. It
          first appeared in St. Nicholas and is reprinted by permission of
          The Century Company.

    Things Worth While.

    To sit and dream in a shady nook
    While the phantom clouds roll by;
    To con some long-remembered book
    When the pulse of youth beats high.

    To thrill when the dying sunset glows
    Through the heart of a mystic wood,
    To drink the sweetness of some wild rose,
    And to find the whole world good.

    To bring unto others joy and mirth,
    And keep what friends you can;
    To learn that the rarest gift on earth
    Is the love of your fellow man.

    To hold the respect of those you know,
    To scorn dishonest pelf;
    To sympathize with another's woe,
    And just be true to yourself.

    To find that a woman's honest love
    In this great world of strife
    Gleams steadfast like a star, above
    The dark morass of life.

    To feel a baby's clinging hand,
    To watch a mother's smile;
    To dwell once more in fairyland--
    These are the things worth while.

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