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Title: Pine Tree Ballads - Rhymed Stories of Unplaned Human Natur' up in Maine
Author: Day, Holman F.
Language: English
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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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PINE TREE BALLADS

Rhymed Stories of Unplaned Human Natur’ Up in Maine

By Holman F. Day

Boston: Small, Maynard & Company

1902

[Illustration: 0001]

[Illustration: 0006]

[Illustration: 0007]

  TO THE HONORABLE
  JOHN ANDREW PETERS, LL.D.
  FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE OF
  THE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT OF MAINE
  I DEDICATE THIS VOLUME
  IN MEMORY OF MANY YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP
  AND IN SINCERE APPRECIATION
  OF THE JURIST AND WIT
  WHO HAS IN ALL DIGNITY
  EVER TURNED A SMILING FACE TOWARD HIS MAINE
  THAT HAS SMILED LOVINGLY BACK AT HIM



FOREWORD

T_HESE are plain tales of picturesque character-phases in Maine
Yankeedom from the Allegash to the ocean. These are the men whose hands
are blistered by plow-handle and ax, or whose calloused palms are gouged
by the trawls. Their heads are as hard as the stones piled around their
acres. Their wit is as keen as the bush-scythes with which they trim
their rough pastures. But their hearts are as soft as the feather beds
in their spare-rooms.

The frontispiece to this volume is from a photograph of “Uncle Solon”
 Chase, the widely known sage of Chase’s Mills in Andros-coggin county.
In Greenback days he won national fame as “Them Steers” and his quaint
sayings have traveled from the Atlantic to the Pacific. There is no man
in Maine who better typifies the homespun humor, honesty, and
intelligence of Yankeedom. The picture opposite page 126 is from a
photograph of the late Ezra Stephens of Oxford county, famed years ago
as “the P. T. Barnum of Maine.” He originated the dancing turkey, the
wonderful bird that appears in the story of “Ozy B. Orr.”
 In another picture is shown “Jemimy” at her old loom and beside her are
the swifts and the spinning wheel. The pictures illustrating “Elkanah
B. Atkinson” (a poem commemorating a real episode in the life of Barney
McGonldrick of Cherry field Tavern) and “John W. Jones” are character
studies that will appeal to those who are acquainted with Maine rural
life.

The thanks of the author and of the publish-ers are due to The Saturday
Evening Post of Philadelphia, The Youth’s Companion, Ainslee’s Magazine,
and Everybody’s Magazine, for permission to include in this volume
verses which originally appeared in their columns, copyrighted by them._


PINE TREE BALLADS


OUR HOME FOLKS


FEEDIN’ THE STOCK

               Hear the chorus in that tie-up, runch, ger-

                   runch, and runch and runch!

               --There’s a row of honest critters! Does me

                   good to hear ’em munch.

               When the barn is gettin’ dusky and the sun’s

                   behind the drifts,

               --Touchin’ last the gable winder where the
                   dancin’ hay-dust sifts,

               When the coaxin’ from the tie-up kind o’ hints
                   it’s five o’clock--

               Wal, I’ve got a job that suits me--that’s the
                   chore of feedin’ stock.

               We’ve got patches down to our house--honest
                   patches, though, and neat,

               But we’d rather have the patches than to skinch
                   on what we eat.

               Lots of work, and grub to back ye--that’s a
                   mighty wholesome creed.

               --Critters fust, s’r, that’s my motto--give the
                   critters all they need. ‘

               And the way we do at our house, marm and
                   me take what is left,

               And--wal,--we ain’t goin’ hungry, as you’ll
                   notice by our heft.

               Drat the man that’s calculatin’ when he meas-
                   ures out his hay,

               Groanin’ ev’ry time he pitches ary forkful out
                   the bay;

               Drat the man who feeds out ruff-scuff, wood
                   and wire from the swale,

               ’Cause he wants to press his herds’-grass, send
                   his clover off for sale.

               Down to our house we wear patches, but it
                   ain’t nobody’s biz

               Jest as long as them ’ere critters git the best of
                   hay there is.

               When the cobwebs on the rafters drip with
                   winter’s early dusk

               And the rows of critters’ noses, damp with
                   breath as sweet as musk,

               Toss and tease me from the tie-up--ain’t a job
                   that suits me more

               Than the feedin’ of the cattle--that’s the reg’-
                   lar wind-up chore.

               When I grain ’em or I meal ’em--wal, there’s
                   plenty in the bin,

               And I give ’em quaker measure ev’ry time I
                   dip down in;

               And the hay, wal, now I’ve cut it, and I own
                   it and it’s mine

               And I jab that blamed old fork in, till you’d
                   think I’d bust a tine.

               I ain’t doin’ it for praises--no one sees me but
                   the pup,

               --And I get his apperbation, ‘cause he pounds
                   his tail, rup, rup!

               No, I do it ‘cause I want to; ‘cause I couldn’t
                   sleep a wink,

               If I thought them poor dumb critters lacked for
                   fodder or for drink.

               And to have the scufflin’ barnful give a jolly
                   little blat

               When you open up o’ mornin’s, ah, there’s com-
                   fort, friend, in that!

               And you’ve prob’ly sometimes noticed, when
                   his cattle hate a man,

               That it’s pretty sure his neighbors size him up
                   on that same plan.

               But I’m solid in my tie-up; when I’ve finished
                   up that chore,

               I enjoy it standin’ list’nin’ for a minit at the
                   door.

               And the rustle of the fodder and the nuzzlin’
                   in the meal

               And the runchin’s of their feedin’ make this
                   humble feller feel

               That there ain’t no greater comfort than this
                   ’ere--to understand

               That a dozen faithful critters owe their com-
                   fort to my hand.

               Oh, the dim old barn seems homelike, with its
                   overhanging mows,

               With its warm and battened tie-up, full of well-
                   fed sheep and cows.

               Then I shet the door behind me, drop the bar
                   and drive the pin

               And, with Jeff a-waggin’ after, lug the foamin’
                   milk pails in.

               That’s the style of things to our house--marm
                   and me we don’t pull up

               Until ev’ry critter’s eatin’, from the cattle to
                   the pup.

               Then the biskits and the spare-rib and plum
                   preserves taste good,

               For we’re feelin’, me and mother, that we’re
                   actin’’bout’s we should.

               Like as can be, after supper mother sews an-
                   other patch

               And she says the duds look trampy, ’cause she
                   ain’t got goods to match.

               Fust of all, though, comes the mealbins and
                   the hay-mows; after those

               If there’s any extry dollars, wal, we’ll see about
                   new clothes.

               But to-night, why, bless ye, mother, pull the
                   rug acrost the door;

               --Warmth and food and peace and comfort--
                   let’s not pester God for more.


JOHN W. JONES

[Illustration: 0025]

               A sort of a double-breasted face had old John
                   W. Jones,

               Reddened and roughened by sun and wind,
                   with angular high cheek-bones.

               At the fair, one time, of the Social Guild he re-
                   ceived unique renown

               By being elected unanimously the homeliest
                   man in town.

               The maidens giggled, the women smiled, the
                   men laughed loud and long,

               And old John W. leaned right back and ho-
                   hawed good and strong.

               And never was jest too broad for him--for all
                   of the quip and chaff

               That assailed his queer old mug through life
                   he had but a hearty laugh.

               “Ho, ho”, he’d snort, “haw, haw”, he’d roar;
                   “that’s me, my friends, that’s me!

               Now hain’t that the most skew-angled phiz
                   that ever ye chanced to see?”

               And then he would tell us this little tale.

               “’Twas one dark night”, said he,

               “I was driving along in a piece of woods and
                   there wasn’t a ray to see,

               And all to once my cart locked wheels with
                   another old chap’s cart;

               We gee-ed and backed but we hung there fast,
                   and neither of us could start.

               Then the stranger man he struck a match, to
                   see how he’d git away,

               And I vum, he had the homeliest face I’ve seen
                   for many a day.

               Wal, jest for a joke I grabbed his throat and
                   pulled my pipe-case out,

               And the stranger reckoned I had a gun, and he
                   wrassled good and stout.

               But I got him down on his back at last and
                   straddled acrost his chest,

               And allowed to him that he’d better plan to
                   go to his last long rest.

               He gasped and groaned he was poor and old
                   and hadn’t a blessed cent,

               And almost blubbering asked to know what
                   under the sun I meant.

               Said I, ‘I’ve sworn if I meet a man that’s
                   homelier ’n what I be,

               I’ll kill him. I reckin I’ve got the man.’ Says
                   he, ‘Please let me see?’

               So I loosened a bit while he struck a match;
                   he held it with trembling hand

               While through the tears in his poor old eyes
                   my cross-piled face he scanned.

               Then he dropped the match and he groaned
                   and said, ‘If truly ye think that I

               Am ha’f as homely as what you be--please
                   shoot! I want to die.’”

               And the story always would start the laugh
                   and Jones would drop his jaw,

               And lean’way back and slap his leg and
                   laugh,

               “Ho, haw--haw--haw-w-w!”
                         That was Jones,
                        --John W. Jones,

               Queer, Gothic old structure of cob-piled bones;
                        His droll, red face
                        Had not a trace

               Of comeliness or of special grace;

               But I tell you, friends, that candor glowed
                        In those true old eyes--those deep old
                        eyes,

               And love and faith and manhood showed
                        Without disguise--without disguise.

               Though he certainly won a just renown
               As the homeliest man we had in town.

               He never had married--that old John Jones;
                   he’d grubbed on his little patch,

               Supported his parents until they died, and then
                   he had lived “old bach”.

               We had some suspicions we couldn’t prove:
                   for years had an unknown man
               Distributed gifts to the poor in town on a sort
                   of a Santa Claus plan.

               If a worthy old widow was needing wood--
                   some night would that wood be left,

               There was garden truck placed in the barns of
                   those by mishap or drought bereft.

               And once when the night was clear and bright
                   in the glorious month of June,

               Poor broken-legged Johnson’s garden was
                   hoed in the light of the great white moon.

               And often some farmer by sickness weighed,
                   and weary, discouraged and poor,

               Would find a wad of worn old bills tucked
                   carefully under his door.

               And the tracks in the sod of this man who trod
                   by night on his secret routes

               Were suspiciously like the other tracks that
                   were left by John Jones’ boots.

               And the wheel-marks wobbled extremely like
                   the trail of Jones’ old cart,

               But whatever his mercies he hid them all in the
                   depths of his warm old heart.

               For whenever the neighbors would pin him
                   down, he’d lift his faded hat,

               “Now, say”, he’d laugh, “can a man be good
                   with a physog such as that?”

               Then came the days--the black, dread days
                   when the small-pox swept our town,

               With pest-house crowded from sill to eaves and
                   the nurses “taken down.”

               And panic reigned and the best went wild and
                   even the doctors fled,

               And scarce was there one to aid the sick or
                   bury the awful dead.

               But there in that pest house day and night a
                   man with quiet tones

               And steady heart kept still at work--and that
                   was old John Jones.

               While ever his joke was, “What! Afraid?

               Why, gracious me, I’m fine,

               And if I weren’t, a few more dents won’t harm
                   this face of mine”.

               But those who writhed and moaned in pain
                   within that loathsome place

               Saw beauty not of man and earth upon that
                   gnarled old face.

               And when he eased their pain-racked forms or
                   brought the cooling draught,

               They wondered if this saint could be the man
                   at whom they’d laughed.

               And thus he fought, unwearied, brave, until
                   the Terror passed,

               --And then, poor old John W. Jones, he had
                   the small-pox last.

               And worn by vigils, toil, and fast, the fate he
                   had defied

               Descended on him, stern and fierce,--he died,
                   my friends, he died.

               They held one service at the church for all the
                   village dead.

               The pastor, when he came to Jones, he choked
                   a bit and said:

               “If handsome is as handsome does--and now
                   I say to you

               I verily--I honestly believe that saying true.

               --If handsome is as handsome does, we had
                   right here in town

               A man whose beauty fairly shone--from
               Heaven itself brought down.

               At first, perhaps, we failed to grasp the con-
                   tour of that face,

               But now with God’s own light on it we see its
                   perfect grace.

               And so I say our handsomest man”--the pas-
                   tor hushed his tones,

               With streaming eyes looked up and said, “was
                   old John W. Jones

                        Such was Jones,

                        --John W. Jones,

               Queer, Gothic old structure of cob-piled bones;
                        His quaint, red face
                        Had not a trace

               Of comeliness or of special grace.

               But I tell you, friends, we drop this shell,
                        Just over There--just over There!

               Good thoughts, good deeds, good hearts will
                   tell
                   In moulding souls, serene and fair,

               And Jones will stand with harp and crown,
               The handsomest angel from our old town.


DEED OF THE OLD HOME PLACE

               Slowly the toil-cramped, gnarled old fist
               Wrought at the sheet with a rasping pen;
               Halted with tremulous quirk and twist,
               Staggered, and then went on again.

               The wan sun peeped through the wee patched
                        pane

                   And checkered the floor where the pale
                        beams shone

               In a quaint old kitchen up in Maine,

               With an old man writing there alone.

               And the pen wrought on and the head drooped
                   low

                   And a tear plashed down on the rusted pen,
               As it traced a verse of the long ago

                   That his grief had brought to his heart
                        again.

                   Be kind to thy father for when thou wast
                        young,
                   Who loved thee so fondly as lied
               He caught the first accents that fell from
                        thy tongue.

                   And joined in thy innocent glee.

               Be kind to thy father for now he is old,
                   His locks intermingled with gray;

               His footsteps are feeble, once fearless and
                        bold

                   Thy father is passing away.

               Be kind to thy mother for lo, on her brow,
                   May traces of sorrow be seen.

                   Oh, well mayst thou cherish and comfort
                        her now,

                   For loving and kind has she been.
                   Remember thy mother, for thee she will
                        pray
                   As long as God giveth her breath
                   With accents of kindness; then cheer her
                        hard way
                   E’en thro’ the dark valley of death.”


OUR HOME FOLKS

               Listlessly threshed in a careless court
               The poor, plain tale of a home was told,
               Furnishing food for the lawyers’ sport
               And a jest at the fond and the foolish old.
               The counsel said as he winked an eye,
               “Deeded the farm to their only son;

               And after’twas deeded they didn’t die
               Quite as quick as they should have done.”

               Drearily dragged the homely case,

               Petty and mean in all its parts;

               Quest thro’ the law for an old home place,

               --Put never a word of two broken hearts.
               Only a suit where the son and wife

               Pledged themselves when they coaxed the
                   deed,

               To comfort the close of the old folks’ life:

               --Only another case where greed
               Sneered at the toil of the long, hard years
               Of martyrdom to the hoe and axe,

               Writ in wrinkles and etched in tears

               And told in the curve of the old bent backs,
               --Bent in the strife with the rocky soil,

               When the grinding work was never done,
               With just one rift in the cloud of toil:

               --‘Twas all for the sake of their only son.
               Simply a tedious legal maze

               With neighbors stirring the thing for sport,

                   too.

               And loungers eyeing with listless gaze
               This queer old couple dragged to court.

               Meekly they would have granted greed
               All that it sought for--all its spoil;

               Little they valued a forfeit deed,

               Nor selfishly reckoned their years of toil.

               Heartsick they while the lawyers urged,

               Mute when the law vouchsafed their prayer;

               --Courts soothe not such grief as surged
               In the hearts of the old folks trembling there.

               What though the jury’s word restored
               The walls and roof of the old home place?

               Would it give them back the blessed hoard
               Of trust that knew no son’s disgrace?

               Would it give them back his boyhood smiles,
               His boyhood love, their simple joy,

               Would it heal the wounds of these afterwhiles,
               And make him again their own dear boy?

               Would it soothe the smart of the cruel words,
               Of sullen looks and cold neglect?

               And dull the taunts that pierced like swords
               And slashed where the wielders little recked?

               No; Justice gives the walls and roof,

               --To palsied hands a cancelled deed,

               Rebuking with a stern reproof
                   A son’s unfilial, shameless greed.

               But love that made that old home warm,

               And hope that made all labor sweet,

               The glow of peace that shamed the storm
               And melted on the pane the sleet;

               And faith and truth and loving hearts
               And tender trust in fellow men--

               Ah, these, my friend, no lawyers’ arts
               Can give again, can give again.


THANKSGIVIN’ JIM

               He always dodged ’round in a ragged old
                   coat,

               With a tattered, blue comforter tied on his
                   throat.

               His dusty old cart used to rattle and bang

               As he yelled through the village, “Gid dap!”
                    and “Go ’lang!”

               You’d think from his looks that he wa’n’t wuth
                   a cent;

               --Was poorer than Pooduc, to judge how he
                   went.

               But back in the country don’t reckon on style

               To give ye a notion of anyone’s pile.

               When he died and they figgered his pus’nal
                   estate,

               He was mighty well-fixed--was old “Squeal-
                   in’ Jim” Waite.

               But say, I’d advise ye to sort of look out

               How ye say “Squealin’ Jim” when the’s
                   widders about.

               They’re likely to light on ye, hot tar and pitch,

               And give ye some points as to what, where and
                   which;

               For if ever a critter was reckoned a saint

               By the widders’round here, I’ll be dinged if he
                   ain’t.

               For please understand that the widders call
                   him,

               --Sheddin’ tears while they’re sayin’ it,--
                   “Thanksgivin’ Jim”.

                   He was little--why,

                   Wa’n’t scarce knee high

               To a garden toad. But was mighty spry!

                   He was all of a whew
                   If he’d things to do!

                   ’Twas a zip and a streak when Jim went
                   through.

               But his voice was twice as big as him

               And the boys all called him “Squealin’ Jim”.

               He was always a-hurryin’ all through his life

               And said there wa’n’t time for to hunt up a
                   wife.

               So he kept bach’s hall and he worked like a
                   dog,

               --Jest whooped right along at a trottin’ hoss

                   jog-

               There’s a yarn that the fellers that knew him
                   will tell

               If they want to set Jim out and set him out
                   well:

               He was bound for the city on bus’ness one day

               And whoosh! scooted down to the depot, they
                   say.

               The depot-man says, “Hain’t no rush, Mr.
               Waite,

               For the train to the city is ten minutes late

               Off flew Squealin’ Jim with his grip, on the
                   run,

               And away down the track he went hoofin’ like
                   fun.

               When he tore out of sight, couldn’t see him
                   for dust

               And he squealed, “Train be jiggered! I’ll git
                   there, now, fust!”

               --So nervous and active he jest wouldn’t wait

               When they told him the train was a leetle dite
                   late.

                   Now that was Jim!

                   He was stubby and slim

               But it took a spry critter to step up with him.

                   His height when he’d rise

                   Made ye laugh, but his eyes

               Let ye know that his soul wasn’t much under-
                   size.

               And some old widders we had in town

               Insisted, reg’lar, he wore a crown.

               As he whoopity-larruped along on his way,

               There were people who’d turn up their noses
                   and say

               That Squealin’ Jim Waite wasn’t right in his
                   head;

               He was cranky as blazes, the old growlers said.

               I can well understand that some things he
                   would do

               Seemed loony as time to that stingy old crew.

               For a fact, there was no one jest like him in
                   town,

               He was most always actin’ the part of a clown;

               He would say funny things in his queer,
                   squealin’ style,

               And he talked so’s you’d hear him for more
                   than a mile.

               But ev’ry Thanksgivin’ time Waite he would
                   start

               And clatter through town in his rattlin’ old
                   cart,

               And what do ye s’pose? He would whang
                   down the street,

               Yank up at each widder’s; from under the seat

               Would haul out a turkey of yaller-legged chick
               And holler, “Here, mother, h’ist out with ye,
                   quick!”

               Then he’d toss down a bouncer right into her
                   lap

               And belt off like fury with, “G’long, there!
               Gid dap!”

               Didn’t wait for no thanks--couldn’t work ’em
                   on him,

               --Couldn’t catch him to thank him--that
               Thanksgivin’ Jim.

                   ’Twas a queer idee
                   ’Round town that he

               Was off’n his balance and crazy’s could be.
                   They’d set and chaw
                   And stew and jaw,

               And projick on what he did it for.

               But prob’ly in Heaven old Squealin’ Jim
               Found lots of crazy folks jest like him.


“OLD POSH”

               Cheerful crab was that old Posh,

               --Warn’t afflicted much with dosh,

               --Fact, he worked round sawin’ wood,
               Earnin’ what few cents he could,

               Got that name o’ Posh in fun;

               Dad had named him Washington;

               Children got to call him “Wash.”
                Then at last ’twas jest “Old Posh.”
                That’s the way you knew, a name
               Sort of fits itself with fame:

               If he’d growed some great big gun.
               Would have called him Washington.
               But “Old Posh” was just as good
               For a poor chap sawin’ wood.

               Critter never made no talk.

               --Made his old saw screak and scrawk,
               Earnt his dollar’n ten a day.

               --Didn’t leave much time for play.

               Had a wife and boys to keep,

               Reelly had to skinch his sleep.

               I’ve been out sir, late at night
               Seen him at it good and tight.

               Where he’d took it to be sawed
               At a dollar’n ten a cord.

               And I’d say. Ye’re at it late.”

               Then he’d grunt himself up straight.
               Slick his for’ead clear of sweat
               And he’d say. “Wal, you jest bet!
               Bankin’ hours don’t jibe in good
               With this job cf sawin’ wood.

               Still, when this ’ere don’t suit me
               I kin go and climb a tree.”

               That’s the crack he allus sent;

               --I donno jest what he meant--

               Likely’nough, sir, even he
               Didn’t have no clear idee.

               Still it seemed to fix the thing;

               --He’d commence to saw and sing,

               ’S if at anytime he could
               Git clean shet of sawin’ wood.

               So he worked, s’r, all his life,

               Kept his children and his wife;

               Boys amount to more’n you’d suppose
               --Got good jobs and wear good clothes.
               If they’d turned out shiftless, gosh,
               Never’d took the thing from Posh!

               Posh, he died at seventy-one,

               --Worked right up till set of sun.

               Sawed his reg’lar cord that day,

               Et his supper reg’lar way,

               Told his wife warn’t feel in’ well:

               Said he guessed he’d drowse a spell.

               For he reckoned, so he said.

               That he’d saw a while ’fore bed.

               --Warn’t no need of workin’ so,

               Boys was earnin’ well, ye know.

               But he couldn’t seem to quit.

               --At it stiddy, saw and split.

               Set that night there in his chair,

               --Got to dreamin’, and I swear,

               Snores they sounded near’s they could
               Like a feller sawin’ wood.

               Last he gave a mighty “plock”
                Same’s he’d strike a choppin’ block,
               When he’d set his ax an’ say,

               “Wal, I guess that’s all to-day.”
                Doctor got there quick’s he could,

               --Said he couldn’t do no good.

               Shock, ye know! It left things slim
               When a man has worked like him.

               “Hav’ to rest, I guess, a while,”

               Posh said, with a crooked smile,

               --Shock had twisted round his face,
               Alwus does in such a case.

               “Hav’ to rest, I reckin, for
               Feel too tuckered out to saw.”

               Jest a little ’fore he died.

               Smiled agin and kind of sighed,

               “Guess it’s all that’s left,” said he,

               “Reckin’ I’ll go climb a tree.”


THE SUN-BROWNED DADS OF MAINE

               Here’s ho for the masterful men o’ Maine,

               --Grit and gumption, brawn and brain!

               South they go and West they flow,

               The men that do and the men that know.

               And Fame and Honor, Power and Gain
               Come to the call of the men o’ Maine.

               But away up back on the rock-piled farms
               Are the gnarled old dads with corded arms,
               The dads that give these boys o’ Maine
               Health and strength and grit and brain.

               Now the masterful men who have gone their
                   ways

               Need none of my humble words of praise.

               So, here’s best I have for the dads, the ones
               Who have slaved and saved to raise those sons.
               Here’s hail and again for the Maine-bred lads,
               Then a triple hail for the dear old Dads.

               They are bowed and bent and wrinkled, and
                   their hands are browned and knurled
               They would never pass as heroes in the busy,
                   careless world,

               For they bear no sword or ribbon, and they
                   show no victor’s spoil,

               Only such as they have wrested from the weeds
                   and rocky soil.

               They have wrung reluctant dollars from the
                   land, and all their gain

               Has been spent to nurture manhood in the
                   rugged State of Maine.

               And they need no decorations, only loving
                   thanks from those

               Who built upon the sacrifice that bought their
                   books and clothes.

               I bring some homely laurel for those wrinkled,
                   sunburned brows

               Of men whose hands are blistered by the
                   scythe-snaths and the plows,

               --For men who wrestle Nature with their bare
                   and corded arms

               In an everlasting struggle with these grudging
                   old Maine farms,

               Who lay their lives and hopes and joys’neath
                   labor’s bitter rule

               To coax from sullen Earth the price that keeps
                   their boys in school.

               In manhood of America--’mongst brawn and
                   pluck and brain,

               Set high these humble heroes of the upland
                   farms of Maine!

               And with the cheers you lavish on the men
                   behind the guns

               Crowd in one honest, sincere shout for those
                   behind the sons.

               They labor here in stern old Maine and every
                   cent is ground

               From out the earth by pluck and plod. In
                   youth they never found

               That open sesame to wealth the cultured mind
                   employs,

               Such as to-day their humble toil bestows upon
                   their boys.

               Those crosses signed by toil-cramped hands in
                   probate courts in Maine

               The wavering quirks and curliques no mortal
                   can explain,

               Those speak with pathos all their own of days
                   of long ago

               When “bound-out” children trudged to school
                   through miles of drifted snow;

               When scattered weeks of schoolin’ in the win-
                   ter time were doled

               To hungry little youngsters, ill-clad and numb
                   with cold.

               Now you’ll find them, grown to manhood,
                   proud and eager to dilate

               On the brightness of the children they have
                   paid to educate.

               They have patiently worn patches that their
                   boys may wear good clothes;

               As they’ve struggled on their acres only God,
                   the Father, knows

               All the makeshifts and privations of these
                   rocky old Maine farms

               Where the boys walk straight to comfort over
                   toiling dads and marms.

               Yet those bent and weary parents ask no
                   praises from the world,

               Their comfort is to push a son as high as their
                   old, knurled,

               And aching muscles can reach up; and, when
                   they pass away,

               To know that he will never work one half as
                   hard as they.

               Such is the stuff our heroes are, and when you
                   cheer the guns

               And those behind them, reckon in the men be-
                   hind the sons.

               The zeal and valor of the land in battle’s crash
                   and blaze

               And deeds of heroes seeking fame must win
                   due meed of praise,

               And yet above them all I set the humble sacri-
                   fice

               Of toiling men who cent by cent amass the
                   hard-won price

               That buys the Future for a boy, bestows the
                   magic “Can,”

               Lays Power in his eager grasp and sends him
                   forth A Man.

               So, unto these bowed, weary men with earth-
                   stained, calloused palms,

               Who daily tread the up-turned soil on rough
                   and rocky farms,

               Who pile their hoard of dollars up, by sturdy
                   labor won,

               Who pour those dollars freely out to educate
                   a son,

               To all of these who seek no crown I bring my
                   wreath of bay

               And set it on their sun-tanned brows and on
                   their locks of gray, ‘

               And when their dreary, long campaign, their
                   bitter toil is done,

               God grant that each may live again, new-born
                   in honored son.

               Then three times three, I say again, for
               Maine’s true heroes now,

               Whose hands are blistered, gnarled, and worn
                   by scythe-snath and the plow,

               Who vow themselves to poverty, accept its
                   bitter rule

               To coax from sullen Earth the price that keeps
                   their sons in school.

               Cheer if you will for those who kill--the men
                   behind the guns,

               But cheer again for those who build--the men
                   behind the sons.


“HEAVENLY CROWN” RICH

               Elias Rich would kneel at night by the wooden
                   kitchen chair,

               He would clutch the rungs and bow his head
                   and pray his bed-time prayer.

               And his prayer was ever the same old plea,
                   repeated for two-score years:

               “Oh, Lord Most High, please hear my cry
                   from this vale of sin and tears.

               I hain’t no ’count and I hain’t done much that’s
                   worthy in Thy sight,

               But I’ve done the best that I could, dear Lord,
                   accordin’ to my light.

               I’ve done as much for my feller man as really,
               Lord, I could,

               Consid’rin’ my pay is a dollar a day and I’ve
                   earnt it choppin’ wood.

               I’ve never hankered no great on earth for
                   more’n my food and roof,

               And all of the meat that I’ve had to eat was
                   cut near horn or hoof;

               But I thank Thee, Lord, that I’ve earnt my
                   way and I hain’t got ‘on the town,’

               And when I die I know that I shall sartin wear
                   a crown.”

               Whenever he mumbled his simple prayer in
                   the kitchen by his chair,

               Aunt Rich would rattle the supper pans and
                   sniff with a scornful air.

               She’d never “professed,” as the saying is, she
                   never had felt a “call,”

               And she constantly prodded Elias with,
               “’Tain’t prayer that counts, it’s sprawl.”
                There are some who are born for the pats of
               Life and some for the cuffs and whacks,
               Elias fought the wolf of want as best he might
                   with his axe;

               He even aided with scanty store some desolate
               Tom or Jim,

               But at last when his poor old arms gave out no
                   hands were reached to him.

               Folks said that a man who was paralyzed re-
                   quired some special care,

               And allowed that the poor farm was the place;

                   so they carried the old folks there.

               ’Twas a heavy cross for Elias’ wife but Elias
                   ne’er complained,

               To all of her frettings he made reply: “When
                   our Heavenly Home is gained,

               ’Twill be the sweeter for troubles here and
                   though we’re on the town,

               God keeps up There our mansion fair and He
                   has our golden crown.”

               They were dreary years that Elias lived, one
                   half of his body dead,

               He sat in his cold, bare, town-farm room and
                   patiently spelled and read

               The promise his old black Bible gave, and then
                   he’d lift his eyes

               And look right up through the dingy walls to
                   his mansion in the skies.

               They mockingly called him “Heavenly
               Crown” when he talked of his faith, but he

               Smiled sweetly ever and meekly said, “I know
                   what I can see!”

               When he died at last and the parson preached
                   above the stained, pine box,

               He said, “Perhaps this simple faith was a bit
                   too orthodox;

               Perhaps allowance should be made for the
                   metaphors divine

               And yet, my friends, I’ll not presume to make
                   such province mine.

               Though in that Book the highest thought can
                   find transcendent food,

               ’Tis primer, too, for the poor and plain, the
                   unlearned and the rude.

               And so I say no man to-day should seek to tear
                   it down,

               Nor flout the homely, honest soul that claims
                   its golden crown.”

               Friends placed above Elias’ grave a plain,
                   white marble stone,

               And months went by. Then all at once ’twas
                   seen that there had grown

               Upon the polished marble slab a shading that,
                   ’twas said,

               Took on a shape extremely like Elias’ shaggy-
                   head.

               Then soon above the shadowy brows a crown
                   was slowly limned,

               And though Aunt Rich scrubbed zealously the
                   thing could not be dimmed.

               She always scoffed Elias’ faith without rebuke
                   through life

               But now, the neighbors all averred, Elias
                   braved his wife.

               For though with brush and soap and sand she
                   scrubbed and rubbed by day,

               The figure seemed to grow each night and
                   those there are who say .

               That many a time when the moon was dim a
                   wraith with ghostly skill

               Wrought there with spectral brush and limned
                   that picture deeper still.

               And there it is unto this day and strangers
                   passing by

               Turn in and stand above the mound to gaze
                   with awe-struck eye,

               And wonder if Elias came from Heaven steal-
                   ing down

               To mutely say in this quaint way that now he
                   wears his crown.


OLD “FIGGER-FOUR”

               He played when summer sunsets glowed and
                   twilight deepened down,

               His shrilling flute throbbed out and out in the
                   ears of the little town;

               When the chores were done and his cattle fed
                   and the old horse munched his oats,

               He took his flute to his racked old porch and
                   chirped his wavering notes.

               And far and wide on the evening breeze from
                   the old house on the hill,

               Went trinkling off the thin, long strains, like
                   the cry of the whip-poor-will.

               And the women paused with the supper things
                   and harkened at the door,

               And to the questioning stranger said, “Why,
                   that’s old Figger-Four.”

               He bobbed to his work in his little field and
                   tidied his lonesome home;

               He’d the light of peace in his quiet face, though
                   his shape was that of a gnome.

               One knee was angled, hooked and stiff, the
                   mark of a fever sore,

               And the saucy wits of the countryside had
                   dubbed him “Figger-Four.”

               Yet those who knew him never thought of the
                   twist in the poor, bent limb,

               And only strangers had a smile for the name
                   bestowed on him.

               For if ever a man was a neighbor true, that
                   man, my friend, was he,

               And the name he bore of “Figger-Four” was
                   our symbol of constancy.

               ’Twas he who came to the stricken homes and
                   closed the dead men’s eyes;

               ’Twas he who watched by the poor men’s biers
                   with a care no money buys;

               ’Twas he who sat by the fretful sick, and ne’er
                   could rash complaint

               Disturb the placid soul and smile of the gnarled
                   old village saint.

               And all came straight from out his heart, for
                   when one spoke of pay,

               He simply smiled a wistful smile and said:
                   “That ain’t my way.”

               A glistening eye was prized by him above a
                   golden store;

               An. earnest clasp of neighbor’s hand paid every
                   debt and more.

               And when there was no call for him from Tom,
                   or Dick or Jim,

               He took his lip-stained flute and played a good
                   old gospel hymn.

               So, when the placid, sunset skies were banked
                   above the town,

               To every home and every ear those notes came
                   softly down.

               And truly, friend, it used to seem the good old
                   man would play,

               As if, for lack of else to do, to pipe our cares
                   away.

               And tongues were hushed and heads were bent,
                   and angry home dispute

               Gave way to silence, then to smiles, when
                   “Figger-Four’s” old flute

               Sent down its long-drawn, mild reproach from
                   off the little hill--

               Expostulation in its notes, a pleading in its
                   thrill.

               And somehow, though the hearts were hot and
                   tongues were stirring fray,

               Those dripping tones came down like balm and
                   cooled the wrath away.

               He’d lived his lesson in our gaze; he was not
                   one who talked;

               His life was straight, although, alas, he bobbed
                   so when he walked!

               And though we’ve lost our richest men, we
                   mourn far more, far more,

               The man we loved and who loved us, poor bent
                   old “Figger-Four.”


PHEBE AND ICHABOD

               Allus was rowin’ it, early and late,

               --Niff against this one an’ niff against that!

               With a voice like a whistle, too big for her
                   weight,

               That was the make-up of Aunt Phebe Pratt.

               She’d give it to Ichabod, hot-pitch-and-tar,

               Yappin’ as soon as he came to the house;

               Allus was hankerin’ after a jar,

               Allus was ready to kick up a touse.

               But Ichabod he was as calm as a lamb,

               Never talked back to her, no, s’r, not he--
               Reckin that some men would rip out a damn.
               But he was the mildest that ever ye see.

               He’d set an’ he’d whistle an’ whistle away,
               Waitin’ all patient ontil she got through;

               She’d scream, “Drat ye, answer!” but Ick
                   he would say,

               “Mother, ye’re talkin’ a plenty for two.
               Who-o-o, who-o-o,

               Who-o-o, who-o-o!

               Nothin’ to say, mother! List’nun to you.”

               Phebe is dead an’ has gone to her rest;
               Ichabod lives in the house all alone;

               --Ick isn’t lonesome because, so ’tis guessed.
               He still hears the echoes of Aunt Phebe’s tone.
               ’Tis reckoned his ears were so used to the clack,
               He somehow er’ ruther still thinks she is there;
               Kind of imagines that Phebe is back,

               An’ still is a-goin’ it, whoopity-tear!

               Or p’raps she has ’ranged it by long-distance
                   line,

               From her latest location, Above or Below,

               To keep up her reg’lar old yappin’ an’ whine,
               For fear the old man will at last have a show.

               For he sets there an’ whistles an’ whistles
                   away,

               Whenever there’s nothin’ in ’special to do;
               An’ once in a while he’ll look up an’ he’ll say,
               “Mother, ye’re talkin’ a plenty for two.
               Who-o-o, who-o-o,

               Who-o-o, who-o-o!

               Nothin’ to say, mother! List’nun to you.”


WHEN OUR HERO COMES TO MAINE

               Though the banners greet his coming when our
                   hero journeys home,

               Though the city, wreathed in colors, bears his
                   name on flag-wrapt dome;

               Does he come for speech and music? Does he
                   come for gay parade,

               And to see a moving pageant in its festal hues
                   arrayed?

               No, a gray and rain-washed farmhouse, hid
                   beside a country lane

               Is the goal of all his hurry, when our hero
                   comes to Maine.

               And past spectacle and pageant, bannered street
                   and brave array

               He is rushing, soul on fire, toward a dearer
                   scene than they;

               And the hand that gives him welcome may be
                   calloused, may be brown,

               But the fervor of its greeting can’t be matched
                   back there in town.

               ’Tis a plain old dad in drillin’ who will clasp
                   his hand; and then

               He will shout, “Lord, ain’t we tickled! God
                   bless ye, how’ve ye be’n?

               Why, massy me, ye rascal, how like fury ye
                   have growed!

               If I’d met ye in the village, swan, I wouldn’t
                   scursely knowed,

               Your face behind them whiskers; ’fore ye know
                   it boys are men!

               Hey, mother, here’s your youngster! Land
                   o’ Goshen, how’ve ye be’n?”

                   And if, you home returning son,

                   Some tithe of honor you have won,
                   Sweeter than telling the world of men
                   Is telling the old folks “how you’ve be’n.”

               Though of wealth and brains and beauty, festal
                   Maine has summoned all

               And the banquet gleams in splendor in the
                   city’s spacious hall,

               Does he envy them the viands spread beneath
                   their flag-wrapt dome?

               No, never, as he sits there at the old folks’
                   board back home.

               There are all the dear old good things made
                   by mother’s loving hands,

               --Such things, so he discovers, only mother
                   understands;

               There’s the old and treasured china, figured
                   blue with gilded rim,

               Saved to honor great occasions--now the
                   whole is spread for him,

               And the mother’s eyes are wistful; she’s as-
                   sailed by constant doubt

               Lest, spite of all his fearful raids, he somehow
               “won’t make out.”

               But, though the wanderer strives to eat, his
                   heart keeps coming up,

               And tears roll out of brimming eyes he lowers
                   o’er his cup,

               And in the throat there swells a lump, not
                   grief,--and yet akin--

               To see the old folks bowed so low, so snowy-
                   haired and thin.

               And yet their happy faces glow, until they’re
                   young again,

               And dad lights up his old crook pipe and says,
               “Now how’ve ye be’n?

               Set down and tell us how ye’ve fared and tell
                   us how ye’ve done,

               You’ve sent us letters right along, but them
                   don’t talk it, son.

               A minit with ye, face to face, beats hours with
                   a pen;

               God bless ye, bub! Ye’re welcome back! Now
                   tell us how’ve ye be’n?”

                   Ah, happy he who brings success
                   Back here to Maine to cheer and bless
                   The folks who ask in tenderness,

                   --Taking you into their arms again,

                   “God bless ye, dearie, how’ve ye be’n?”


UNCLE TASCUS AND THE DEED

               Uncle Peter Tascus Runnels has been feeble
                   some of late;

               He has allus been a worker and he sartinly did
                   hate

               To confess he couldn’t tussle with the spryest
                   any more,

               --That he wasn’t fit for nothin’ but to fub
                   around an’ chore.

               When he climbed the stable scaffold t’other day
                   he had a spell,

               --Kind o’ heart-disease or somethin’--an’ I
                   heard he like to fell.

               Guess the prospect sort o’ scared him; so, that
                   ev’nin’ after tea,

               --After he had smoked a pipeful--pretty sol-
                   emn, then says he,

               “Reckin, son, ye’ve noticed lately that your
                   dad is gittin’ old,

               An’ your marm is nigh as feeble;--much as
                   ever she can scold!”

               Uncle Tascus said so grinnin’; for the folks
                   around here know

               That no better-natured woman ever lived than
                   old Aunt Jo.

               “Now, my son,” said Uncle Tascus, “you’ve
                   been good to me an’ marm,

               An’ you know we allus told ye, ye was sure to
                   have the farm.

               An’ we like your wife Lucindy; there has
                   never been no touse

               As is generly apt to happen with two famblys in
                   the house.

               I can’t manage as I used to; mother’s gittin’
                   pretty slim,

               An’ to hold our prop’ty longer is a whim, bub,
                   jest a whim!

               So I’ll tell ye what I’m plannin’, an’ I know
                   that marm agrees,

               We’ll sign off an’ make it over; then we’ll sort
                   o’ take our ease.

               So, hitch up to-morrer mornin’--drive us down
                   to Lawyer True,

               Me an’ marm will sign the papers, an’ we’ll
                   deed the place to you.”

               Lawyer True looked kind o’ doubtful when
                   they told him what was on.

               “I’ll admit,” said he, “that no one’s got a
                   better boy than John.

               Now don’t think I’m interferin’ or am prophe-
                   syin’ harm,

               When I warn ye not to do it; don’t ye deed
                   away your farm.

               I have seen so many cases--heard ’em tried
                   most ev’ry term--

               Where a deed has busted fam’lies, that, I swow,
                   it makes me squirm

               If I’m asked to write a transfer to a relative
                   or son.

               Tascus, please excuse my meddlin’, but--ye
                   hold it till ye’re done.”

               Uncle Tascus, though, insisted. He was allus
                   rather sot.

               He allowed he’d show the neighbors jest the
                   kind of son he’d got.

               --Said he’d show ’em how a Runnels allus
                   stuck by kith an’ kin,

               So the lawyer drew the papers--an’ they started
                   home agin,

               Uncle Tascus held the webbin’s--he has allus
                   driv’ the hoss--

               John he chuckled kind o’ nervous. Then said
                   he, “Wal, pa, I’m boss!

               Now ye’ve never got to worry--I’m the one to
                   take the lead,

               Things were gettin’ kind o’ logy--guess I’ll
                   have to put on speed.

               An’ as now I head the fam’ly, an’ you’re sort
                   of on the shelf,

               Guess I’ll”--John he took the webbin’s--
                   “guess I’d better drive, myself.”

               Wal, s’r, Uncle Tascus pondered, pondered,
                   pondered all that day.

               An’ that evenin’ still was pond’rin’, as he
                   rocked an’ smoked away.

               John he set dus’ up t’ table, underneath the
                   hangin’ lamp,

               Ciph’rin’ out that legal paper with its seal an’
                   rev’nue stamp.

               Then he folded it an’ chuckled. “That’s all
                   right an’ tight,” he said,

               “Lawyers tie things tighter’n Jehu. Dad, ye’d
                   better go to bed.

               You an’ marm are gettin’ feeble; mustn’t have
                   ye up so late!

               I’m the boss--” John sort o’ te-heed, “so I’ll
                   have to keep ye straight.
‘Sides, I’ll need ye bright an’ early. In the
                   mornin’ hitch the mare,

               Take that paper down t’ court-house. Have it
                   put on record there.”

               Uncle Tascus took the writin’, pulled his specs
                   down on his nose,

               Read it over very careful. Then says he, “My
                   son, I s’pose

               You are jest as good’s they make ’em; I hain’t
                   got no fault to find,

               You are thrifty, smart an’ stiddy; rather bluff,
                   but allus kind,

               An’ I guess you’d prob’ly use us jest as well’s
                   ye really knew,

               But I hain’t so awful sartin that I’m done an’
                   out an’ through!

               --Tell ye, son, I’ve been a-thinkin’ since ye
                   took an’ driv’ that hoss,

               --Since ye sort o’ throwed your shoulders an’
                   allowed that you was boss!

               Hate to act so whiffle-minded, but my father
                   used to say,

               ‘Men would sometimes change opinions; mules
                   would stick the same old way.’”

               Uncle Tascus tore the paper twice acrost, then
                   calmly threw

               On the fire the shriv’lin’ pieces. Poof! They
                   vanished up the flue.

               “There, bub, run to bed,” said Tascus, with
                   his sweet, old-fashioned smile.

               “These old hands are sort of shaky, but I guess
                   I’ll drive a while.”


SONGS OF THE SEA AND SHORE


TALE OF A SHAG-EYED SHARK

               The mackerel bit as they crowded an’ fit to
                   grab at our ganglin’ bait,

               We were flappin’ ’em in till the ’midship bin
                   held dus’ on a thousand weight;

               When all of a sudden they shet right down an’
                   never a one would bite,

               An’ the Old Man swore an’ he r’ared an’ tore
                   till the mains’l nigh turned white,

               He’d pass as the heftiest swearin’ man that
                   ever I heard at sea,

               An’ that is allowin’ a powerful lot, as sartinly
                   you will agree.

               Whenever he cursed his arm shot up an’ his
                   fingers they wiggled about,

               Till they seemed to us like a windmill’s fans
                   a-pumpin’ the cuss-words out.

               He swore that day by the fodder hay of the
               Great Jeehookibus whale,

               By the Big Skedunk, an’ he bit a hunk from
                   the edge of an iron pail,

               For he knowed the reason the fish had dodged,
                   an’ he swore us stiff an’ stark

               As he durned the eyes an’ liver an’ lights of a
                   shag-eyed, skulkin’ shark.

               Then we baited a line all good an’ fine an’ slung
                   ’er over the side,

               An’ the shark took holt with a dretful jolt, an’
                   he yanked an’ chanked an’ tried
               To jerk it out, but we held him stout so he
                   couldn’t duck nor swim,

               An’ we h’isted him over--that old sea-rover--
                   we’d business there with him.

               A-yoopin’ for air he laid on deck, an’ the skip-
                   per he says, says he:

               “You’re the wust, dog-gondest, mis’able hog
                   that swims the whole durn sea.

               ’Mongst gents as is gents it’s a standin’ rule to
                   leave each gent his own--

               If ye note as ye pass he’s havin’ a cinch, stand
                   off an’ leave him alone.

               But you’ve slobbered along where you don’t
                   belong, an’ you’ve gone an’ spiled the thing,
               An’ now, by the pink-tailed Wah-hoo-fish,
                   you’ll take your dose, by jing!”

               So, actin’ by orders, the cook fetched up our
                   biggest knife on board,

               An’ he ripped that shark in his ’midship bulge;
                   then the Old Man he explored.

               An’ after a while, with a nasty smile, he giv’ a
                   yank an’ twist,

               “Hurroo!” yells he, an’ then we see the liver
                   clinched in his fist.

               Still actin’ by orders, the cook fetched out his
                   needle an’ biggest twine--

               With a herrin’-bone stitch sewed up that shark,
                   all right an’ tight an’ fine.

               We throwed him back with a mighty smack,
                   an’ the look as he swum away

               Was the most reproachfulest kind of a look
                   I’ve seen for many a day.

               An’ the liver was throwed in the scuttle-butt,
                   to keep it all fresh an’ cool,

               Then we up with our sheet an’ off we beat,
                   a-chasin’ that mackerel school.

               We sailed all day in a criss-cross way, but the
                   school it skipped an’ skived,

               It dodged an’ ducked, an’ backed an’ bucked,
                   an’ scooted an’ swum an’ dived.

               An’ we couldn’t catch ’em, the best we’d do--
                   an’ oh, how the Old Man swore!

               He went an’ he gargled his throat in ile, ’twas
                   peeled so raw an’ sore.

               But at last, ’way off at the edge of the sea, we
                   suddenly chanced to spy

               A tall back-fin come fannin’ in, ag’inst the sun-
                   set sky.

               An’ the sea ahead of it shivered an’ gleamed
                   with a shiftin’ an’ silvery hue,

               With here a splash an’ there a dash, an’ a rip-
                   ple shootin’ through.

               An’ the Old Man jumped six feet from deck;
                   he hollered an’ says, says he:

               “Here comes the biggest mackerel school since
                   the Lord set off the sea!

               An’ right behind, if I hain’t blind, by the prong-
                   jawed dog-fish’s bark,

               Is a finnin’ that mis’able hog of the sea, that
                   liverless, shag-eyed shark!”

               But we out with our bait an’ down with our
                   hooks, an’ we fished an’ fished an’ fished,

               While ’round in a circle, a-cuttin’ the sea, that
                   back-fin whished an’ slished;

               An’ we noticed at last he was herdin’ the school
                   an’ drivin’ ’em on our bait,

               An’ they bit an’ they bit an’ we pulled ’em in at
                   a reg’lar wholesale rate.

               We pulled ’em in till the S’airey Ann was wal-
                   lerin’ with her load,

               An’ we stopped at last’cause there wa’n’t no
                   room for the mackerel to be stowed.

               Then up came a-finnin’ that liverless shark, an’
                   he showed his stitched-up side,

               An’ the look in his eyes was such a look that
                   the Old Man fairly cried.

               We rigged a tackle an’ lowered a noose an’
                   the shark stuck up his neck,

               Then long an’ slow, with a heave yo-ho, we
                   h’isted him up on deck.

               The skipper he blubbered an’ grabbed a fin an’
                   gave it a hearty shake;

               Says he, “Old man, don’t lay it up an’ we’ll
                   have a drop to take.”

               An’, actin’ by orders, the cook fetched up our
                   kag of good old rum;

               The shark he had his drink poured first, an’ all
                   of us then took some.

               Still actin’ by orders, the cook he took an’ he
                   picked them stitches out,

               An’ we all turned to, an’ we lent a hand;

                   though of course we had some doubt
               As to how he’d worn it an’ how’twas hitched,
                   an’ whuther’twas tight or slack,

               But as best we could--as we understood--we
                   put that liver back.

               Then we sewed him up, an’ we shook his fin
                   an’ we giv’ him another drink,

               We h’isted him over the rail ag’in an’ he giv’
                   us a partin’ wink.

               Then he swum away, an’ I dast to say, although
                   he was rather sore,

               He felt that he’d started the trouble first, an’
                   we’d done our best an’ more.

               ’Cause a dozen times’fore the season closed
                   an’ the mackerel skipped to sea,

               He herded a school an’ drove ’em in, as gen-
                   tlemanlike as could be.

               We’d toss him a drink, an’ he’d tip a wink, as
                   sociable as ye please,

               No kinder nor better-mannered shark has ever
                   swum the seas.

               Now, the moral is, if you cut a friend before
                   that you know he’s friend,

               An’ after he’s shown it, ye do your best his
                   feelin’s to nicely mend,

               He’ll meet ye square, an’ he’ll call you quits,
                   providin’ he’s got a spark
               Of proper feelin’--at least our crew can vouch
                   this for a shark.


THE GREAT JEEHOOKIBUS WHALE

               May health and heartiness never fail

               My friend the Whale--my friend the Whale!

               There are days when the dog-fish are gnawin’
                   the bait,

               And the mud-eels are saggin’ the trawl;

               When the brim and the monk-fish and pucker-
                   mouthed skate

               Are the yield from a three-mile haul;

               --When the dory-bow ducks with the weight
                   that it lugs

               Of the riffraff and sculch of the sea,

               And sculpins come gogglin’ with wide-open
                   mugs,

               And grinnin’ jocosely at me.

               It’s h’ist and lug, and pull and tug--

               Bow-pulley chuckerin’--chugity-chug!

               And all that ye’re gittin’ won’t pay for the
                   weight

               Of powder to blow ’em to Beelzebub’s
                   strait.

               Then’s the chance to be grum if ye’re taken
                   that style

               And are sort of inclined to the blues;

               When luck is ag’in ye’tis whimper or smile,
               Whichever’s your notion to choose.

               Now I--I am sort of inclined to the grins,

               So, after a loaf on the rail,

               I whistle him up, my old friend of the fins--
               The jolly Jeehookibus Whale!

               --The great Jeehookibus, fan-fluke whale,
               A genial chap with a swivel tail;

               Ready for larks and primed for pranks,

               --His jokes are the life of the whole
               Grand Banks.

               I’ve knowed him sence summer of’Seventy-
                   four,

               When I “chanced” on a hand-liner trip;

               I was out in my dory one day and I wore
               Oiled petticuts strapped to my hip.

               I was thinkin’ and smokin’ and fishin’ away,
               As quiet as quiet could be,

               When all of a whew there was dickens to pay
               In the neighborhood handy to me.

               With a whoosh like a rocket I shot in the air,
               And it seemed like’twas blowin’ a gale;

               As I h’isted sky-hootin’ I looked, sor, and there
               Was the jolly Jeehookibus Whale.

               The great Jeehookibus, fan-fluke whale
               Was under me, swishin’ his swivel tail.

               He stood on his head with his tail stuck
                   up,

               And the game he was playin’ was ball-and-
                   cup.

               I dropped, but he caught me and filliped me
                   quick

               And juggled me neat as could be;

               ’Twas as pretty and clever a sleight-of-tail
                   trick

               As ever ye saw on the sea.

               At first I was skittish, as you can see why,
               When I found myself up there on air,

               But as soon as I noticed the quirk in his eye
               I was over my bit of a scare.

               ’Twas a humorous look he was throwin’ to me
               As there I continnered to sail,

               While under me, finnin’ and grinnin’ in glee,
               Was the jolly Jeehookibus Whale.

               The great Jeehookibus, fan-fluke whale

               He fanned and fanned with his big, broad
                   tail,

               Till my petticuts filled and I floated there,

               Like a thistle-balloon on the summer air.

               ’Twas the slickest performance, our doryman
                   swore,

               That ever was seen on the Banks;

               He lowered me back in my dory once more
               And I giv’ him my heartiest thanks.

               And I reckon he liked me and thought I was
                   game,

               Because I wa’n’t yowlin’ in fear;

               For over and over he’s done jest the same,
               This many and many a year.

               When dog-fish are gnawin’ and other men
                   swear

               As they jerk at the sculch-loaded trawl,

               I know I have some one to cuff away care,

               If only I whistle a call.

               Then up from his bed on the dulses he spins,
               And I boost myself over the rail
               For a sail on the tail of my friend of the fins--
               The jolly Jeehookibus Whale.

               --The great Jeehookibus, fan-fluke whale,
               A jovial chap with a swivel tail;

               Ready for larks and primed for pranks,
               He drives away blues from the whole
               Grand Banks.

               May health and heartiness never fail
               My friend the Whale--my friend the Whale!


“AS BESEEMETH MEN”

               We heard her a mile to west’ard--the liner that
                   cut us through--

               As crushing the fog at a twenty-jog she drove
                   with her double screw.

               We heard her a mile to west’ard as she bel-
                   lowed to clear her path,

               The grum, grim grunt of her whistle, a levia-
                   than’s growl of wrath.

               We could tell she was aimed to smash us, so
                   we clashed at our little bell,

               But the sound was shredded by screaming wind
                   and we simply rung our knell.

               And the feeble breath, that screamed at Death
                   through our horn, was beaten back,

               And we knew that doom rode up the sea to-
                   ward the shell of our tossing smack.

               Then out of the fog she thundered, the liner,
                   smashing to east;

               Her green and her red glared overhead and her
                   bows were spouting yeast.

               The eyes of her reddened hawse-holes, her
                   dripping and towering flanks,

               Flashed with no gleam of mercy for her quarry
                   on the Banks.

               She scornfully spurned us under, the while her
                   whistle brayed,

               Nor heeded the crash of our little craft nor the
                   feeble chirp we made;

               And as down we swept, her folk that slept--
                   they slumbered serenely still,

               And even the lookout on the bridge scarce felt
                   the thud and thrill.

               But they jangled her bells and halted; and the
                   sullen sea they swept

               With the goggling gleam of the searchlight’s
                   beam. A dozen of us had crept

               On the mass of the tangled wreckage she con-
                   temptuously had tossed

               A mile astern in the chop and churn. The
                   others were drowned--were lost!

               There was never a whine nor whimper, only
                   some muttered groans,

               As the ocean buffeted martyrs who clung there
                   with shattered bones,

               And those whose grip was broken as the surge
                   reeled creaming high,

               Went out from the ken of the searchlight with
                   a hoarse but brave “Good-by.”

               In the great white light no sign of fright stole
                   wrinkling o’er a face,

               For the men of the Banks know How to die
                   when Davy trumps their ace.

               And better than simply dying--they can cheer-
                   fully, bravely give

               Life, heart, and head in a comrade’s stead if
                   they deem that he ought to live.

               For there in the searchlight’s glory, the night
                   that they cut us down,

               Old Injun Joe gave up his cask that another
                   might not drown.

               Old Joe was a lone world-rover, the other had
                   babes on land;

               No word was said, but Joe went down with a
                   wave of his dripping hand.

               And ere the lifeboats reached us and gathered
                   our scattered few,

               We saw that night what so long we’d known,
                   that a Glo’ster fishing crew,

               Rude and rough and grimed and gruff, had
                   calmly shown again

               That on sea or sod they can meet their God in
                   the way that beseemeth men!

               Then over her sullen bulwarks, as she stamped
                   and chafed and rolled,

               From the night and wreck to her dazzling deck
                   climbed we--and our tale was told.

               And the dainty folk from her staterooms lis-
                   tened and gazed and said,

               As they tiptoed across our dripping trail,
                   “How awful!”--then went to bed.

               And our half-score left, of all bereft--com-
                   rades and gear and smack--

               Sat hoping our wreck would tell no tales till
                   our scattered few came back.

               And haughtily unrepentant, the liner, insolent
                   still,

               Through foam and spume and fog and gloom
                   drove on to wreak her will.

               Were only her zeal less eager, her lust for her
                   prey less keen,

               She must have sensed that horrid chill that
                   shuddered from One Unseen.

               But onward she plunged unheeding that there
                   in the vast, black sea,

               As grim as Fate there lay in wait One mightier
                   than she.

               A ghost in white before her--the fog its som-
                   bre pall--

               And she crushed herself like dead-ripe fruit
                   against the iceberg’s wall.

               Then up from her perfumed cabins came pour-
                   ing the rich and proud,

               And I--poor Glo’ster fisher--I blushed for
                   that maddened crowd.

               There were men in silken night-gear who
                   fought frail women back,

               There were pampered fools who, fierce as
                   ghouls, left murder in their track;

               There were shrieking men whose jeweled
                   hands dragged children from a boat

               And rode away in the babies’ stead when the
                   life-craft went afloat.

               ’Tis not for boast that I tell the rest: we’re
                   not of the boasting kind--

               We folks that sail from Glo’ster town; but you
                   know you’ll sometimes find

               A man who sneers at a tattered coat or a sun-
                   burned fist or face,

               And believes that only blood or purse can
                   honor the human race.

               Forlorn and few, our battered crew had stared
                   at Death that night;

               Perhaps we’d known him so long and well his
                   mien did not affright.

               Perhaps we hide here in our hearts, below the
                   rags and tan,

               The honest stuff, unplaned and rough, that
                   really makes the man.

               For we bared our arms and we stormed the
                   press--of safety took no care;

               We dragged those wretches from the boats--
                   then placed the women there.

               No time had we for the courtly “Please!” If
                   a poltroon answered “No,”

               We gave him the thing that a man reserves for
                   the coward’s case--a blow.

               It isn’t a boast, I say again; but we stayed till
                   all had passed,

               Then the ragged coats of those Glo’ster men
                   went over her lee rail last.

               And three of the few of our scattered crew,
                   who had twice dared Fate that night,

               Went down in the rush of the whirlpool’s tow
                   when the liner swooped from sight.

               We ask no praise, we seek no heights above
                   our chosen place,

               But the men of the Banks know how to die
                   when Davy trumps their ace.

               And if need arise for a sacrifice we’ve shown,
                   and we’ll show again,

               That on sea or sod we can meet our God in
                   the way that beseemeth men.


THE NIGHT OF THE WHITE REVIEW

               The mandate that summons them nobody
                   knows,

                   Nor whose is the mystical word

               That bids the vast breast of the ocean unclose,
                   When the depths are so eerily stirred.

               There are omens of ocean and portents of sky
                   That the eyes of the banksman may read;
               The wind tells its menace by moan or a sigh
                   To any one giving it heed.

               Yet, fathom the whorl of a cloud though he
                        may--

                   Interpret the purr of the sea--

               No weatherwise fisherman truly may say
                   When the Drift of the Drowned shall be.

               _This alone we know:

               Ere days of the autumn blow,

               Up from the swaying ocean deeps appears the
                   grisly show.

               And woe to the fated crew
               Who behold it passing through--

               Who gaze on the ghosts of the Gloucester fleets
                   on the Night of the White Review._

               Whence issue these fleets for their grim ren-
                   dewous

               And their hideous cruise, who may know?
               Yet they traverse the Banks ere the winter
                   storms brew,

               Their pennon the banner of woe.

               We know that from Quero far west to the
               Shoals.-

               The prodigal bottom is spread

               With bones and with timbers--“Went down
                   with all souls,”

               Tells the story of Gloucester’s dead.

               And up with those souls come those vessels
                   again

               On that mystical eve in the fall;

               Then out of the night to the terror of men
               They sail with the fog for a pall.

               _And down the swimming deep,

               As the fishers lie asleep,

               These craft loom out of the great, black night,
                   and past the living sweep.

               And woe to that fated crew

               Who behold them passing through--

               Who gaze on the ghosts of the Gloucester fleets
                   on the Night of the White Review_.

               Now here and now yonder some helmsman
                   sings hail

               As the awful procession stalks past,

               And the horrified crew tumbles up to the rail
               To gaze on the marvel, aghast.

               And then through that night, when the fishers
                   ride near,

               There’s a hail and a husky halloo:

               “Did you see”--and the voice has a quiver of
                   fear--

               “Did you see the White Banksmen sail
                   through?”

               There are those who may see them--and those
                   who may not,

               Though they peer to the depths of the night;
               Ah, ye who behold them, alas for the lot
               That grants you such ominous sight.

               _It augurs death and dole--

               That the Gloucester bells will toll--
               Means another stone on Windmill Hill: “Went
                   down with every soul.”

               For it’s woe to that fated creva
               Who behold them passing through--

               Who gaze on the ghosts of the Gloucester -fleets
                   on the Night of the White Review._

               ’Tis a mournful monition from those gone
                   before--

               That phantom procession of Fate;

               But’tis only the craven that flees to the shore,
               For the fisher must work and must wait--
               Must wait for the storm that shall carry him
                   down,

               Must work with his dory and trawl;

               There are women and babies in Gloucester town
               Who are hungry. So God for us all 1

               Though mystic and silent and pallid and weird
               Those ominous Banksmen may roam,
               Though Death trails above them, where’er they
                   are steered,

               We’ll work for the babies at home.

               _The Banks will claim their toll,

               And Fate makes up the roll
               Of those with the humble epitaph: “Went
                   dozen with every soul.”

               And it’s woe to that fated crew
               Who behold them passing through--
               Who gaze on the ghosts of the Gloucester fleets
                   on the Night of the White Review._


THE BALLAD OF ORASMUS NUTE

               There once was a Quaker, Orasmus Nute,
               With a physog as stiff as a cowhide boot,

               And he skippered a ship from Georgetown, Maine,

               In the’way-back days of the pirates’ reign.
               And the story I tell it has to do
               With Orasmus Nute and a black flag crew;
               The tale of the upright course he went
               In the face of a certain predicament.

               For Orasmus Nute was a godly man

               And he faithfully followed the Quaker plan
               Of love for all and a peaceful life
               And a horror of warfare and bloody strife.
               While above the honors of seas and fleets
               He prized his place on “the facing seats.”

               Ah, Orasmus Nute,

               Orasmus Nute,

               He never disgraced his plain drab suit.

               Now often he sailed for spice and teas
               ’Way off some place through the Barbary seas;
               And once for a venture his good ship bore
               Some unhung grindstones, a score or more.
               Now, never in all of his trips till then
               Had he spoken those godless pirate men.

               But it chanced one day near a foreign shore
               The sail of a strange craft toward him bore;
               And as soon as the rig was clearly seen
               The mate allowed’twas a black lateen.

               Now a black lateen, as all men knew,

               Was the badge of a bold, bad pirate crew.

               So the mate he crammed to its rusty neck
               A grim “Long Tom” on the quarter deck,
               Then leaned on its muzzle a bit to pray
               And waited to hear what the skipper would say.
                   For Orasmus Nute,

                   Orasmus Nute

               Had stepped below for to change his suit.

               He asked as he came on deck again,

               “Does thee really think those are pirate men?”
                “Yea, verily,” answered the Quaker mate,

               “And they come at a most unseemly gait.”
                Orasmus Nute looked over the rail
               At the bulging sweep of the huge black sail;
               Said he, “We are keeping our own straight
                   path,

               And I’m sorry to harm those men of wrath
               Yet, brother, perchance we are justified
               In letting Thomas rebuke their pride.

               We’ll simply give ’em a dash of fright.

               So be sure, my friend, thee have aimed just
                   right.”

               He squinted his eye along the rust,

               “Now shoot,” said he, “if thee thinks thee
                   must.”

               Ker-boomo! the old Long Thomas roared,
               And the big lateen flopped overboard.

                   And Orasmus Nute,

                   Orasmus Nute,

               Seemed puzzled to find that he could shoot.

               “Now what are those sinful men about?”

               He asked, as he heard a hoarse, long shout.
               And the Quaker mate he answered, “Lo!
               They’ve out with their oars, and here they
                   row!”

               “Now, what in the name of William Penn,”
                Cried Orasmus Nute, “can ail those men?
               Perchance they are after our load of stones,
               Will thee roll them up here, Brother Jones?
               We’ll save them all of the work we can--

               As a Quaker should for his fellow man.”

               So as soon as the fierce, black pirate drew
               Up’longside, that Quaker crew
               Rolled those grindstones down pell-mell,

               And every stone smashed through the shell
               Of the pirate zebec, and down it went,

               And all of the rascals to doom were sent,
               While Orasmus Nute leaned over the side,

               “No thanks, thee’rt welcome, my friends,” he
                   cried.

               It chanced one wretch from the sunken craft
               Made a clutch at a rope that was trailing aft,
               And up he was swarming with frantic hope,
               When Orasmus cried, “Does thee want that
                   rope? ”

               So he cut it away with one swift hack
               With a smile for the pirate as he dropped back.
               And the Quaker skipper surveyed the sea
               “God loveth the generous man,” quoth he.
                   Then Orasmus Nute,

                   Orasmus Nute

               Went down and resumed his Quaker suit.


THE DORYMAN’S SONG

               _Dory here an’ Dora there,

                   They keep a man a-guessin’;

               An’ here’s a prayer for a full-bin fare,

                   --Then home for the parson’s blessin’!_

               Ruddy an’ round as the skipper’s phiz, out of
                   the sea he rolls,

               --The fisherman’s sun, an’ the day’s begun for
                   the men on the Grand Bank shoals.

               With pipe alight an’ snack stowed tight under
                   a bulgin’ vest,

               I’ll over with dory an’ in with the trawls for
                   the wind is fair sou’ west.

               --The wind is fair sou’ west,

               The fish-slick stripes the crest

               Of every curlin’, swingin’ an’ swirlin’, billowin’
                   ocean-guest,

               That sweeps to the wind’ard rail

               An’ under the bulgin’ sail

               Seems wavin’ its welcome with clots of foam
                   that are tossed by the roguish gale.

               _Dory here an’ Dora there,

                   ‘Way over yon at Glo’stcr;

               Those clots of foam seem letters from
                        home

                   To pledge I haven’t lost her._

               Friskily kickin’, the dories dance, churnin’ the
                   foamin’ lee,

               With a duck an’ a dive an’ a skip an’ skive--
                   the bronchos of the sea.

               Sheerin’ an’ veerin’ with painter a-flirt, like a
                   frolicsome filly’s tail,

               --Now a sweep on the heavin’ deep, close to
                   the saggin’ rail,

               --Close to the saggin’ rail,

               Jump! If you cringe or fail,

               You’re doin’ a turn in the wake astern in the
                   role of a grampus whale.

               As she poises herself to spring,

               --Nimble an’ mischievous thing,

               There’s only the flash of a second of time to
                   capture her on the wing.

               _Dory here an’ Dora there!

                   Sure, they drive me frantic.

               For one she swims on the ocean of whims,
                   An’ one on the broad Atlantic._

               Sowin’ the bait from the trawl-heaped tubs, I
                   pull at my old T. D.

               An’ I dream of a pearl of a Glo’ster girl, who’s
                   waitin’ at home for me;

               Statin’ she’s waitin’ is not to say she’s prom-
                   ised as yet her hand,

               For she’s wild as my dory--she keeps me in
                   worry;--they’re hard to understand.

               --They’re hard to understand,

               But I’ve got the question planned,

               Please God, I’ll know if it’s weal or woe as
                   soon as I get to land.

               For a man who can catch the swing,

               Of a dory--mischievous thing--

               Has certainly grit to capture a chit of a maid
                   about to spring.

               _Dory here an’ Dora there!

                   They keep a man a-guessin’,

               An’ here’s a prayer for a full-bin fare,
                   Then home for the parson’s blessin’._
[Illustration: 0091]


WE FELLERS DIGGIN’ CLAMS

               Pluck, pluck,

               Pluck, pluck!

               Stubbin’ acrost the clam-flat muck!

               Ev’ry time I lift my huck,

               --Hearin’ the heel of my old boot suck,

               It seems to me that a word plops out,

               And I’ve listened so often there ain’t no
                   doubt

               It’s pluck, pluck, pluck.

               And pluck and the job they jest agree
               --Dig clams, my lad, for a while and see!

               It’s a stiddy kind of bus’ness an’ it ain’t for
                   shiny boots,

               But still--ye know,’tain’t bad!

               It ain’t an occurpation for the millionaire ga-
                   loots,

               But’tain’t so mighty wuss, my lad.

               It’s a stiddy kind of bus’ness where there ain’t
                   no room for doubt

               As to what’ull be the profit and where ye’re
                   cornin’ out.

               For there ain’t no books and ledgers, and no
                   botherin’ with deals,

               No dodgin’ law and lawyers and no stock con-
                   trivin’ steals.

               Simply take a leaky dory and a basket and a
                   hoe,

               And you’re fixed for doin’ bus’ness--ev’ry fel-
                   ler has a show.

               When the old Atlantic ocean pulls away his
                   swashin’ tide

               Why, the bank is there ‘before you and the
                   doors are opened wide;

               The flats are there etarnal and you never find
                   the sign

               Sayin’, “Bank has shet up business--pres’-
                   dent’s skipped acrost the line.”

               Shuck away yer co’t and weskit, grab the clam-
                   hoe’s muddy haft,

               And endorsed by grit and muscle you’ll get
                   cash on ev’ry draft.

               For yer check-book’s there, the clam flat; and
                   yer pen, sir, is the hoe,

               And accounts are balanced daily by the ocean’s
                   ebb and flow.

               Then the climbin’, crawlin’ water rubs the dig-
                   gin’ marks away,

               And the clams are jest as plenty when you
                   come another day.

               And the sleep that follers labor kind of smooths’-
                   us, as the tide

               Smooths the nickin’s on the clam-flats where
                   our busy hoes have pried.

               So the nights are nights of comfort and I
                   mostly can forget

               That the days are days of diggin’,--cold and
                   muddy, lame and wet.

               For Fd rather have a backache than a rattled,
                   burnin’ brain,

               And I guess I’m fair contented with the clam
                   flats here in Maine.

               For I’m thinkin’ worried critters in the rushin’,
                   pushin’ jams

               Likely’nough ain’t nigh so happy as we fellers
                   diggin’ clams.


DAN’L AND DUNK

               Dan’l and Dunk and the yaller dog were the
                   owners and crew of the Pollywog,

               A hand-line smack that cuffed the seas’twixt
                   ’Tinicus Head and Point Quahaug.

               Dunk owned half and Dan owned half, and the
                   yaller dog was also joint,

               They fished and ate and swapped their bait and
                   always agreed on every point.

               --Dunk to Dan and Dan to Dunk,--
               Whenever he chawed would pass the
                   hunk;

               Never a “hitch” more friendly than
               That of the dog and Dunk and Dan.

               They labored steady and labored square, fairly
                   dividing every fare,

               And never could anything break their bonds,
                   each to the other would often swear.

               But alas, one day in a joking way they fell on
                   the topic of years and age,

               And tackled the subject of boughten teeth, and
                   spirited argument they did wage.

               For Dan insisted that sets of teeth were glued
                   to the sides of the wearers’ jaws,

               --Never had seen ’em, he frankly owned, but
                   he knew ’twas so, “wal, jest because.”
                While Dunk, with notions fully as firm, clawed
                   at his frosty whisker fringe,

               And allowed that he knew that sets of teeth
                   were hitched together with spring and
                   hinge.

               So, still perverse, they argued on--the quarrel,
                   you see, was their very first;

               ’Twas as though they had taken a sip of brine;
                   the more they quaffed, the worse their
                   thirst.

               They argued early and argued late and the dog
                   surveyed them with wistful look
               For, the more they talked the worse they
                   balked, and forgot to fish or eat or cook.

                   Dan at Dunk and Dunk at Dan,

                   --On contention ran and ran,

                   And rancor spread its sullen fog
                   ‘Twixt Dunk and Dan and the yaller
                        dog.

               At last old Dunk uprose and cried, “Say old
                   hoss-mack’ril, blast yer hide,

               I’m sick of clack and fuss and gab; it’s time, I
                   reckin, that we divide.

               An’ seein’ as how I’ve spoke the fust, I’ll take
                   the starn-end here for mine.”

               With chalk he zoned the dingy deck and roared,
               “Git for’rard acrost that line!”

               He lighted his pipe and twirled the wheel and
                   calmly then he crossed his knees.

               “Go for’rard,” said he, “this end is mine an’
               I’ll steer jest where I gol-durn please.”
                For’rard went Dan with never a word, never
                   protested, never demurred,

               But as soon as he reached the cat-head bolt the
                   sound of hammer on steel was heard.
               Splash! went the anchor, and there they swung,
                   fast to the bottom on Doghead shoal;

               “The bow-end’s mine,” yelled Dan to Dunk,
               “now steer if ye want to, blast yer soul!”

                   Dunk to Dan, and Dan to Dunk--
                   Swore they’d sit there till she sunk.
                   Neither to compromise would incline,
                   And the dog stood straddling the mid-
                        dle line.

               I’ll frankly own I cannot state how long en-
                   dured that sullen wait,

               I only know they never returned and no one
                   ever has learned their fate.

               Perhaps a gale with a lashing tail, champing
                   and roaring and frothing wild,

               Clawed them tinder, as there they rode, or a
                   hooting liner over them piled.

               But known it is that for days and weeks the
                   schooner swayed and sogged and tossed,
               Straining her rusty cable-chains, before all
                   trace of her was lost.

               No one knows how they met their death, but
                   certain it is that Dunk and Dan,

               Each decided he’d rather die than surrender a
                   point to the other man.

               Perhaps, at the end of a month or so, Dunk de-
                   cided he’d sink his half,

               Or Dan touched match and burned his end,
                   then went to death with a scornful laugh.
               However it was, this much is sure, that out
                   from the Grand Banks’ sombre fog,

               Never came back the Pollywog smack, or
               Dunk or Dan or the yaller dog.


THE AWFUL WAH-HOOH-WOW

               _She’s ashore in Gloucester harbor, with a
                   weary, lear y list,

               An’ the mud is creepin’, creepin’ to her rail;

               She’s sound in ev’ry timber--is the Mary of
                   the Mist,

               But the broom is at her mast-head as a sign
                   that she’s for sale.

               Yet no one wants to try her,

               She cannot find a buyer--

               The Hoodoo is upon her, an’ here I give the
                   tale.

               (The story has a warnin’ that’s as plain as
                   plain can be,

               An’’tis: Never go to triflin’ with the secrets
                   of the sea.)_

               Peter Perkinson, a P. I. from Prince Edward
               Island, signed

               With Foster’s folks of Gloucester for a
               “chancin’ trip,” hand-lined;

               An’ when we counted noses as we rounded
               Giant’s Grist

               We found the chap among us on the Mary of
                   the Mist.

               An’ we sized him for a “conjer” ere we’d
                   fairly got to sea;

               The wind was whiffin’ crooked, jest as mean as
                   mean could be;

                        “_P. I.”  is colloquial term for Prince Edward
                        Islander_.

               Then the skipper spied the P. I. fubbin’ secret
                   at the mast,

               An’ at once he got suspicious an’ he overhauled
                   him fast.

               The chap had made some markin’s an’ he’d
                   driven in a nail--

               Oh, we understood him perfect--he was raisin’
                   up a gale.

               The skipper gave him tophet, but the damage
                   then was done--

               The gale came up a-roarin’ with the settin’ of
                   the sun.

               Then we wallered to the west’ard an’ we wal-
                   lered to the east,

               An’ we seemed the core an’ bowels of a gob of
                   wind an’ yeast.

               We smashed our way to suth’ard, an’ we clawed
                   an’ ratched to west,

               There was scarcely time for eatin’; there was
                   never chance for rest,

               With the liners slammin’ past us through the
                   fog an’ spume an’ rain,

               An’ the Mary dodgin’ passers like a puppy in a
                   lane.

               The third day found us flappin’ with a mighty
                   ragged wash,

               The lee rail runnin’ under an’ the trawl tubs all
                   a-swash,

               An’ at last the plummet told us we were backin’
                   to’ards the shoals,

               Yet we couldn’t ratch an’ leave ’em with our
                   canvas rags an’ holes.

                   T ack--tack--tack--

                   Still a-slippin’ back;

               ‘Twas a time for meditatin’ on the prospects
                   for our souls.

               Then up spoke Isaac Innis, with a starin’,
                   glarin’ glance,

               An’ he says: “My friends, I’m lookin’

                   where I look!

               I hain’t a saint in no way, an’ I’ll give a man a
                   chance,

               But I think I see a Jonah if I hain’t a lot
                   mistook.

               I reckon ye discern him,

               Now over goes he, durn him,

               Unless he squares the Hoodoo that he’s
                   brought, by hook or crook.”

               (We stood there, grim an’ solemn, an’ we
                   bent our gaze upon

               The stranger “conjer” sailor, that P. I.--
               Perkinson.)

               He never flinched nor quivered, though we’d
                   reckoned that he would,

               He simply turned an’ faced us, an’ he says: “I
                   meant ye good.

               I asked a breeze from suth’ard, but it slipped
                   an’ got away;

               Still, you needn’t worry, shipmates! When I
                   owe a debt I’ll pay.”

               He reeved a coil of hawser that the Mary car-
                   ried spare,

               An’ fastened on a gang-hook an’ baited it with
                   care.

               Then he took a magic vial an’ he sprinkled on
                   the bait

               A charm that Splithoof gave him, it is safe to
                   calkerlate.

               He hitched a dagon-sinker an’ he let the line
                   run free,

               An’ overboard he fired it, kersplasho, in the
                   sea,

               We didn’t get the language of the secret spells
                   he said,

               But we gathered he was fishin’ on the deepest
                   ocean bed.

               We heard him as he muttered an’ it seemed
                   that he could tell

               What kind of fish was bitin’, with an eyesight
                   straight from hell.

               “Ah, brim,” he sort o’ chanted as he gave the
                   line a twig--

               An’ must pay his lawful tribute to the awful
               Wah-hooh-wow.

               We saw Its neck a-curvin’ an’ we heard Its red
                   tongue lick

               As It drooled an’ swoofed the drippin’s, and
                   then, as one might pick

               A ripe an’ juicy cherry, It grabbed that “con-
                   jer” man

               An’ sank with coils a-flashin’ in the light from
                   old Cape Ann,

               An’ we--we towed with dories till we got to
               Gloucester shore--

               An’ you’ll never get a Banksman on the Mary
                   any more.

               No--no--no!

               Not a man will go,

               For her towage fee hain’t settled till the Wah-
                   hooh-wow takes four.

               She’s ashore in Gloucester harbor with a
                   weary, leary list,

               An’ the mud is creepin’, creepin’ to her rail;

               She’s sound in ev’ry timber--is the Mary of
                   the Mist,

               But the broom is at her mast-head as a sign
                   that she’s for sale.

               Yet no one wants to try her,

               She cannot find a buyer--

               The Hoodoo is upon her, an’ I’ve given you the
                   tale.

               (The story has a Warnin’ that’s as plain as
                   plain can be,

               An’’tis: Never go to triflin’ with the secrets
                   of the sea.)


SKIPPER JASON ELLISON

               His nose was like a liver hung against a Hub-
                   bard squash,

               --That nose of Jason Ellison, the skipper of
                   the “Hanks.”

               His nose was like a liver and the color wouldn’t
                   wash,

               But the men that “chanced” on trips with him,
                   they always got the dosh,.

               For there wa’n’t another skipper who could
                   touch him on the Banks.

               Whether biz was tight or slack,

               --When Jase came sailin’ back

               A gang was always coaxin’ for a berth upon
                   his smack.

               Not another Gloucester skipper
               Had sech easy job to ship a

               Topper-notcher fishin’ crew, with ev’ry man a
                   crack.

               For, you see, he was a wizard;--he did won-
                   ders with that nose,

               He could sniff and tell the weather-sign of ev’ry
                   gust that rose;

               You could figure from its color’twas a most
                   uncommon snoot,

               And whenever he predicted no one ventured to
                   dispute.

               His eye could nail a fish-slick off a league or so
                   away,

               --He could look around a corner, so his fel-
                   lows used to say;

               But the thing’twas most uncommon--where
                   our whole dependence hung,

               Was his long and round and peak-ed champion
                   taster of a tongue.

               ’Twas always out and chasin’ round the edges
                   of his lip;

               When a nasty time was brewin’

               It was always out and doin’

               Like as though it felt responsible for helpin’
                   handle ship.

               It had tasted ev’ry bottom soil from Quero to
                   the Cow,

               It knew the taste and savor, the place and where
                   and how.

               --Darkest night or wildest hurricane that ever
                   ramped or blew,

               We never lost our bearin’s, for old Jason always
                   knew.

               We would take some mutton taller and we’d
                   fill the hollowed head

               Of the plummet, smooth and even, then a man
                   would throw the lead.

               And we’d pass her back to Jason and he’d turn
                   the plummet up,

               Taste the scrimp of soil that stuck there on the
                   taller in the cup,

               And he’d tell us where we headed, though the
                   night be black’s a coal,

               For he knew the taste of bottoms from the Cow
                   to Quero Shoal.

               --Told us easy, off the reel,

               What was underneath our keel,

               --Didn’t need the sun or quadrant with old
               Jason at the wheel;

               He was only once mistaken in the memory of
                   men,

               --And we’ve always kept insistin’ that he
                   wa’n’t mistaken then.

               The storm came down upon us from the nor’-
                   nor’east by east,

                   --’Twas an equinoctial pealer,

                   A reg’lar ring-tail squealer,

               The sky was hasty puddin’ and the sea beneath
                   was yeast.

               When the Hanks went tossin’ up’ards it really
                   seemed we flew,

               And the sky seemed splittin’ open for to let
                   our vessel through;

               When we wallowed down wher-rooshin’ in the
                   gulf that gawped beneath,

               We’d’a’ left our hearts behind us if we hadn’t
                   clinched our teeth.

                   We’d really seem to feel
                   Old Hankses’ battered keel

               Go bumpin’ on the bottom when she made her
                   downward reel.

                   But the more she blew and blew,

                   Old Jason cheered his crew,

               --His whiskers whipping snappin’ as the wind
                   went screamin’ through.

               So we hung to brace and riggin’ and we let her
                   roar and roll,

               While each man pinned to Ellison the safety of
                   his soul.

               Then at last we knew’twas night-time by the
                   thick’nin’ overhead,

               And Jason licked his taster and he yelled:
               “Now throw the lead!”

               An’ we--we blinked to watch him from the
                   darkness where we clung,

               And waited for the verdict, of that long and
                   peak-ed tongue.

               He tasted--then he waited, and he smacked his
                   lips a spell,

               He tasted--tasted--tasted, then he gave an
                   awful yell:

                   “My God, ye critters, pray!”

                   --He slung the lead away,--

               And howled: “The world is endin’! It’s the
                   final Judgment Day!

               That plummet, there, has brought us up a hand-
                   ful of the loam

               From the Widder Abbott’s garden on the Neck
                   ro’d, back at home.

               A tidal wave has lifted us--the Hanks has run
                   away!

                   --It has tossed’er over Glo’ster,

                   And we sartin sure have lost’er,

               ’Less ye pray, ye sin-struck critters,’less ye
                   pray, pray, pray!”

               Each clung to rope and stanchion, each hung to
                   stay and brace,

               Each prayed up at the heavens while the spin-
                   drift lashed his face;

                   We prayed and prayed till mornin’

                   Till the early, yaller dawnin’

               Lit up the sea around us, and it also lit our
                   case;

                   Then we found an explanation
                   Of the sing’lar situation

               That was figgered in the darkness of the night
                   by Uncle Jase.

               For we noticed there was settin’ up against the
                   le’ward rail

               Some lavender and other yarbs, a-growin’ in a
                   pail.

                   --They’d been brought aboard by Jase
                   Who had worn a meechin’ face,

               For his sparkin’ of the widder was the gossip
                   of the place.

               He knowed a flower-garden looked peecooliar
                   on the Hanks,

               But he wanted some momentum of the widder
                   on the Banks.

               Now, the plummet bein’ handled in the dark-
                   ness of that night

               Somehow cuffed that dirt in passin’--as ye
                   might say, took a bite.

               And Jason knew the flavor of that scrimp of
                   garden loam,

               --There wa’n’t a soil to fool him’twixt Quero
                   Shoal and home.

                   By the flavor and the feel
                   He could tell us off the reel,

               The name of any bottom that was underneath
                   our keel.

               He was only once mistaken in the memory of
                   men,

               And his crew will keep insistin’ that he wa’n’t
                   mistaken then.


BALLADS OF DRIVE AND CAMP


THE RAPO-GENUS CHRISTMAS BALL

[Illustration: 0115]

               There had been no social doings since the drive
                   had passed the flume,

               And the section from Seboomook to the
               Chutes was rather blue;

               So the folks at Rapo-genus, where there’s rum
                   enough and room,

               Arranged a Christmas function and invited
               Murphy’s crew.

               The folks at Rapo-genus hired Ezra Hewson’s
                   hall,

               And posted up the notice for “Our Yearly
               Christmas Ball.”

               Now Murphy’s crew was willing and they
                   walked the fifteen miles,

               And arrived at Rapo-genus wearing most be-
                   nignant smiles.

               The genial floor director waited near the outer
                   door,

               And pleasantly suggested they remove the
                   boots they wore.

               He said that Rapo-genus wished to make of
                   this affair

               An elegant occasion, “reshershay and day-
                   bonair;”

               So it seemed the town’s opinion, after many
                   long disputes,

               That’twas time to change the custom and ex-
                   clude the spike-sole boots.

               He owned’twas rather drastic and would cause
                   a social jar

               ’Twixt Upper Ambejejus and the Twin Deps-
                   connequah,

               “But ’tis settled,” so he told them, “that nary
                   lady likes

               To do these fancy dances with a gent what’s
                   wearin’ spikes.

               So I asks ye very kindly, but I asks ye one and
                   all,

               To leave your brogan calkers on the outside of
                   this hall.”

               “This ’ere is sort o’ sudden,” said the boss of
               Murphy’s crew,

               “Jest excuse us for a minute, but we don’t
                   know what to do.

               We’ve attended social functions at the Upper
               Churchill Chutes,

               An’ the smartest set they had there was
                   a-wearin’ spike-sole boots.

               Excuse us for the mention, but we feel com-
                   pelled to say,

               ’Tisn’t fair to shift a fashion all a sudden, this
               ’ere way;

               An’ the local delegation, when it came with the
                   in-vite,

               Omitted partunt leathers in its mention of to-
                   night.

               So I guess ye’ll have to take us with these
                   spikes upon our soles,

               We can’t appear in stockin’s,’cause the most of
                   us have holes.”

               But the genial floor director guarded still the
                   outer door

               And declared that “gents with spikers weren’t
                   allowed upon the floor.”

               He said’twas very awkward that special guests
                   should thus

               Be kept in outer darkness, and he didn’t want a
                   fuss.

               But so long as Rapogenusites had issued their
                   decree

               He hadn’t any option, “as a gent with sense
                   could see.”

               So he passed his ultimatum, “Ye must shed
                   them spike-sole boots!

               For we hain’t the sort of humstrums that ye’ll
                   find at Churchill Chutes.”

               Then up spoke Smoky Finnegan, the boss of
               Murphy’s crew,

               Said he, “The push at Churchill sha’n’t be
                   slurred by such as you.

               We’re gents that’s very gentle an’ we never
                   make a fuss,

               But in slurrin’ folks at Churchill ye are also
                   slurrin’ us.

               We have interduced the fashions up at Church-
                   ill quite a while,

               An’ no Rapo-genus half-breeds have the right
                   to trig our style.

               If ye’ve dropped the vogue of spikers at the
                   present Christmas ball

               We will start the fashion over, good and solid,
                   that is all!

               So, mister, please excuse us, but ye’ll open up
                   your sluice,

               Or God have mercy on ye if I turn these gents
                   here loose!”

               Then the genial floor director shouted back
                   within the room,

               “Ho, men of Rapo-genus, here is trouble at
                   the boom!”

               But even as he shouted, with a rush and crush
                   and roar,

               Like a bursting jam of timber Murphy’s angels
                   stormed the door.

               Then against them rose the sawyers of the
               Rapo-genus mill,

               Who rallied for the conflict with a most in-
                   trepid will,

               But by new decree of fashion they were wear-
                   ing boughten suits

               And even all the boomsmen had put off their
                   spike-sole boots.

               So that gallant crew of Murphy’s simply trod
                   upon their feet,

               And backward, howling, cursing, they com-
                   pelled them to retreat.

               The air was full of slivers as the spikers chewed
                   the floor,

               And the man whose feet were punctured didn’t
                   battle any more.

               “Now, fellers, boom the outfit,” shouted Fin-
                   negan, the boss,

               His choppers formed a cordon and they swept
                   the room across;

               The people who were standing at the walls in
                   double ranks,

               Were pulled and thrown to center at the order,
               “Clear the banks!”

               Then they herded Rapo-genus in the middle of
                   the room,

               And slung themselves around it like a human
                   pocket-boom.

               All the matrons and the maidens were as
                   frightened as could be

               When Finnegan commanded, “Now collect the
                   boomage fee!”

               At a corner of the cordon they arranged a sort-
                   ing-gap

               And one by one the women were escorted from
                   the trap,

               And without a word of protest, as they drifted
                   slowly through,

               They paid their tolls in kisses to the men of
               Murphy’s crew.

               And at last when all the women had been sorted
                   from the crowd,

               The men were “second-raters,” so the boss of
               Murphy’s vowed.

               “We will raft them down as pulp-stuff!” and
                   he yelled to close about,

               “Now, my hearties, start the windlass,” or-
                   dered he, “we’ll warp ’em out!”

               Through the doorway, down the stairway, grim
                   and struggling, thronged the press,

               --All the brawn of Rapo-genus fighting hard
                   without success,

               They were herded down the middle of the
               Rapo-genus street,

               --If they tried to buck the center they were
                   bradded on the feet;

               They were yarded at the river; Murphy’s pea-
                   vies smashed the ice,

               Though the men of Rapo-genus couldn’t smash
                   that human vise

               That held them, jammed them, forced them!
               When the water touched their toes,

               Then at last they fought like demons for to
                   save their boughten clothes.

               But as fierce were Murphy’s hearties, and their
                   spikers helped them win,

               For they kicked and spurred their victims and
                   they dragged them shrieking in.

               Then with water to their shoulders there they
                   kept them in the wet

               While they gave them points on breeding and
                   the rules of etiquette.

               And at midnight’twas decided by a universal
                   vote

               That the strict demands of fashion do not call
                   for vest or coat;

               That’twixt Upper Ambejejus and the Twin
               Depsconnequah


BALLADS OF DRIVE AND CAMP

               Shirts of red and checkered flannel are the
                   smartest form, by far.

               And that gents may chew tobacco was declared
                   in all ways fit

               If they only use discretion as to when and
                   where they spit.

               And above all future cavil, sneer or jeer or vain
                   disputes,

               High was set this social edict: “Gents may

                   wear their spike-sole boots.”

               Then the men of Rapo-genus and the men of
               Murphy’s crew

               They dissolved their joint convention--they
                   were near dissolving, too!

               And to counteract the action of the water on
                   the skin

               They applied some balmy lotion to the proper
                   parts within.

               Then they danced till ruddy morning, and their
                   drying garments steamed,

               And awful was the shrinkage of those seven-
                   dollar suits!

               And the feet of Murphy’s woodsmen gashed
                   and slashed and clashed and seamed,

               Till a steady rain of slivers rained behind
                   those bradded boots.

               --And all disputes of etiquette were buried once
                   for all,

               At that Christmas social function, the Rapo-
                   genus Ball.


WHEN THE ALLEGASH DRIVE GOES THROUGH

               We’re spurred with the spikes in our soles;

               There is water a-swash in our boots;

               Our hands are hard-calloused by peavies and
                   poles,

               And we’re drenched with the spume of the
                   chutes.

               We gather our herds at the head

               Where the axes have toppled them loose,

               And down from the hills where the rivers are
                   fed

               We harry the hemlock and spruce.

               We hurroop them with the peavies from their
                   sullen beds of snow;

               With the pickpole for a goadstick, down the
                   brimming streams we go;

               They are hitching, they are halting, and they
                   lurk and hide and dodge,

               They sneak for skulking eddies, they bunt the
                   bank and lodge.

               And we almost can imagine that they hear the
                   yell of saws

               And the grunting of the grinders of the paper-
                   mills because

               They loiter in the shallows and they cob-pile at
                   the falls,

               And they buck like ugly cattle where the broad
                   deadwater crawls.

               But we wallow in and welt ’em with the water
                   to our waist,

               For the driving pitch is dropping and the
               Drouth is gasping “Haste!”

               Here a dam and there a jam, that is grabbed
                   by grinning rocks,

               Gnawed by the teeth of the ravening ledge that
                   slavers at our flocks;

               Twenty a month for daring Death; for fighting
                   from dawn to dark--

               Twenty and grub and a place to sleep in God’s
                   great public park;

               We roofless go, with the cook’s bateau to fol-
                   low our hungry crew--

               A billion of spruce and hell turned loose when
                   the Allegash drive goes through.

               My lad with the spurs at his heel
               Has a cattle-ranch bronco to bust;

               A thousand of Texans to wheedle and wheel
               To market through smother and dust.

               But I with the peavy and pole

               Am driving the herds of the pine,

               Grant to my brother what suits his soul,

               But no bellowing brutes in mine.

               He would wince to wade and wallow--and I
                   hate a horse or steer!

               But we stand the kings of herders--he for
               There and I for Here.

               Though he rides with Death behind him when
                   he rounds the wild stampede,

               I will chop the jamming king-log and I’ll match
                   him, deed for deed.

               And for me the greenwood savor and the lash
                   across my face

               Of the spitting spume that belches from the
                   back-wash of the race;

               The glory of the tumult where the tumbling
                   torrent rolls

               With a half a hundred drivers riding through
                   with lunging poles.

               Here’s huzza for reckless chances! Here’s
                   hurrah for those who ride

               Through the jaws of boiling sluices, yeasty
                   white from side to side!

               Our brawny fists are calloused and we’re mostly
                   holes and hair,

               But if grit were golden bullion we’d have coin
                   to spend, and spare!

               Here some rips and there the lips of a whirl-
                   pool’s bellowing mouth,

               Death we clinch and Time we fight, for be-
                   hind us gasps the Drouth.

               Twenty a month, bateau for a home, and only
                   a peep at town,

               For our money is gone in a brace of nights
                   after the drive is down;

               But with peavies and poles and care-free souls
                   our ragged and roofless crew

               Swarms gayly along with whoop and song
                   when the Allegash drive does through.


THE KNIGHT OF THE SPIKE-SOLE BOOTS

               They had told me to’ware of the “Hulling
               Machine,”

               But a tenderfoot is a fool!

               Though the man that’s new to a birch canoe
               Believes that he knows, as a rule.

               They had told me to carry a mile above
               Where the broad deadwater slips

               Into fret and shoal to tumble and roll
               In the welter of Schoodic rips;

               But knowing it all, as a green man does,

               And lazy, as green men are,

               I hated to pack on my aching back
               My duffle and gear so far.

               So, as down the rapids there stretched a strip
               With a most encouraging sheen,

               I settled the blade of my paddle and made

               For the head of the “Hulling Machine.”

               It wasn’t because I hadn’t been warned
               That I rode full tilt at Death--

               It was simply the plan of an indolent man
               To save his back and his breath.

               For I reckoned I’d slice for the left-hand shore
               When the roar of the falls drew near,

               And I braced my knees and took my ease--
               There was nothing to do but steer.

               (_There are many savage cataracts, slavering
                   for prey,

                   ’Twixt Abol-jackamcgus and the lower Brass-
                   u-a,

               But of all the yowling demons that are wicked
                   and accurst,

               The demon of the Hulling Place is ugliest and
                   worst._)

               Now the strip in that river like burnished steel
               Looked comfortable and slow,

               But my birch canoe went shooting through
               Like an arrow out of a bow.

               And the way was hedged by ledges that
                   grinned

               As they shredded the yeasty tide
               And hissed and laughed at my racing craft
               As it drove on its headlong ride.

               I sagged on the paddle and drove it deep,

               But it snapped like a pudding-stick,

               Then I staked my soul on my steel-shod pole,
               And the pole smashed just as quick.
               There was nothing to do but to clutch the
                   thwarts

               And crouch in that birchen shell,

               And grit my teeth as I viewed beneath
               The boil of that watery hell.

               I may have cursed--I don’t know now--

               I may have prayed or wept,

               But I yelled halloo to Connor’s crew
               As past their camp I swept.

               I yelled halloo and I waved adieu

               With a braggart’s shamming mien,

               Then over the edge of the foaming ledge
               I dropped in the “Hulling Machine.”

                   (_A driver hates a coward as he hates diluted
                   rye;

               Stiff upper-lip for living, stiff backbone when
                   you die!

               They cheered me whcn I passed them; they
                   followed me with cheers,

               That, as bracers for a dying man, are better far
                   than tears._)

               The “Hulling Place” spits a spin of spume
               Steaming from brink to brink,

               And it seemed that my soul was cuffed in a
                   bowl

               Where a giant was mixing his drink.

               And ’twas only by luck or freak or fate,

               Or because I’m reserved to be hung,

               That I found myself on a boulder shelf

               Where I flattened and gasped and clung.
               To left the devilment roared and boiled,

               To right it boiled and roared;

               On either side the furious tide
               Denied all hope of ford.

               So I clutched at the face of the dripping ledge
               And crouched from the lashing rain,
               While the thunderous sound of the tumult
                   ground

               Its iron into my brain.

               I stared at the sun as he blinked above
               Through whorls of the rolling mists,

               And I said good-by and prepared to die
               As the current wrenched my wrists.

               But just as I loosened my dragging clutch,

               Out of the spume and fogs
               A chap drove through--one o’ Connor’s crew--
               Riding two hemlock logs.

               He was holding his pick-pole couched at Death
               As though it were lance in rest,

               And his spike-sole boots, as firm as roots,

               In the splintered bark were pressed.

               If this be sacrilege, pardon me, pray;

               But a robe such as angels wear
               Seemed his old red shirt with its smears of dirt,
               And a halo his mop of hair;

               And never a knight in a tournament
               Rode lists with a jauntier mien
               Than he of the drive who came alive

               Through the hell of the “Hulling Ma-
                   chine.”

               He dragged me aboard with a giant swing,
               And he guided the rushing raft
               Serenely cool to the foam-flecked pool

               Where the dimpling shallows laughed.
               And he drawled as he poled to the nearest
                   shore,

               While I stuttered my gratitude:

               “I jest came through to show that crew
               I’m a match for a sportsman dude.”

               There are only two who have raced those falls
               And by lucky chance were spared:

               Myself dragged there in a fool’s despair
               And he, the man who dared!

               I make no boast, as you’ll understand,

               And there’s never a boast from him;

               And even his name is lost to fame--

               I simply know’twas “Jim.”

               If Jim was a fool, as I hear you say
               With a sneer beneath your breath,

               So were knights of old who in tourneys bold
               Lunged blithesomely down at Death.

               And if I who was snatched from the jaws of
                   hell

               Am to name a knight to you,

               Here’s the Knight of the Firs, of the Spike-
                   S’ole Spurs,

               That man from Connor’s crew!


’BOARD FOR THE ALLEGASH”

               A hundred miles through the wilds of Maine
               You soon may ride on a railroad train.

               Some Yankee hustlers have planned the scheme
               To take the place of the tote-road team.

               They have the charter, the grit and cash
               To stretch their tracks to the Allegash.

               Along the length of the forest route
               The woodland creatures will hear the hoot
               Of the bullgine’s whistle, where up to now
               The big bull moose has called his cow.

               And old Katahdin’s long fin-back
               Will echo loud with the clickity-clack
               Of wheels that merrily clatter and clash
               Through the sylvan wastes toward the Allegash.

               Sing hey! for the route to Churchill Lake,

               But oh, for the chap who twists the brake.

               His buckskin gloves will save the wear
               On his good stout palms, you know, but where
               Will he find relief when his throat is lame
               With the wrench of a yard-long Indian name?
               ’Tis something, friend, of a lingual trick
               To say “Seboois” and “Wassataquoick,”

               “Lunksoos,” is tame and “Nesourdneheunk,”
                But what do you say to a verbal chunk
               To chew at once of the size of this:

               “Pok-um-kes-wango-mok-kessis”?

               I don’t believe’twould phase a man
               To bellow out “Lah-kah-hegan
               His windpipe scarcely would get a crook
               By spouting forth, “Pong-kwahemook,”

               And even “Pata-quon-gamis”

               Is easy. But just look at this:

               Ah, where is he who wouldn’t run
               From “Ap-mo-jenen-ma-ganun”?

               E’en “Umbazookskus” scratches some,

               But doesn’t this just strike you dumb?

               “Nahma-juns-kwon-ahgamoc”?

               Just think of having that to sock
               Athwart the palpitating air
               Straight at a frightened passengaire.

               Hot bearings can be swabbed with oil,

               And busted culverts yield to toil,

               One can replace a broken rail
               But larynxes are not on sale.

               So, while it’s hey for Churchill Lake
               It’s oh, for the chap who twists the brake.


THE WANGAN CAMP

                   _The wangan camp! *

                        The wangan camp!

               Did ye ever go a-shoppin’ in the wangan
                        camp?_

               You can get some plug tobacker or a lovely
                   corn-cob pipe,

                        * _The wangan is the woods store that most of the
                        Maine lumber camps maintain._

               Or a pair o’ fuzzy  trowsers that was picked
                   before they’s ripe.

               They fit ye like your body had a dreadful
                   lookin’ twist;

               There is shirts that’s red and yaller and with
                   plaids as big’s your fist;

               There are larrigans and shoe-packs for all
                   makes and shapes of men,

               As yaller as the standers of a Cochin China
                   hen,

               The goods is rather shop-worn and purraps a
                   leetle damp,

               --But you take ’em or you leave ’em--either
                   suits the wangan camp.

                   _The wangan camp!

                        The wangan camp!

                   There is never any mark-downs at the
                        wangan camp._

               The folks that knit the stockin’s that they sell
                   to us, why say--

               They’d git as rich as Moses on a half of what
                   we pay.

               I haven’t seen the papers, but I jedge this
               Bower war

               Is a-raisin’ Ned with prices--they are wust I
                   ever saw.

               I was figg’rin’ t’other ev’nin’ what I’d bought,
               --by Jim, I’ll bet

               That a few more pairs o’larrigans will fetch me
                   out in debt.

               For I’ve knowed a stiddy worker to go out as
                   poor’s a tramp
‘Cause he traded som’at reg’lar at the com-
                   p’ny’s wangan camp.

                   _The wangan camp!

                        The wangan camp!

                   They tuck it to you solid at the wangan
                        camp_.


PLUG TOBACCO AT SOURDNAHUNK

               Now just for a moment I’ll let the machine,
               Grind lyrical praise of the base nicotine.

               --An ode of a sort of a commonplace stripe
               Addressed to plebeian cut-plug and the pipe.
               Oh, answer me now, gentle friends of the line,
               Who have sought the blest haunts of the
                   spruce and the pine,

               Have you found in the woods that a fragrant
                   cigar

               Tastes worse than an elm-root slopped over
                   with tar?

               Queer thing, that, my friend, but it’s none the
                   less true,

               --This quirk of tobacco--I’ll leave it to you!

               But there’s savor in wreaths from the brier and
                   cob,

               In the depths of the forest afar from the mob;

               And an incense that’s sweet to ecstatic degree

               Curls up from the bowl of the ancient T. D.

               While choicest Perfectos smell ranker than
                   punk

               In the shade of the hemlocks of Sourdnahunk.

               Ah, here do the tables most wondrously turn!

               The city olfactories sniff if you burn

               Aught else than the finest Havana in rolls;

               Folks turn up their noses at cut-plug in bowls;

               You may roam where you like with the base
                   cigarette

               But you can’t smoke your pipe in the house,
                   now you bet.

               For curtains and pictures and hangings and
                   lace

               All flutter rebukingly there in your face;

               And wife and the daughters and neighbors all
                   cough

               And wish that the pipe-smoking man would
                   break off.

               But ah, gentle fisher, the woods shout to thee,

               With fervent request that you bring the T. D.

               For the reek that the flavored tobacco roll pours

               Belongs back in town and not here out-of-
                   doors.

               Leave there city manners, creased trousers,
                   your “job,”

               Bring here to the woods your tobacco and cob,

               The hemlocks above you will tenderly sigh

               As the incense from pipe bowls drifts past to
                   the sky.

               Ah, human magician, the secret is yours!

               Would you work mystic charms in the world
                   out-of-doors?

               Take you the alembic of chastened brown bowl.

               Touch fire--and visions will comfort your soul,

               As you gaze out at Life through the wreaths
                   from a junk

               Of good plug tobacco at Sourdnahunk.


O’CONNOR FROM THE DRIVE

               _Men who plough the sea, spend they may--and
                   free!

               But nowhere is there prodigal among those
                   careless Jacks,

               Who will toss the hard-won spoil of a year of
                   lusty toil,

               Like the Prodigals of Pick-pole and the Ish-
                   maels of the Axe._

               You could hear him when he started from the
               Rapogenus Chutes,

               You could hear the cronching-cranching of his
                   swashing, spike-sole boots,

               You could even hear the colors in the flannel
                   shirt he wore,

               And the forest fairly shivered at the way
                   O’Connor swore.

               ’Twas averred that in the city, full a hundred
                   miles away,

               They felt a little tremor when O’Connor drew
                   his pay.

                   Though he drew it miles away,

                   When O’Connor drew his pay,

               The people in the city felt the shock of it that
                   day.

                   And they said in deepest gloom,

                   “The drive is in the boom,

               And O’Connor’s drawn his wages; clear the
                   track and give him room.”

               He rode two giant spruces thro’ the smother of
                   the Chutes,

               He rode them, standing straddled, shod and
                   spurred in spike-sole boots;

               And just for exhibition, when he struck Che-
                   suncook Rip

               He rolled the logs and ran them with never
                   miss or slip.

               For a dozen miles thro* rapids did he balance
                   on one log,

               And he shot the Big Seboomook at a mighty
                   lively jog.

               He reached Megantic Landing where he nim-
                   bly leaped ashore,

               And he bought some liquid fire at the Bemis
                   wangan store.

               For, O’Connor’d drawn his pay,

               He was then upon his way

               For a little relaxation and a day or two of play.
               The drive was in the boom,

               Safely past Seboois flume,

               And all O’Connor wanted was rum enough--
                   and room.

               O’Connor owned the steamboat from Megantic
                   to the Cove:

               Whatever there was stavable, he forthwith
                   calmly stove.

               He larruped crew and captain when they
                   wouldn’t let him steer,

               Sat down upon the smoke-stack--smoked out
                   the engineer.

               Of course he was arrested when the steamer
                   got to shore;

               A justice fined O’Connor and he paid the fine
               --and more!

                   He had drawn his season’s pay,

                   He had cash to throw away,

               He had cash to burn! O’Connor’d spurn for
                   clemency to pray.

                   The drive was safely down,

                   He was on his way to town;

               He was doing up the section and proposed to
                   do it brown.

               O’Connor owned the railroad, as O’Connor’d
                   owned the craft.

               Pie cronched from rear to engine, and he
                   chaffed and quaffed and laughed.

               He smashed the plate-glass windows, for he
                   didn’t like the styles.

               He smashed and promptly settled for a dozen
                   stove-pipe tiles;

               They took him into limbo right and left along
                   the line,

               He pulled his roll and willingly kept peeling off
                   his fine.

                   With his portly wad of pay
                   He paved his genial way,

               He’d had no chance to spend it on the far-off
                   Brass-u-a.

                   But now the drive was in,

                   As he’d neither kith nor kin,

               There seemed no special reason why he
                   shouldn’t throw his tin.

               O’Connor reached the city and he reached it
                   with a jar,

               He had piled up all the cushions in the center
                   of the car.

               --Had set them all on fire, and around the blaz-
                   ing pile

               He was dancing “dingle breakdowns” in a
                   very jovial style.

               And before they got him cornered they had
                   rung in three alarms,

               And it took the whole department to tie his
                   legs and arms.

               He had spent his last lone copper, but they sold
                   his spike-sole boots

               For enough to pay his freightage back to Rapo-
                   genus Chutes.

                   They put him in a crate,

                   And they shipped him back by freight,

               To commence his year of chopping up in Town-
                   ship Number Eight.

                   And earnestly he swore,

                   When they dumped him on the shore,

               He had never spent his wages quite so pleas-
                   urably before.

               _Men who plough the sea, spend they may--and
                   free!

               But nowhere is there prodigal among those
                   careless Jacks,

               Who will toss the hard-won spoil of a year of
                   lusty toil,

               Like the Prodigals of Pick-pole and the Ish-
                   maels of the Axe._


JUST HUMAN NATURE


BALLAD OF OZY B. ORR

               Here’s a plain and straight story of Ozy B.
                   Orr--

               A ballad unvarnished, but practical, for

               It tells how the critter he wouldn’t lie down

               When a Hoodoo had reckoned to do him up
                   brown.

               It shows how a Yankee alights on his feet

               When folks looking on have concluded he’s
                   beat

               Now Ozy had money and owned a good farm

               And matters were working all right to a charm.

               When he “went on” some papers to help his
                   son Bill

               Who was all tangled up in a dowel-stock mill.

               Now Bill was a quitter, and therefore one day

               Those notes became due and his dad had to pay.

               So he slapped on a mortgage and then buckled
                   down

               To pay up the int’rest and keep off the town.

               Oh, that mortgage, it clung like a sheep-tick in
                   wool,

               And the more she sagged back, harder Ozy
                   would pull;

               But a mortgage can tucker the likeliest man,

               And Ozy he found himself flat on hard pan.

               He dumped in his stock and his grain and his
                   hay,

               He scrimped and he skived and endeavored to
                   pay;

               He sold off his hay and his grain and his stock

               Till the ricky-tick-tack of the auctioneer’s knock

               Kept up such a rapping on Ozy’s old farm

               That the auctioneer nigh had a kink in his
                   arm--

               And it happened at last,’long o’ Thanksgiving
                   time,

               Old Ozy was stripped to his very last dime.

               And he said to his helpmeet: “Poor mummy,
               I van

               I guess them ’ere critters have got all they can.

               For they’ve sued off the stock till the barns
                   are all bare,

               ’Cept the old turkey-gobbler, a-peckin’ out
                   there;

               They’d’a’ lifted him, too, for those lawyers are
                   rough,

               But they reckoned that gobbler was rather too
                   tough.

               So they’ve left us our dinner for Thanksgivin’
               Day;

               Just remember that, mummy, to-night when
                   you pray.

               Now chirk up your appetite, for, with God’s
                   grace,

               We’ll eat all at once all the stock on the place.”

               But Ozy he was a cheerful man,

               A goodly man, a godly man--

               He didn’t repine at Heaven’s plan, but he took
                   things as they came;

               And cheerfully soon he whistled his tune

               That he always whistled-- ’twas Old Zip
               Coon,

               And he whistled it all the afternoon with never
                   a word of blame.

               While all unaware of his owner’s care,

               The gobbler pecked in the sunshine there,

               With a tip-toe, tip-toe Nancy air, and ruffled
                   like dancing dame;

               Till it seemed to Ozy, whistling still
               To the ripity-rap of the turkey’s bill,

               That the prim old gobbler was keeping time

               To the sweep and the swing of the wordless
                   rhyme:

               Pickety-peck,

               With arching neck,

               The turkey strutted with bow and beck.

               And a Yankee notion was thereby born
               To Ozy Orr ere another morn.

               A practical fellow was Ozy B. Orr,

               As keen an old Yankee as ever you saw
               A bit of a platform he made out of tin,

               With a chance for a kerosene lantern within;
               He took his old fiddle and rosined the bow
               And took the old turkey--and there was his
                   show!

               You don’t understand? Well, I’ll own up to
                   you

               The crowds that he gathered were mystified,
                   too.

               For he advertised there on his banner unfurled
               “A Jig-dancing Turkey--Sole one in the
               World.”

               And the more the folks saw it, the more and
                   the more

               They flocked with their dimes, and jammed
                   at the door;

               For it really did seem that precocious old bird
               At sound of the fiddle was wondrously stirred.
               In stateliest fashion the dance would commence,
               Then faster and faster, with fervor intense,
               Until, at the end, with a shriek of the strings
               And a furious gobble and whirlwind of wings,

               The turkey would side-step and two-step and
                   spin,

               Then larrup with ardor that echoing tin.

               And widely renowned, and regarded with awe,

               Was the “Great Dancing Turkey of Ozy B.
               Orr.”

               And the mortgage was paid by the old gobbler’s
                   legs--

               Now Ozy is heading up money in kegs.
[Illustration: 0149]

               He would calmly tuck beneath his chin
               The bulge of his cracked old violin,

               He sawed while the turkey whacked the tin,
                   the people they paid and came;

               For swift and soon to the lilting tune,

               When he fiddled the measure of Old Zip
               Coon,

               The gobbler would whirl in a rigadoon--or
                   something about the same!

               While under the tin, tucked snugly in,

               Was the worthless Bill, that brand of Sin;

               And’twas Bill that made the turkey spin with
                   the tip of the lantern flame;

               For, as ever and ever the tin grew hot

               The turkey made haste for to leave that spot,

               Till it seemed that the gobbler was keeping time

               To the sweep and the swing of the fiddle’s
                   rhyme.

               Pickety-peck,

               With snapping neck,

               The gobbler gamboled with bow and beck!
               Does a notion pay? It doth--it doth!

               Just reckon what O. B. Orr is “wuth.”


THE BALLAD OF “OLD SCRATCH”

               They have always called him “Scratchy,” Ezry
               “Scratch” and “Uncle Scratch,”

               Since the time he cut that ding-do in a certain
                   wrasslin’ match;

               ’Twas a pesky scaly caper; he deserved to get
                   the name

               --If he lives to be a hundred he will carry it
                   the same.

               He had vummed that he could wallop any feller
                   in the place,

               He allowed that as a wrassler he could sort of
                   set the pace,

               And he bragged so much about it that at last
                   we came to think.

               If he’d lived in time o’ Samson--could have
                   downed Sam quick’s a wink.

               And there wasn’t nary feller in the town nor
                   round about

               Who had grit or grab or gumption to take holt
                   and shake him out.

               And he set around the gros’ry keepin’ up his
                   steady clack

               That there never was a feller who could put
                   him on his back.

               So it went till Penley Peaslee’s oldest boy came
                   home from school

               --And I tell you that’s a shaver that ain’t any-
                   body’s fool--!

               He ain’t tall nor big nor husky and he isn’t
                   very stout,

               But he’s nimble as a cricket and as spry as all
                   git out!

               Well, he heard old Ezry braggin’ and at last
                   as cool’s could be

               Boy says, “Uncle, shed your weskit; I will
                   take your stump,” says he.

               Guess’twas jest about a minute’fore old Ezry
                   got his breath,

               Then says he, “Scat on ye, youngster! I
                   should squat ye ha’f to death.

               What ye think ye know’bout wrasslin’?
                   S’pose I’m go’n’ to fool with boys?”

               But the crowd commenced to hoot him and they
                   made sech pesky noise

               That at last they got him swearing and he
                   shed his coat and vest

               And commenced to stretch his muscles and to
                   pound against his breast.

               “S’pose I’ve got to if ye say so,” says he scorn-
                   ful as ye please,

               “But I’ll throw that little shaver, one hand
                   tied and on my knees.

               I can slat him galley-endways and not use one-
                   ha’f my strength.

               What ye want bub? Take your ch’ice now;
                   side holts, back holts, or arm’s length?

               Collar’n elbow if ye say so. Name yer pizen!
               Take your pick!”

               “Suit yourself,” the youngster answered;
               “long’s ye git to business quick.”

               As I’ve said the boy wam’t heavy;--he was
                   spry, though, quicker’n scat,

               And he had old Ezry spinnin’’fore he knew
                   where he was at;

               Hooked him solid, give a twister, doubled up
                   the old gent’s back

               And Ez tumbled like a chimbly--smooth and
                   solid and ker-whack!

               Well, he lay there stunned and breathless with
                   his mouth jam-full o’ dirt

               And his both hands full o’ gingham, for he had
                   the youngster’s shirt.

               When the crowd commenced to holler as he
                   staid there on the ground

               Grocer Weaver’s old black tom-cat came on tip-
                   toe sniffin’ round.

               He was just a-gettin’ ready for to gnaw off
               Ezry’s nose

               When the old man got his senses and he sud-
                   denly arose.

               Then he grabbed that old black tom-cat good
                   and solid by the tail

               And commenced to welt the youngster just as
                   hard as he could whale.

               Ev’ry time he reached and raked him on that
                   bare white back of his--

               Ow! them claws they grabbed in dretful and
                   they hurt him--ah, gee whiz!

               There were howls and yowls and spittin’s; it
                   was rip and slit and tear,

               And the air was full of tom-cat and of flyin’
                   skin and hair.

               Final clip that Ezry hit him it was such a
                   tarnal clout

               That the cat he stuck on solid till they pried
                   his toe-nails out.

               So they’ve always called him “Scratchy” Ezry
                   “Scratch” and “Uncle Scratch.”

               Since the time he cut that ding-do in a certain
                   wrasslin’ match;

               ’Twas a pesky scaly caper; he deserved to get
                   the name,

               --If he lives to be a hundred he will carry it
                   the same.


WHEN ’LISH PLAYED OX

                   Grouty and gruff,

                   Profane and rough,

               Old’Lish Henderson slammed through life;
                   Swore at his workers,

                   --Both honest and shirkers,
               Threatened his children and raved at his wife.
               Yes,’Lish was a waspish and churlish old man,
               Who was certainly built on a porcupine plan,

               In all of the section there couldn’t be found
               A neighbor whom Henderson hadn’t “stood
‘round.”

               And the men that he hired surveyed him with
                   awe

               And cowered whenever he flourished his jaw.
               Till it came to the time that he hired John Gile,
               A brawny six-footer from Prince Edward’s
               Isle.

               He wanted a teamster, old Henderson did,

               And a number of candidates offered a bid,

               But his puffy red face and the glare in his eyes,

               And his thunderous tones and his ominous size

               And the wealth of his language embarrassed
                   them so

               Their fright made them foolish;--he told them
                   to go.

               And then, gaunt and shambling, with good-
                   natured smile,

               Came bashfully forward the giant John Gile.

               “Have ye ever driv’ oxen?” old Henderson
                   roared.

               Gile said he could tell the brad-end of a goad.

               Then Henderson grinned at the crowd stand-
                   ing’round

               And he dropped to his hands and his knees on
                   the ground.

               “Here, fellow,” he bellowed, “you take that
               ’ere gad,

               Just imagine I’m oxen; now drive me, my
                   lad.

               Just give me some samples of handlin’ the stick,

               I can tell if I want ye and tell ye blame quick.”

               Gile fingered the goad hesitatingly, then

               As he saw Uncle’Lish grinning up at the men

               Who were eyeing the trial, said, “Mister, I
                   swan,

               ‘Tain’t fair on a feller--this teamin’ a man.”

               “I’m oxen--I’m oxen,” old Henderson cried,

               “Git onto your job or git out an’ go hide.”

               Then Gile held the goad-stick in uncertain pose

               And gingerly swished it near Uncle’Lish’s
                   nose.

               “Wo hysh,” he said gently; “gee up, there,
                   old Bright!

               Wo hysh--wo, wo, hysh,”--but with mischiev-
                   ous light

               In his beady old eyes Uncle’Lish never stirred

               And the language he used was the worst ever
                   heard.

               “Why, drat ye,” he roared “hain’t ye got no
                   more sprawl

               Than a five year old girl? Why, ye might as
                   well call

               Your team ‘Mister Oxen,’ and say to ’em,
                   ‘please!’”

               And then Uncle’Lish settled down on his
                   knees.

               And he snapped, “Hain’t ye grit enough, man,
                   to say scat?

               Ye’ll never git anywhere, drivin’ like that.

               I’ll tell ye right now that the oxen I own

               Hain’t driven like kittens; they don’t go alone,

               There’s pepper-sass in ’em--they’re r’arin’ an’
                   hot, .

               An’ I--I’m the r’arin’est ox in the lot.”

               Then Uncle’Lish Henderson lowered his head

               And bellowed and snorted. John Gile calmly
                   said,

               “Of course--oh, of course in a case such as
                   that--”

               He threw out his quid and he threw down his
                   hat,

               Jumped up, cracked his heels, danced around
               Uncle’Lish

               And yelled like a maniac, “Blast ye, wo hysh!”

               Ere Uncle’Lish Henderson knew what was
                   what

               His teeth fairly chattered, he got such a swat

               From that vicious ash stick--though that
                   wasn’t as bad

               As when the man gave him two inches of brad,

               --Just jabbed it with all of his two-handed
                   might,

               “Wo, haw, there,” he shouted, “gee up there,
                   old Bright!”

               Well, Uncle’Lish gee-ed--there’s no doubt
                   about that--

               Went into the air and he squalled like a cat,

               Made a swing and a swoop at that man in a
                   style

               That would show he proposed to annihilate
               Gile.

               But Gile clinched the goad-stick and hit him a
                   whack

               On the bridge of his nose--sent him staggering
                   back,

               And he reeled and he gasped and he sunk on
                   his knee,

               “Dad-rat ye,” yelled Gile, “don’t ye try to
                   hook me!

               Gee up, there--go’long there; wo haw an’ wo
                   hysh!”

               And again did he bury that brad in old’Lish,

               Then he lammed and he basted him, steady and
                   hard,

               He chased and he bradded him all’round the
                   yard,

               Till’Lish fairly screamed, as he dodged like a

                   fox,

               “For heaven’s sake, stranger, let’s play I hain’t
                   ox.”

               Gile bashfully stammered, “Why,’course ye
                   are not!

               But ye’ll have to excuse me--I sort o’ forgot!”

                   With a twisted smile
                   ‘Lish looked at Gile,

               Then he lifted one hand from the place where
                   he smarted;

                   And he held it out,

                   --Gripped good and stout,

               “Ye’re hired,” said he; “I reckin I’m
                   started!”


OLD “TEN PER CENT”

               His mouth is pooched and solemn and he’ll
                   never squeeze a smile,

               He’s yeller ’em saffron bitters’cause he’s col-
                   ored so by bile;

               No organ in his system seems to run the way
                   it should,

               --He never has a hearty shake or says a word
                   of good.

               He’ll soften, though, a crumb or so if money’s
                   to be lent

               And some poor strugglin’ devil comes to time
                   with ten per cent.

               He is flingin’ and is dingin’ first at this and
                   then at that,

               And to ev’ry reputation gives a cuff or kick or
                   slat;

               Pretty lately he was spewin’ sland’rous gossip
                   he had heard,

               And our minister was passin’. Wal, the elder
                   he was stirred

               And he says, “Ah, Brother Bowler, if you’d
                   lived in Jesus’ time

               When they brought to him the woman whom
                   they’d taken in her crime,

               That story in the Scriptures would have took
                   a diff’rent tone,

               For I s’picion if you’d been there you’d’a’ up
                   and thrown the stone.

               Yes, I reckon that the woman would have sartin
                   been a goner,

               For you’d thrown the rock--and that hain’t
                   all! You’d’a’ thrown one with a corner!”

               Wal, ye’d think a dig of that sort would have
                   shamed him ha’f to death,

               But, Land o’ Goshen, neighbor,--hain’t no mor-
                   tifyin’ Seth!

                   --Jest a waste of breath
                   To jab at Uncle Seth,

               He’s holler where the soul should be--hain’t
                   got no human peth.

               He’s deef to ev’ry cry of want and don’t know
                   what is meant,

               But--bet he’ll hear for ha’f a mile the whisper,
                   “Ten per cent!”

               It took a lot of practicin’ to work his hearin’
                   down

               To where he’s never bothered by the troubles in
                   our town.

               He never hears the sorrows of some woman
                   who is left

               With orphans and a morgidge’bout a thousand
                   times her heft.

               He hain’t the one that worries when she says
                   she cannot pay,

               The morgidge holds her anchored--the farm
                   can’t git away.

               Upon the shattered door-steps of his racked
                   old tenements

               He crowds the wolf of hunger when he goes
                   to git his rents.

               But he never hears the wailin’ of the troubled
                   folks within,

               He simply wants his money and’tis tenant, trot
                   or tin!

               He never hears entreaties of his neighbors in
                   the lurch

               Unless there’s good endorsers. He never hears
                   the church,

               He never hears the knockin’ of a fist upon his
                   door

               Unless he knows the thuddin’ means his ten
                   per cent--or more.

               (His auditory organs sense no waves from
                   wails of sorrow

               But they hear the faintest zephyr from the man
                   who wants to borrow.)

               Now, with ears in that condition, when they’re
                   extry dulled by death,

               On the Resurrection mornin’ I’ll have fears for
               Uncle Seth.

                   When Gab’rel toots his trump
                   And risen spirits jump,

               And up before the Throne of Light forthwith
                   proceed to hump,

               I reckin Seth will slumber on, not knowin’ what
                   is meant
‘Cause Gab’rel won’t take’special pains to hol-
                   ler, “Ten per cent!”


DIDN’T BUST HIS FORK

               He could tell ye what he’d done,

               --He was eloquent, my son,

               In puttin’ all his doin’s into mighty lively talk.

               But I’ve follered him around,

               And, by gosh, I never found

               That he ever lifted hard enough to
                   Bust

                        His

                             Fork!

               Pie was always full o’ brag
               ‘Bout how he could lift a jag
               That would double up a hossfork and make
                   the horses balk.

               But I never see’d no signs
               That he ever bent the tines
               Or ever bruk’ the handle of his
                   Old

                        Pitch

                             Fork!


MEAN SAM GREEN

                   Old Sam Green!

                        What? Mean?

               I reckin that a meaner man was skercely ever
                   seen.

               People said he’d skin a fly for sake of hide an’
                   grease;

               He wouldn’t grin--it stretched the skin, an’
                   he begredged the crease.

               Sort o’ squirmed when asked to set--didn’t
                   want the chance!

               We wondered why; we found at last’twas
                   jest to save his pants.

               Never used to shave himself, never combed his

                   hair;

               Used to sort o’ hate to wash, account o’ wear
                   and tear.

               Never beau-ed the wimmen’round, never spent
                   a cent,

               ’Cept the time he bought a girl an ounce of
                   pepperment.

               Alius kind o’ groaned o’ that; said the dratted
                   dunce

               Set an’ chawnked an’ chawnked an’ chawnked
                   an’ et it all to once.

               Said he learned a lesson then to last him all
                   through life;

               Said’twould take a millionaire to feed a hearty
                   wife.

               So he planned an’ worked an’ saved an’ grubbed
                   his little patch,

               Allowed he’d ruther plug along, jest like he
                   was, “old bach.”

               Sam, though, shifted later on--the pesky mean
                   old goat--

               He struck a find; she’d had a shock that par-
                   alyzed her throat! .

               Still, she worked most dretful spry--didn’t
                   need no spurs--

               Only “out” that woman had was that ’ere
                   throat of hers. 1

               Married her? you bet he did! Straight--right
                   off the reel!

               Reckoned that she couldn’t eat a reel, good
                   hearty meal.

               Figgered he’d git lots of work an’ only feed her
                   slim;

               Wife, though, wopsed it t’other way an’ got
                   the laugh on him!

               I reckin that a madder man was skercely ever
                   seen,

                   Than Green,

                        Old mean Sam Green.

               Soon’s she fairly placed her feet, she called the
                   doctors in,

               An’ they commenced to work on her an’ tap
                   old Green for tin.

               He swore an’ howled, but she was boss--she
                   run the whole concern--

               She said she’d morgidge all he owned to cure
                   that throat of her’n.

               The high-priced doctors far an’ near come
                   hustlin’ to the place,

               An’ fubbed an’ fussed an’ then discussed that
                   reely puzzlin’ case.

               An’ each performed his little stunt with all his
                   skill an’ will,

               An’ said that time would do the rest--an’ then
                   put in his bill.

               Wal, Land o’ Goshen, Sam took on as though
                   they drawed his blood.

               He’d hitch and hunch his wallet out as though
                    ’twas stuck in mud.

               Their nuss was quite a hand to tog; she used
                   to say to us

               She wished that corsets laced as tight’s the
                   straps on that old puss.

               Mis’ Green at last got down reel slim; one
                   night--so nuss, she said,

               Old Sam come creepin’, creakin’ in; set down
                   ‘longside the bed.

               He stooped an’ poked around a spell, picked up
               Lucindy’s shoe,

               An’ then--wal, nuss she vums an’ vows this
                   ’ere is honest true:

               He routed’round the fireplace an’ got a cinder-
                   coal,

               An’ went to figgerin’ up expense, right there
                   on ’Cindy’s sole.

               He talked the items right out loud, but ’Cindy
                   didn’t kick

               So long’s he only reckoned things she’d had
                   while she was sick.

               But when he got to projickin’’bout what
                   ’twould prob’ly cost

               To bury her in decent shape, he sort o’ up an’
                   crossed

               The “mean-man” line, the “tarnal mean” an’
                   even “gaul-durned mean”--

               He formed a brand-new class himself; jest
                   him alone, Sam Green,

                        Stands serene!

                             “Green mean,”

               Signifies the meanest man that ever ye have
                   seen.

               Die? What! ’Cindy up an’ die? You bet
                   she didn’t die!

               Got so mad to hear him talk she flew right up
                   sky-high.

               Hopped like sixty out o’bed, as hearty’s Paddy’s
                   goat,

               An’ that ’ere kink--whatever’twas--it came
                   right out her throat.

               An’ talk? She hadn’t talked for years, but
                   soon’s she got her breath,

               I swan to man, I reely b’lieve she talked old
               Green to death.

               For ’fore she’d trod around enough to wear the
                   coal marks out,

               Old Sam curled up an’ passed away. Some
                   said there wa’n’t much doubt

               He’d reely died two years before, but hadn’t
                   let folks know,

               Because these undertakin’ chaps tuck on ex-
                   penses so.

               Perk Todd was tellin’ down t’ the store he had
                   a dream las’ week--

               He dreamed he got in Paradise! Must been
                   a denied close’ squeak!

               Wal, Perk he says an angel there was showin’
                   him around,

               “At last,” says Perk, “I ups an’ asks how
                    ’twas I hadn’t found

               No people there from where I’d lived. The
                   angel says, says he:
‘Here bub!’ A cherub scooted up. ‘Go git
                   the storehouse key.’”

               Says Perk: “The angel took me in. An’
                   where we were, it’peared

               That’bout a billion boxed-up things was there
                   all nicely tiered.

               The angel said, ‘When folks on earth do any-
                   thing that’s small

               Their souls git squizzled bit by bit; an’ when
                   they die, then all

               The little, teenty souls that come are packed in
                   here, ye know,

               Jes’ same’s they box tomater plants to giv’ ’em
                   time to grow.’

               He hunted’round an’ found a box. ‘There,’
                   finally said he,

               ‘We’ve got about as sing’lar thing as ever ye
                   will see.’

               Inside that box was nested dus’ a dozen boxes
                   more;

               The last box was the smallest box I ever saw
                   before,

               An’ in it was a teenty speck. ‘Is that a soul?’
                   says I.

               ‘Oh, no,’ said he, ‘the thing you see’s the eye-
                   brow of a fly.

               You couldn’t see the soul that’s there, to save
                   your blessed neck,

               Because it’s one ten-millionth part as big’s
                   that leetle speck.

               In fact it is the smallest soul that we have ever
                   seen;

               The label says’--he squinted hard--‘it’s one
                   old Sam’wel Green.’

                        All serene,

                             Sam Green

               Is ticketed ‘The Limit; Number billion-umpty
                   steen.’”


DICKERER JIM

               That Dickerer Jim--Shenanigan Jim.

               I never see’d hoss jockey equal to him.

               He’d rather swap hosses than eat a good meal,

               He’d take all the chances--and Jim wouldn’t
                   squeal!

               He’d talk like a cyclone on any old skate

               --Take a wheezy old pel ter with hopity gait

               And he’d make you believe--would that Dick-
                   erer Jim--

               There were all kinds of pedigrees tied up in
                   him.

               And you bet your old boots, if he got you in
                   range

               He could touch you all right for a sale or a
                   “change.”

               --As keen as a brier, as sharp as a knife

               He never got phazed except once in his life.

               And that was a corker, by ginger, on him,

               On Dickerer Jim--Shenanigan Jim.

               He loaded a breather--a reg’lar old rip

               On a man from the city--just did it by lip.

               Talked the man dumb and silly and giv’ him the
                   hooks

               Till the chap forked his money just simply on
                   looks.

               And he went back to town with a big double
                   cross

               In the shape of a whoofity plug of a boss.

                   Jim--Jim,

                   Shenanigan Jim,

               Didn’t you--didn’t you soak it to him!

                   Jim--Jim,

                   As a sample of “trim”

               That feller was pruned to the very last limb.

               Now Dickerer Jim--Shenanigan Jim--

               Was down in the city. His eyesight was dim;

               So he couldn’t keep lookout, and first thing he
                   knew

               Right plumb up against him that city chap
                   blew.

               He recognized Jim--Jim hadn’t seen him--

               Till the feller grabbed holt; then the chances
                   seemed slim

               For avoidin’ a scrimmage, for seldom is seen

               A chap that’s so mad that his face is pea green.

               But his tongue wasn’t ready as quick as his
                   sight;

               Now Jim couldn’t see, yet his tongue was all
                   right,

               And away he went, lickity-whizzle! Talk,
                   talk!

               While the feller was still scoring down in a
                   balk

               With his mouth propped apart; oh, he’d plenty

                   to say,

               But Jim, goin’ steady, had levelled away.

               And he told that ’ere feller he’d hunted for him,

               --Did Dickerer Jim--Shenanigan Jim.

               The feller allowed he’d been huntin’ some, too,

               But Jim didn’t hesitate--slam-banged it
                   through!

               Says he, “I’ve been sorry I sold you that hoss

               And the minit I sold him I knew’twas a loss.

               For the very same day that you took him away

               I met with a chap that I figger will pay

               A clean and cool hundred above what you giv’,

               --I can load that ’ere hoss on that chap, sure’s
                   you live.

               That feller he wants him--lie’s anxious to pay;

               Now what shall I say to him--what shall I
                   say?”

               Then the sucker he tore and he swore, and says
                   he,

               “Go tell him the same blasted lie you told me!

               He’ll buy, don’t you worry! You’ll tag him--
                   he’s It,

               --That’s a lie you can never improve on a bit!”

                   Jim--Jim,

                   Shenanigan Jim,

               That was a side-windin’ answer for him.

                   Jim--Jim,

                   Jest turned and he “clim’”

               For he see’d there warn’t stretch in the chap’s
                   t’other limb.


BALLAD OF BENJAMIN BRANN

               Oh, a positive man--a positive man,

               So the people discovered, was Benjamin Brann.

               With his household and neighbors and children
                   and hoss

               Old Brann allowed he would always be boss.

               And the most of the people they’d ruther kow-
                   tow

               To his notions than live in the midst of a row.

               And whenever you’d see in a faint-hearted
                   crowd,

               A man who was hollerin’’specially loud,

               You could calculate suttin that positive man

               Was the uncontradicted old Benjamin Brann.

               For after a while all the folks stood in awe

               Of the roar of his voice and the build of his
                   jaw;

               He was lookin’ for trouble and carried a chip

               And chance for a tussle he never let slip;

               He hated to think that the world could still go

               When he stood at one side and kept hollerin’
               “whoa!”

               One day he was teamin’ his oxen to town;

               He set on the cart tongue., his feet hangin’
                   down.

               And bein’ a positive kind of a chap,

               --Pokin’ out o’ his way for the sake of a
                   scrap--

               Whenever he noticed a boulder or stump

               He’d gee. and ride over the critter ker-bump!

               But it happened one boulder that he came
                   across

               Gave Benjamin’s ox-cart too lively a toss;

               He was under the broad-tired wheels, s’r. before

               He’d gathered his voice for his usual roar.

               But just as the ox-cart rolled over him--oh,

               You’d a-fallen down stunned at the way he
                   yelled “whoa!”

               ’Twas so loud and so threat’nin’ that Brindle
                   and Haw

               Who bowed to that voice as their Gospel and
                   Law

               Were so eager to stop that they backed, s’r,
                   and then

               The wheel it rolled over the old man again.

               There’s a moral to this as you notice, no doubt,

               But I haven’t the patience to ravel it out.

               I’ll say to reformers and dogmatists, though,

               It’s safest to holler a moderate “whoa!”


THE HEIRS

               They hastened to the funeral when Aunt Sa-
                   brina died.

               Nephews, nieces, relatives--they came from
                   far and wide.

               They hurried in by boat and train; they came
                   by stage and team,

               In breasts a jealous bitter greed, in eyes a hun-
                   gry gleam.

               I knew the most as decent men, their wives as
                   honest dames,

               Who in the common run of things were careful
                   of their names.

               And yet, alas, we sadly find that many who be-
                   have

               As cooing doves in daily life are buzzards at
                   the grave.

               So while the choir softly purred, and while the
                   parson prayed,

               The lids of mourning eyes were raised and
                   sneaking glances strayed

               From old-style clock to pantry shelf, from par-
                   lor set to rug,

               And knitted brows weighed soberly how much
                   each heir could lug.

               Anon the lustful glances crossed and scowl re-
                   plied to scowl,

               And spoke as plain as though the look were
                   voiced in sullen growl:

               Thus when the parson prayed, “Oh, Lord, take
               Thou this way-worn soul,”

               I caught a look that plainly spoke: “I’ll take
                   that china bowl.”

               And this look said, “I speak for that,” and
                   that look spoke for this,

               The while the parson droned of love and told
                   them of the bliss

               That cometh after struggles here; “The peace
                   of rest,” he said,

               And then each woman claimed through looks
                   her aunt’s goose-feather bed.

               ’Twas thus the kindred flocked to town when
               Aunt Sabrina died,

               Ostensibly to bury her, but really to divide.

               No will was left,’twas catch as can; and each
                   and every heir,

               Came in with desperate intent to scoop the big-
                   gest share.

               They passed around with creaking shoes and
                   kissed the silent lip,

               And pressed the limp, old, withered hand from
                   out whose jealous grip

               The goods of earth had slipped away to heap a
                   funeral pyre,

               A tinder pile where torch of Greed would start
                   a roaring fire.

               They rode behind in solemn show and stood
                   around the grave,

               Until the coffin sank from sight; and then each
                   jealous knave

               Hopped back with great celerity in carriage and
                   in hack,

               And folks who saw averred those heirs raced
                   horses going back.

               This is no fairy tale, my friend! I’m giving
                   you the facts,

               ’Tis just an instance where the heirs came
                   round and brought an axe;

               Where folks of pretty honest stripe could
                   hardly bear to wait

               To decently inter the corpse ere carving the
                   estate;

               --All ready at the prayer’s “Amen” to scratch
                   and haul and claw

               With nails of jealous rancor and the talons of
                   the law.

               My brother, I’ve a notion, that it is sinful pride

               When we pose before the heathen as a highly
                   moral guide.

               For here in old New England are some capers
                   that would--hush!--

               This is strictly on the quiet--put a savage to
                   the blush.

               You know that when a savage leaves his rela-
                   tives bereft,

               There isn’t any scrapping over what the heathen
                   left.

               They bury all his queer stone tools, his arrows
                   and his bow,

               They stuff his pack with grub for snack; put
                   in his wampum “dough;”

               They kill his horse and slay his dog and then
                   they sing a song,

               And kill off all his weeping wives and send
                   them right along.

               There’s no annoying probate court, no long,
                   litigious fuss,

               No lawyer’s fees, no family row, no will-de-
                   stroying cuss.

               The estate is executed in a brisk and thorough
                   style

               And though some certain features suit all right
                   a heathen isle,

               Some squeamish person might arise and prop-
                   erly complain

               There’s too much execution for adoption here
                   in Maine.

               So I’ll not commend the custom, yet I firmly
                   will abide

               In the notion that we have no right to pose as
                   moral guide

               To the heathen; for it’s evident, untutored
                   though they are,

               The heirs at least show manners in Borrioboola
               Gha.


A. B. APPLETON, “PIRUT”

               Abbott B. Appleton went to the fair

               _(Sing hey! for the wind among his whiskers)_,

               Saw curious “dewin’s” while he was down
                   there

               ‘Mongst the gamblers, the sports and the frisk-
                   ers.

               He carried his bills in a wallet laid flat--

               An old-fashioned calf-skin as black as your hat;

               He was feeling so well he was easy to touch--
               Then he hadn’t as much; no, there wasn’t as
                   much.

               He noticed a crowd’round a pleasant-faced
                   man

               Whose business seemed based on a curious plan;
               He asked for a quarter from each in the crowd,
               Put the coin in his hat, and he forthwith al-
                   lowed

               That simply to advertise he would restore
               His quarter to each, adding three quarters
                   more.

               Now Abbott B. Appleton he did invest--
               Anxious to share in these spoils with the rest.
               Man asked for ten dollars, and Abbott, said he:
               “Why, sartin! And then we’ll git thutty back
                   free.”

               But the man who was running the charity
                   game

               Informed him it didn’t work always the same,
               And Abbott B. Appleton got for his ten
               A smile--and the man didn’t play it again.
               Then Abbott, in order to make himself square,
               Got after the rest of the snides at the fair.

               He hunted the pea, but he never could tell
               When “the darned little critter” was under
                   the shell.

               He shot at a peg with a big, swinging ball,
               Five dollars a shot--didn’t hit it at all.

               And he finally found himself “gone all to
                   smash,”

               With wisdom, a lot--and two dollars in cash.

               Abbott B. Appleton cursed at the fair
               _(Sing fie! for a man who ’tended meetin’)_,
               And he said to himself, “Gaul swat it, I swear
               Them games is just rigged up for heatin’.

               I thought they was honest down here in this
                   town;

               I swow if I hadn’t I wouldn’t come down;

               But if cheatin’s their caper I guess there’s idees
               That folks up in Augerville have, if ye please.
               I’m a pretty straight man when they use me all
                   square,

               But I’m pirut myself at a Pirut-town fair.

               I won’t pick their pockets to git back that
                   dough,

               But I reckin’ I’ll giv’ ’em an Augerville show.”

               Abbott B. Appleton “barked” at the fair
               _(Sing sakes! how the people they did gather)_,
               And his cross-the-lot voice it did bellow and
                   blare

               Till it seemed that his lungs were of leather.

               He said that he had there inside of his pen
               Most singular fowl ever heard of by men:

               “The Giant Americanized Cock-a-too,”

               With his feathers, some red and some white,
                   and some blue.

               He promised if ever its like lived before
               He’d give back their money right there at the
                   door.

               Then he vowed that the sight of the age was
                   within.

               “’Twill never,” he shouted. “be seen here agin..
               ’Tis an infant white annercononda, jest brought
               From the African wilds, where it lately was
                   caught.

               The only one ever heern tell of before,

               All wild and untamed, that far foreign shore.”

               Abbott B. Appleton raked in the tin.

               _(Sing chink! for the money that he salted.)_
               Then he opened the gates and he let ’em all in,
               And then--well, then Abbott defaulted.

               It was time that he did, for the people had
                   found

               Just a scared Brahma hen squatting there on
                   the ground;

               Her plumage was decked in a way to surprise,
               With turkey-tail streamers all colored with
                   dyes;

               And above, on a placard, this sign in plain
                   sight:

               “There’s nothin’ else like her. I trimmed her
    last night”

               In a little cracked flask was an angle-worm
                   curled--

               “Young annercononda, sole one in the
                   world.”

               And another sign stated, “He’s small, I sup-
                   pose,

               But if he hain’t big enough, wait till he grows.”

               And Abbott B. Appleton, speeding afar,

               Was counting his roll in a hurrying car,

               Saying still, “As a general rule I’m all square,

               But I’m pirut myself at a Pirut-town fair.”


NEXT TO THE HEART


WITH LOVE--FROM MOTHER

               There’s a letter on the bottom of the pile,

               Its envelope a faded, sallow brown,

               It has traveled to the city many a mile,

               And the postmark names a’way up country
                   town.

               But the hurried, worried broker pushes all the
                   others by,

               And on the scrawly characters he turns a glis-
                   tening eye.

               He forgets the cares of commerce and his anx-
                   ious schemes for gain,

               The while he reads what mother writes from
                   up in Maine.

               There are quirks and scratchy quavers of the
                   pen

               Where it struggled in the fingers old and bent,

               There are places where he has to read again

               And think a bit to find what mother meant.

               There are letters on his table that inclose some
                   bouncing checks;

               There are letters giving promises of profits on
                   his “specs.”

               But he tosses all the litter by, forgets the
                   golden rain,

               Until he reads what mother writes from up in
               Maine.

               At last he finds “with love--we all are well,”

               And softly lays the homely letter down,

               Then dashes at his eager tasks pell-mell,

               --Once more the busy, anxious man of town.

               But whenever in his duties as the rushing mo-
                   ments fly

               That faded little envelope smiles up to meet
                   his eye,

               He turns again to labor with a stronger, truer
                   brain,

               From thinking on what mother wrote from up
                   in Maine.

               All through the day he dictates brisk replies,

               To his amanuensis at his side,

               --The curt and stern demands and business
                   lies,

               --The doubting man cajoled, and threat de-
                   fied.

               And then at dusk when all are gone he drops
                   his worldly mask

               And takes his pen and lovingly performs a wel-
                   come task;

               For never shall the clicking- type or shorthand
                   scrawl profane

               The message to the dear old home up there in
               Maine.

               The penmanship is rounded, schoolboy style,

               For mother’s eyes are getting dim, she wrote;

               And as he sits and writes there, all the while

               A bit of homesick feeling grips his throat.

               For all the city friendships here with Tom and
               Dick and Jim

               And all the ties of later years grow very, very
                   dim;

               While boyhood’s loves in manhood’s heart rise
                   deep and pure and plain.

               Called forth by mother’s homely words from
                   up in Maine.


THE QUAKER WEDDING

               Without, the summer silence lies--
               Within, the meeting-house is still;

               The hush of First Day hovers o’er
               All human-kind on Quaker Hill.

               The tethered Dobbins doze and blink
               In stolid calm beneath the shed;

               In First Day, Quaker attitude,

               With half-closed eyes and drooping head.
               The cheeping birds, abashed and mute,
               Have skittered off to search for shade.

               Just one lone roysterer, a bee,
               Embarrassed at the noise lie’s made,
               Whirrs up against a staring pane
               And folds his wings and sits him down,

               To gaze with apiarian mirth

               On strange drab poke and shining crown.

               The elders sit in sober rows,

               Upon the long, prim, facing-seats;

               --Each visage like an iron mask;

               No look of recognition greets
               The softened landscape out of doors.

               --The shimmer of the summer falls
               On unresponsive eyes; The God
               Of Nature all unheeded calls.

               Their half-veiled gaze droops coldly down,
               Fixed on the dusty, worn, old floor,
               Unnoting that the gracious Lord
               Smiles in God’s sunshine at the door.

               The Spirit has not moved the tongue;

               Each contrite soul has conned its own;
               And in the hush of silent prayer,

               Each worshipper has bent alone.

               And some are sad and some are stern

               And some are smug and others bow
               As though, with furtive stealth, to hide
               What conscience writes upon the brow.

               But hark! the Meeting lifts its eyes
               And he who’s sitting at the head
               Breaks on the hush with reverent tone:

               “If friends,” says he, “have planned to wed
               ’Tis meet that now they do proceed.”
                Forthwith upon the women’s side
               A blushing youth stands forth in view
               And with him shrinks his Quaker bride.

               With trembling hand in shaking palm,

               They face the Meeting’s awful hush,

               --No minister to question them,

               No kindly shield to hide a blush.

               Alone they stand, alone must they
               Swear matrimony’s solemn oath;

               A hundred noses point their way,

               Two hundred eyes stare hard at both.

               Then twice and thrice the youth’s parched lips
               Strive hard to frame the longed-for word;
               And twice and thrice he tries again,

               Yet not a single sound is heard.

               There’s just an upward flash of eyes
               Like starlight in a forest pool,

               --She may have said, “Take heart, dear
                   one!”

               --She may have said, “Go on, thou fool!

               His cheeks flush dark, his lips are gray,
               His knees drum fast against the pew.

               But by a mighty gasp he speaks,

               The dry lips part, a croak comes through:
               “Here in the presence of the Lord,

               And in the First-Day meeting, I
               Take thee, my friend, Susannah Saul
               To be my wife. My loving eye
               Shall rest on thee, and till the Lord
               Is pleased by death to separate
               Our lives and loves, I’ll be to thee
               An honest, faithful, loving mate.”

               As one an echo of a song
               Thrums thinly on a single string,

               The Quaker maid in trembling tones
               Vows to her lord to likewise bring
               Love, truth and trust to grace their home.
               Their voices cease and side by side
               They stand abashed. One honest voice
               Rolls out, “Amen;” the knot is tied.


THE MADAWASKA WOOING

               Petit Pierre of Attegat,

               --Peter, the Little, round and fat,

               Balanced himself on the edge of a chair
               And gazed in the eyes of Father Claire.
               Without on the porch, defiant sat
               The prettiest maiden in Attegat.

               And here was trouble; for Zelia Dionne
               Had vowed to the Virgin she’d be a nun;
               But Peter, who loved her more than life,
               Was fully as bound she should be his wife.
               Yet as often as Peter pressed to wed
               The pretty Zelia tossed her head.

               “I’m not for the wife of man,” she said.

               “I’ve dreamed three times our Mary came
               And pressed my brow and spoke my name.

               I know she means for me to kneel
               And take the vows at St. Basil.”

               Though Peter stormed, yet Zelia clung
               To her belief and braved his tongue.

               “Je t’aime, mon cher,” she shyly said,

               And drooped her eyes and bent her head;

               “But when our Virgin Mother calls
               A maiden to her convent walls,

               How shameless she to disobey
               And follow her own guilty way!”

               “But dearest,” Peter warmly plead,

               “’Twould not be guilty if it led
               To our own home and our own love!

               Our Holy Mother from Above,

               Will pardon us--I know she will--”

               And yet the maid responded still,

               “I dare not, Peter, disobey,

               And follow my own guilty way.”

               So thus it chanced that Zelia Dionne
               Had vowed herself to be a nun.

               Though Peter teased for many a day
               She pressed her lips and said him nay,

               And when he begged that she at least
               Would leave the question to the priest,
               Although she grudged her faint consent
               As meaning doubt, at last she went,
               Overpersuaded by Peter’s prayer,

               To take the case to Father Clair.

               Peter, the Little, of Attegat
               Fumbled with trembling hands his hat,

               As breathlessly he tried to trace

               The thoughts that crossed the father’s face.

               “My son,” at length the priest returned,

               --How Peter’s heart within him burned--

               “If truly by the maid the Queen
               Of Most High Heaven hath been seen,

               --If only in her maiden dreams--

               You must allow it ill beseems
               My mouth to speak. It may be sin,

               For--well, my son, bring Zelia in!”

               She stood before him half abashed
               Yet boldly, too;--her dark cheek dashed
               With ruddy flame; for all her soul
               Burned holily. For now her whole
               Rich nature stirred. She was not awed
               For had she not been called of God?

               And little Peter sat and stared
               And marvelled how he’d ever dared
               To lift his eyes to such a maid,

               Or strive to wreck the choice she’d made.
               She told in simple terms the tale.

               “And do you wish to take the veil?”

               The father asked. “Think long, think twice
               And never mourn the sacrifice.”

               She quivered, but she said, “I’ve thought;
               Our Mary wills it and I ought.”

               “And can you gladly say farewell
               To earth and love and friends; to dwell
               With perfect peace nor ever sigh

               For things behind?” She said, “I’ll try.”
                But even as she spoke the word,

               The old time love for Peter stirred;

               And mingling with her quick regret,

               There came a sob and Peter’s wet,

               Sad eyes peered at her through a rain
               Of honest tears. She tried in vain
               To choke her grief, but Zelia Dionne
               Forgot her vow to be a nun,

               And crying, “Pierre, I love you best!”

               She flung herself upon his breast.

               A moment thus--and then in prayer
               Both knelt before good Father Clair.

               “My daughter, did that vision speak
               That night when motherly and meek,

               She pressed her hand upon thy brow?

               No? Then, my child, she spoke just now;
               And in the promptings of thy heart
               Her word is clear. My child, thou art
               Blest in this choice, for that caress
               Upon thy brow was but to bless
               And not to call thee from thy choice.

               Depart in peace, wed and rejoice.”

               Peter, the Little, of Attegat,

               Clapped on his curls, his fuzzy hat,

               And clasping the hand of his promised bride

               He trudged back home with one at his side,
               --No longer the self-vowed, mournful nun,

               But laughing, black-eyed Zelia Dionne.


THE SONG OF THE MAN WHO DRIVES

               Here’s a toast to the kings and the health of
                   the queens

               Of the echoing oval course;

               And a song of the steel that is forged for the
                   wheel

               And the hoof of the blue-blood horse!

               There’s the song of the steel that is forged for
                   the wars--

               The song of the long, bright sword;

               The chant of the weapon the patriot draws

               In defence of his land, in support of its laws--

               In the cause that his heart has adored.

               But the sword that is bared to the glint of the
                   sun,

               --Who knows when that sword will be
                   sheathed?

               For strife plunges hotly when once’tis begun,

               So the steel of the sword I forswear and I
                   shun,

               And the horrors its edge has bequeathed.

               No, I vaunt the honest circlet to a worthy use
                   applied--

               The steel that flashes swiftly in the broad two-
                   minute stride;

               The steel that clinking hammers in the forges’
                   clang and heat

               Have shaped with merry music for a trotter’s
                   twinkling feet.

               You may choose the glint of sabres or the gleam
                   of martial arms,

               As for me the vibrant flashing of those hoofs
                   has greater charms,

               As I ride the swaying sulky and we cleave the
                   singing air,

               And I hear the merry rick-tack of the trotting
                   of my mare.

               Now what are the prizes of war, my boy,

               Or the honors of kingdom and court
               To a chap that’s contented with honester joy
               Than desperate ventures that crush and de-
                   stroy

               In the din of the battlefield’s sport?

               I envy no prowess of warriors of old
               Astride of a mail-clad steed.

               And I challenge the right of the furious might
               That forces an innocent victim to fight
               For human ambition or greed.

               But ho, for the rush of the steel-shod feet

               When the clink of the bright shoe rings--

               When the flickering hoofs down the home-
                   stretch beat

               And I on the perch of the sulky seat

               Drive hard in the Sport of Kings.

               I pledge to you the honor of the ringing, sing-
                   ing course,

               When the tautened reins are throbbing with the
                   motion of the horse,

               When the glossy shoulders glisten with the
                   twitching muscles’ play,

               Beating time in swift staccato to the slender
                   sulky’s sway.

               Let the roaring stand go crazy as we finish at
                   the pole--

               ’Tis no human acclamation that avails to stir
                   my soul,

               ’Tis the batter and the clatter of those hoofs
                   that ring and beat,

               ’Tis the rhythm and the music of those flashing
                   little feet--

               ’Tis the sympathy between us, all a-quiver in
                   the reins,

               Till I almost feel the pulsing of the current in
                   her veins,

               And I have no eye or hearing for the vain ac-
                   claim of man

               When my heart and soul are throbbing with
                   her hoof-beats’ rataplan.

               To the king of the course! To the queen of
                   the track! .

               What matter their breeding or name?

               To all that have battled the second-hand back

               Here’s tribute in measure the same.

               Here’s a toast to the king and the health of the
                   queen,

               Who reign on the oval course,

               --To the stout, stout steel! forged true for the
                   wheel

               Or the hoof of the blue-blood horse.


THE OLD PEWTER PITCHER

               I festoon for Bacchus no chaplet of roses,

               I will vaunt not the vat--I’ve no homage for
                   wine;

               Panegyric of paint for convivial noses
               Shall never find place in a lyric of mine.
               Unseemly indeed were such rank exhibition
               Of scorn for the statutes that seek to restrain,
               By beneficent mandate of stern Prohibition,

               The lust for the grape in the good State of
               Maine.

               So a truce to the bowl and its fervid excitement,
               And down with the flagon, the goblet and
                   stein!

               My lyric exalts the more balmy enticement
               Of a certain old humble companion of mine.
                        ’Tis addressed
                        With a zest

                        Springing out of vague unrest
                        Stirring underneath my vest.

                        I’m obsessed
                        By a guest

                        Who has come at my behest

               From the misty days of boyhood, borne se-
                   renely in the van

               Of the friends that I’d forgotten in the cares
                   that grind the man.

               --You were just a pewter pitcher, a demure
                   and dull old pot--

               With a yee-yaw to your nozzle like the grimace
                   of a sot.

               The knob upon your cover had a truly rakish
                   cant,

               Your paunch was apoplectic and your handle
                   had a slant

               Of a most.convivial nature. But despite your
                   seedy style

               Not a guest upon the threshold got a more
                   benignant smile

               Than when upon a platter, flanked by apples
                   and by pears,

               You rose splashing full of cider up the dark old
                   cellar stairs.

               I’m sure that the fruit that we sacrificed duly
               Each fall to the cruel embrace of the press

               Had quaffed of the honey of Nature and truly
               Deserved from her hand a more tender
                   caress.

               Pm sure that the sun kissed both fruit and the
                   flower

               With all the devotion his warm heart could
                   bring,

               Till Alcohol ceded his ominous power
               And gall lost its bitter, the adder its sting,

               For though round and round went the old pew-
                   ter pitcher,

               And chucklingly filled for us horn after
                   horn,

               We never saw dragon, blue goblin or witch, or
               Required a hoop for our heads in the morn.

                        Here goes!

                        Here’s to those

                        Who sat and warmed their toes

                        Drowning cares and frets and woes.

                        No one knows
                        How memory glows
                        As I see that ancient nose

               Gleaming blandly in the circle of the friends of
                   long ago

               Within, the light; without, the night and the
                   wind and drifting snow.

               Then the dented pewter pitcher poured for us
                   its amber stream

               While the tinkling bubbles winked upon the
                   brink with dancing gleam,

               Ah, there was no guile within you as there were
                   no gauds without

               --Just a plain, old-fashioned fellow, with an
                   awful homely snout;

               And you never left us headaches and you didn’t
                   stir the bile,

               And no guest upon the threshold got a more
                   benignant smile

               Than when, upon a platter, flanked by apples
                   and by pears,

               You rose splashing full of cider up the dark old
                   cellar stairs.


OUR GOOD PREVARICATORS


OUR LIARS HERE IN MAINE

               There was Sinon, he of Troy, and Ulysses, too,
                   and Cain,

               Who preceded many centuries the liars here in
               Maine.

               There was Gulliver, Munchausen, there was
               Ananias, too,

               A very handsome job of it those gentlemen
                   could do.

               Yet look at Ananias! Why, his story knocked
                   him dead,

               But here in Maine the liar “does” the other
                   man instead.

               And Sinon, he of Troy, had to plan and build
                   his lie,

               But here in Maine the liar doesn’t even have
                   to try.

               For the pure prevarication comes cascading
                   down his lip

               And he never seems to falter or to stub his toe
                   and trip.

               And he walks abroad with honor, and no mortal
                   will arraign

               The pure and worthy motives of the liar here
                   in Maine.

               His strongest hold is fishing, and he fixes with
                   his eye

               The victim who must listen and who never
                   dares deny.

               Each river and pellucid pond, each brooklet and
                   each stream,

               Possesses fifty liars to preserve it in esteem.

               And he that owns a yaller dog, and he that
                   owns a hoss

               Will never see their laurels dimmed, if words
                   can add a gloss.

               ’Tis true the old inhabitant, narrating ancient
                   tales,

               Occasionally soars to heights where homely
                   language fails.

               So then, alas, he’s hampered some, but note
                   his kindling eye,

               And as he gets his second wind, observe how
                   he can lie!

               ’Tis no invidious charge I bring against this
                   worthy crew,

               We love the lies they tell to us and love the
                   liars too.

               They hold to truth in business deals, they’d
                   never lie to cheat;

               But when the “sport” comes down from town,
                   by gracious he’s their meat.

               They “torch” him up with narrative until his
                   fancy steams

               And swogons, yaps, and witherlicks go ramp-
                   ing through his dreams.

               For when our solemn ruminants describe the
                   olden times

               They stimulate a state of mind I can’t describe
                   in rhymes.
[Illustration: 0205]

               I pen this humble lyric and I bring a wreath of
                   bay,

               For the good prevaricators doing business down
                   this way.

               May their tongues be ever limber, and im-
                   agination free,

               With no interloping infidel to ask how such
                   can be.

               May the plug from which they nibble spice a
                   piquant, pungent tale,

               May words to paint the details of their fiction
                   never fail.

               Let the chips from which they whittle always
                   have an even grain,

               And we’ll challenge all creation with our liars
                   here in Maine.


THE BALLAD OF DOC PLUFF

               Doctor Pluff, who lived in Cornville, he was
                   hearty, brisk and bluff,

               Didn’t have much extry knowledge, but in
                   some ways knowed enough;

               Knowed enough to doctor hosses, cows an’ dogs
                   an’ hens an’ sheep,

               When he come to doctor humans, wal, he wasn’t
                   quite so deep.

               Still, he kind o’ got ambitious, an’ he went an’
                   stubbed his toe,

               When he tried to tackle subjects that he really
                   didn’t know.

               Doc he started out the fust-off as a vet’rinary
                   doc,

               An’ he made a reputation jest as solid as a rock.

               Doct’rin’ hosses’ throats or such like, why, there
                   warn’t a man in town

               Who could take a cone of paper, poof the sul-
                   phur furder down.

               He could handle pips an’ garget in a brisk an’
                   thorough style,

               An’ there wan’t a cow’t would hook him when
                   he give her castor ile.

               As V. S. he had us solid, but he loosened up his
                   hold

               When he doctored Uncle Peaslee for his reg’lar
               April cold.

               Uncle Peaslee allus caught it when he took
                   his flannels off,

               For a week or two he’d wheezle, sniff an’ snee-
                   zle, bark an’ cough.

               An’ at last, in desperation, when the thing be-
                   came so tough,

               He adopted some suggestions that were made
                   by Doctor Pluff.

               Fust o’ March he started early an’ he reg’lar
                   ev’ry day

               From his heavy winter woolens tore a little
                   strip away.

               For the doc he had insisted that the change
                   could thus be made,
‘Cause the system wouldn’t notice such an easy,
                   steady grade.

               Walsir,’bout the last of April, Uncle Peaslee
                   he had on

               Jest the wris’ban’s an’ the collar--all the rest
                   of it was gone.

               Then--with Doctor Pluff advisin’--on a mild
                   an’ pleasant day,

               He took off the collar ‘n wris’ban’s, and he
                   throwed the things away.

               An’ in lesser’n thutty hours he was sudden
                   tooken down

               With the wust case of pneumony that we ever
                   knowed in town.

               An’ he dropped away in no time; it was awful
                   kind of rough,

               An’ we had our fust misgivin’s’bout the skill
                   of Old Doc Pluff.

               Reckoned that ’ere scrape would down him an’
                   he’d stick to hens an’ cows,

               But he’d got to be ambitious, an’ he tackled
               Irai Howes.

               Uncle Iral’s kind o’ feeble, but was bound to
                   wean a caff;

               Went to pull him off from suckin’ when the
                   critter’d had his haff.

               Caff he turned around an’ bunted--made him’s
                   mad’s a tyke, ye see--

               An’ old Iral’s leg was broken, little ways above
                   the knee.
T’other doctor couldn’t git there’cause the
                   goin’ was so rough,

               So they had to run their chances and they called
                   on Doctor Pluff.

               Doc he found old Irai groanin’ where they’d
                   laid him on the bed,

               An’ he took his old black finger, rolled up Iral’s
                   lip an’ said,

               “Hay-teeth worn; can’t chaw his vittles!
               Vittles therefore disagree,

               It’s as tough a case of colic as I think I ever
                   see.”

               Some one started then to tell him, but the doc
                   he had the floor,

               An’ he snapped ’em up so spiteful that the}
                   didn’t say no more.

               Then he wrinkled up his eyebrows, pursed his
                   lips as tight’s a bung,

               Pried apart old Iral’s grinders an’ says he,
               “Le’s see your tongue.”

               “Why,” says he, “I see the trouble--you’ve
                   got garget of the blood,

               An’ if symptoms hain’t deceivin’, you have also
                   lost your cud.”

               “Blame yer soul,” groaned Uncle Irai, “can’t
                   ye see what’s ailin’ me?

               That ’ere leg is broke!” “Oh, sartin,” says

                   the doc, “I see! I see!”

               Then he pulled off Iral’s trousers, an’ he spit
                   upon his fist,

               Grabbed that leg in good old earnest an’ com-
                   menced to twist an’ twist.

               Irai howled an’ yowled an’ fainted, then come
                   to an’ howled some more,

               He an’ doc they fit an’ wrassled on the bed an’
                   on the floor.

               Doc, though, held him to the wickin’--let old
               Irai howl an’ beg,

               Said he’d got to do his duty, straight’nin out
                   his blamed old leg.

               When the splints come off, though, later, wal-
                   sir, Irai was provoked,

               Hain’t surprised it made him ugly, for he sar-
                   tinly was soaked.

               Doc had set it so the kneejoint comes behind,
                   jest like a cow’s,

               An’’twould make ye die a-laughin’, would that
                   gait of Irai Howes’.

               If that case of Uncle Peaslee wasn’t damagin’
                   enough,

               Bet your life that job on Irai made us shy of
                   old Doc Pluff.


THE BALLAD OF HUNNEMAN TWO

               Now this is the story of Hunneman Two,

               Old Hunneman Two from Andover town;

               --A tub with the likeliest, heftiest crew
               That ever hoorayed in a hot break-’er-down.
               And I’ll give you the facts, for if any one knows
               It’s me who was Hunneman’s foreman of hose:

               Ev’ry feller we mustered was over six feet
               And the gang that we brought to a fireman’s
                   meet

               They never was licked and they never was
                   downed,

               And a crowd up against us would likely get
                   drowned.

               Ev’ry man in the forty was six feet and more
               And their shirts was the reddest that ever men
                   wore;

               Whenever they hollered they’d jump up a yard
               And when they came down they came dreffully
                   hard.

               Ev’ry man had a trumpet and some of them
                   tew

               --And’twas safest to plug up your ears when
                   they blew.

               They’d ballast the tub with a cart-load of stone
               And stuff her with sody ontil she would groan
               Then they’d spit on their fists and would gaffle
                   that beam

               And whoop fa, la larry, my jinks what a
                   stream!

               ’Twas h’ist on the beam till your eyeballs gog-
                   gled,

                        Hump-jump-pump!

               Give her the tar till her old sides woggled,
                        Pump-jump-hump!

               Down with the beam till it sartin would seem

               We were drowndin’ the sun in a hissin’, white
                   stream.

               Oh, there never was anything up with the crew

               That buckled the beam of old Hunneman Two.

               One time we were playin’ at Andover fair

               And old Uncle Boomer drove up with his mare.

               She cocked up an eye for to see the stream sail

               Then she up with her ears and her head and
                   her tail;

               And whoosh! she was off down the Bunganuck
                   road

               At as lively a clip as a mare ever hoed.

               Now the Bunganuck road it was right straight
                   away,

               And jest for a hector we started to play

               Right over the tailboard, right into his team,

               And we followed him up with old Hunneman’s
                   stream.

               We followed him one mile, we followed him
                   tew

               With the foreman a-swearin’ and all of the
                   crew

               A-breakin’ her down and a-crackin’ their heels

               Till we lifted her plum fair and square off the
                   wheels.

               We followed him three miles, we followed him
                   four

               --If he hadn’t shied off we’d a-followed him
                   more.

               Old Boomer got rheumatiz out of wet feet

               For we kept his old waggin full, clear to the
                   seat.

               ’Twas h’ist on the beam till your eyeballs gog-
                   gled,

                        Pump-jump-hump!

               Give her the tar till her old sides woggled,
                        Hump-jump-pump!

               Down with the beam till it sartin would seem

               We were drownin’ the sun in a hissin’ white
                   stream.

               Oh, there never was anything up with the crew

               That buckled the beam of old Hunneman Two.


ORADUDOLPH MOODY, REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT

               Bring on your speechifyin’ runts, yes, bring
                   your biggest gun;

               Trot out your high-flown orators, we don’t bar
                   nary one.

               From Quoddy Head to Caribou, from there to
                   sassy York,

               Bring out your braggadosho chaps who think
                   that they can talk.

               We’ve got our man--don’t want no odds’nd
                   warn you fair and true

               So’t when the Legislatoor meets you’ll have
                   your men there, too.

               He’s jest a’goin’ to sweep the floor, we’ll have
                   you recollect,

               --Our Oradudolph Moody, reprusentertive-
                   elect.

               When Mister Moody rises up ’nd ’hams ’nd
                   clears his thro’t

               ’Nd loosens up his gallowses ’nd lays aside his
                   co’t,

               I guess he’ll fool the av’rage man, he looks so
                   cool ’nd carm,

               A-dribblin out his words ’nd wavin’ careless-
                   like his arm.

               But pretty soon that arm goes and quivers in
                   the air,

               His hand a-wrigglin’ up a-top, seems ’sif ’twas
                   spinnin’ there.

               It acts as sort of windmill, pumpin’ langwidge
               I expect

               From Oradudolph Moody, reprusentertive-elect.

               When Oradudolph Moody speaks he has the
                   durndest knack

               Of windin’ up opponents so they never an-
                   swer back.

               When yearly meetin’ comes around he alwus
                   swings the town

               On anything he advocates from new school-
                   houses down.

               The elerquence just bubbles up without no
                   work at all,

               He almost mesmerizes everybody in the hall.

               ’Nd down there to Augusty you’ll parceive the
                   strange effect

               Of Oradudolph Moody, reprusentertive-elect.

               Magnetic! He’s a dynamo, his pulley never
                   slips,

               ’Nd eelectricity!--It runs right off his finger-
                   tips.

               We’ve tried to send him down before, but no,
                   he wouldn’t go;

               He said he had no time to fool with Legisla-
                   tors, so

               Our town ain’t never had a man to speak, ex-
                   cept Mulkearn,

               Who managed once to stutter out a motion to
                   adjourn.

               But now, by gosh jest set right back and wish-
                   fully expect

               Our Oradudolph Moody, reprusentertive-
                   elect.


TRIBUTE TO MR. ATKINS’S BASS VOICE

               E. Perley Atkins had a low--deep--bass.
               The noise came out of his face,

               But the place

               Whence the sound sprung
               And bubbled toward the bung,

               When he sung,

               To come lolloping up to his tongue,

               In long fortissimo hoots,

               Or staccato toots,

               --That place was suttin’ly down in his boots.
               Omp, omp!

               That was the kind of a bass

               That oozed from the face

               Of E. Perley Atkins who lived in our place.

               He sung at all the paring bees, the quilting teas,
                   and parti-ees

               He sung at all the shindigees we had for miles
                   around.

               He opened his lip and let her rip and folks were
                   never obliged to tease,

                        For he allowed
                        That he was proud

               As well as the rest of the awe-struck crowd
               Of the deep, profundo timbre of that sound.
                        Boomp, boomp!

               He wended thus on his deep, bass way
               Ready to omp, omp night or day.

               He sung in the choir Sunday forenoon
               And an hour later furnished a tune
               For the Sabbath school and the Bible class,
               With a voice that was meller’n apple sass.

               At evenin’ meetin’ he came around

               Full to the neck with that cream-rich sound,

               And the way he would lead Coronation hymn
               Would lift ye off’n your pew, by Jim.

               On Monday nights he had a call
               To sing for the Maltys at Jackson’s Hall.
               Tuesdays the Masons and Wednesdays he
               Sung like blazes for the I. G. T.

               Thursdays, class-meetings, Fridays, sings
               With Saturdays open for rackets and things.

               A busy week? Well, I guess, but wait,

               I mustn’t forget, my friend, to state
               There warn’t no fun’ral for ten miles’round,
               No dear departed tucked under ground,

               No mourners jammed in a settin’ room,

               Sozzled in grief and soaked in gloom,

               But Perley was there with his rich, cream bass
               To trickle like salve on the wounded place.
               And the tears would dry on each mourner’s
                   nose,

               They’d perk right up and forget their woes
               And nudge each other and say, “Suz me,

               What a beautiful funeral voice that be.”

               And in time, though he sang for all who asked,
               For saint and sinner, still he basked
               In especial favor as one whose ease
               And voice gave a tone to obsequies.

               It’s whispered around, and I guess it’s so
               That when he hinted he thought he’d go
               To Rome and Paris to train that bass,

               A widow and three old maids in the place,

               Who were living along, no man knew why,
               Decided they’d hurry up and die.

               They just stopped breathing and died from
                   choice

               For the sake of having that funeral voice
               Draw copious streams from the mourner’s eyes
               And give them a send-off toward Paradise.

               --No man who’s monkeyed with bass B-flat
               Got ever a compliment higher’n that.

               He sung at all the paring bees, the quilting teas,
                   the parti-ees,

               He sung at all the shindigees for twenty miles
                   around.

               He opened his lip and let her rip,

               Admirers had no need to tease,

               And he sprung a bass that joggled the roof and
                   fairly shook the ground.

               While the echoes of his “funeral voice”

               Made even the cherubim rejoice,

               As the melody pulsed against the skies
               And ushered a soul into Paradise.


JIM’S TRANSLATION

               Couldn’t speak of nothin’ smart--no one strong
                   or spry--

               ’Thout old Talleyrand B. Beals to grab right
                   in an’ lie!

               All the thing he’d talk about was chap by name
                   of Jim,

               Ev’ry story that he told was sort of hung round
                   him.

               --Said the critter’d worked for him twenty
                   years before,

               --Yarn at last it got to be the by-word down
                   t’ th’ store,

               When we’d hear of biggish things, “That,”
                    we’d say, “I swan,

               Beats tophet, taxes, time an’ tide an’ Bealses’
                   hired man.”

               Beals, though, clacked right on an’ on; would
                   set an’ chaw an’ spit,

               An’ tell us’bout that hired man--couldn’t make
                   him quit!

               Champyun jump or heft or swim-- ’twas all the
                   same to him,

               He’d wait till all the rest had shot, then plug
                   the mark with Jim.

               Had to laugh the other day--boys were down
                   t’ th’ store,

               Talleyrand got started in--the dratted, deef
                   old bore!

               Silas Erskine’s boy spoke up--that’s Ez; wal,
               Ez says he,

               “Say, Tal, what ever come o’ Jim?” Old
               Beals uncrossed his knee,

               Said he, “A master cur’us chap, that Jim was,
               I must say,

               --Seemed to like us fine as silk, but off he
                   went one day,

               --Went right off without a yip--didn’t take his
                   clothes;

               Hank’rin’ struck him all to once--couldn’t
                   wait, don’t s’pose.

               Didn’t even take his pay, which was some sur-
                   prise,

               --Prob’ly, though, a lord or dook, trav’lin’ in
                   disguise.”

               Beals he stopped an’ gnawed his plug; chawed
                   an’ chawed a while,

               Then Ben Haskell hitched around an’ smole a
                   sing’lar smile.

               “Told that hired man,” said he, “I’d never let
                   it out,

               Guess I’d better tell it, though, an’ settle all
                   this doubt.

               Want to say right here an’ now, to back up
               Beals,” says Ben,

               “His Jim did sartin wear the crown amongst
                   all hired men.”

               S’prised us all when Ben said that,’cause he
                   us’al planned

               All the hector, tricks an’ jokes’t were put on
               Talleyrand.

               Ben, though, kept right on his talk. Ben says,
                   then says he,

               “Here’s the secret how he went for I’m the man
                   that see.

               Happened down in Allen’s field day he disap-
                   peared,

               Jim came’crost the intervale; straight as H he
                   steered

               To’ards that silver popple tree; up that tree he
                   dim’,

               --Set there, sort o’ lost in thought, a-straddle
                   of a limb.

               Jest as I’d got underneath he sighed an’ took a
                   piece

               Of mutton taller--give his boots a heavy co’t
                   of grease,

               Greased his fingers nice an’ slick an’ then--an’
                   then, I swear,

               Grabbed them boot-straps, give a pull an’ up
                   he went in air.”

               --Ought to heered us critters laugh--gre’t big
               “Haw, haw, haw-w-!”

               Jason Britt he dropped his teeth, Erskine gulped
                   his chaw,

               Talleyrand jest set there grum--fin’ly snorted
                   “Sho!

               Think ye’re smart, ye pesky fool! Lemme tell
                   ye, though,

               ’Tain’t so thund’rin’ big a stretch ye made then
                   when ye lied,

               Bet ye Jim could lift himself, providin’ he had
                   tried.

               Stout? I see’d him boost a rock--” “Minit,

               Tal,” says Ben,

               “Hain’t got done my story yit! Jest ye wait
                   till then.

               --Soon’s I see’d that critter start, hollered
                   loud’s a loon,

               ’Jeero cris’mus, Jim,’ said I, ‘startin’ for the
                   moon?’

               Jim looked down an’ said, says he, ‘Don’t
                   know where I’ll fetch,

               Ner care a rap so long’s I dodge old Beals, the
                   mean old wretch!

               Trouble is, consarn his soul, his feed has been
                   so slim

               I’ve fell away till northen’s left’cept clothes an’
                   name o’ Jim.

               Reckin then I’ll h’ist myself,’cause, ye see, I’ve
                   found

               It’s blame sight easier raisin’ up than holdin’
                   to the ground.’

               “Then he give them straps a tug an’ up he went
                   from sight,

               --Stood an’ watched him till he growed to jest
                   a leetle mite!

               He’s the champyun hired man, sartin sure, be-
                   cause

               Critter went to Paradise, prob’ly jest’s he
                   was.”

               Talleyrand he got so mad he actyal wouldn’t
                   speak,

               Didn’t come t’ th’ store agin for more’n a solid
                   week. .

               Soon’s he edged around some more wa’n’t no
                   talk from him

               ’Bout no hired men, you bet! Clack was shet
                   on Jim.


ELIPHALET JONES--INVENTOR

               Inventor Jones--Eliphalet Jones,

               Ah, he was the fellow for schemes!

               Though critics might carp and his rivals throw
                   stones,

               They never vexed Uncle Eliphalet Jones,

               Or troubled his radiant dreams.

               He calmly asserted that every day
               One hundred inventions, or so, came his way;
               They flocked through his mind in such myriad
                   rout

               He hadn’t the leisure to figure them out.

               But he said if a fellow should chase him around
               With a pencil and notebook’twould surely be
                   found

               That projects prolific were shed from his brain
               As a wet bush, when shaken, will scatter the
                   rain.

               When he plowed, when he hoed, when he
                   sowed, when he mowed
               He was steadily throwing off load after load
               Of notions, he stated--each notion a mint
               For the chap who would take and develop the
                   hint.

               But Eliphalet Jones--Eliphalet Jones
               Was so busy with farmwork and clearing off
                   stones,

               So busy with milking and errands and chores
               He scattered inventions by dozens and scores
               With a liberal hand, but with barren effect,
               For they dried on the cold, arid sands of
                   neglect.

               But for all he forgot he would cheerfully say
               There were always as many the very next day.
               And he figured it up; though enormous it
                   seems

               He had fashioned and fired some ten thousand
                   schemes.

               Now, out of that number a limited few
               Eliphalet tackled and engineered through;

               A few little notions right out of his head
               To help out the farmwork, he carelessly said.
               One patent, a holder to hitch a cow’s tail
               So she couldn’t keep swatting the man with the
                   pail;

               A few dozen scarecrows of hellish design,

               Real impish constructions to jig on a line
               That was jerked by a water-wheel down in the
                   brook;

               All the horses that passed, if they got a good
                   look

               Tumbled down stiff and dead or else, frantic
                   with fear,

               Kicked the wagon in bits and spun’round on
                   one ear.

               And he rigged a contrivance by which ev’ry
                   morn

               His old Brahma rooster descending for corn,
               Stepped down on a lever that flipped up a lock

               And down came the fodder in front of the
                   stock.

               Still, these were but puerile notions beside

               The thing that he hoped for--his spur and his
                   pride,

               His climax of schemes ere he went back to
                   dust--

               For he vowed that he’d fathom the secret or
                   “bust;”

               That if motion perpetual ever could be

               Discovered by mortal, that man should be he.

               So he fussed with his springs and his wee-jees
                   and wings

               And all sorts of queer little duflicker things,

               And he builded queer whiz-a-jigs, then with a
                   frown

               He ruthlessly, scornfully cuffed them all down.

               Well, the years hurried by, as the years surely
                   will,

               But Eliphalet Jones he was confident still,

               For he constantly vowed that some thingumy
                   spring

               Put somewhere “would settle the dad-ratted
                   thing.”

               Yet the years skittered past and his head was
                   snow-white

               And he almost had solved it, but never “jest
                   quite;”

               So the neighbors employed some satirical tones

               When they chanced to refer to Perpetual Jones.

               But hail to his name and remember his fame!

               At the last--at the last, friends, he won the
                   great game!

               He died at the birth of his triumph,’tis true,

               And he left only words--yet I give them to
                   you,

               Convinced they’re a gift to the world, without
                   doubt,

               Or will be as soon as the thing is worked out.

               He sat in his chair by the window one day

               While his grandson was out with a puppy at
                   play;

               And the boy hitched some meat to the tail of
                   that pup,

               Then he gave him a twirl and the puppy “gee-
                   ed up,”

               And he spun and he spun and he spun and he
                   spun

               Just as fast at the last as when he begun,

               But the tail and the meat ever kept just ahead

               Of the clamorous jaws as the puppy dog sped.

               “There she is,” cried Eliphalet, “darned if she
                   ain’t!

               There’s perpetual motion!” and pallid and faint

               He fell prone and dying. They lifted him up

               And his eyes, glazed with death, looked their
                   last on that pup.

               And through the dark shade of mortality’s fog

               He gasped, “All you need is the right kind of
                   dog.”

               Inventor Jones--Eliphalet Jones,

               Ah, he was the fellow for schemes;

               Though critics might carp and his rivals throw
                   stones

               They never vexed Uncle Eliphalet Jones,

               Or troubled his radiant dreams.


THE PANTS JEMIMY MADE

[Illustration: 0231]

               Aunt Brown--Jemimy Brown--

               Was a spinster, spinner-weaver of merited re-
                   nown;

               Our town set it down

               As a fact beyond disputing there was never
                   any suiting

               Like the suiting that was made by Spinster
               Brown.

               She raised the wool she made it of, she even
                   raised the sheep,

               She fed ’em on the toughest straw the hired
                   man could reap

               She spun the thread with double-twist and
                   made a warp and woof

               So tarnal tough it really seemed’twas almost
                   bullet-proof.

               And when the cloth was shrunk and dyed and
                   ready for a suit

               The men in town would almost fight, they’d
                   get in such dispute

               Concerning who had spoken first--the farthest
                   in advance--

               And therefore had the prior claim on Aunt
               Jemimy’s pants.

               The cloth that folks make nowadays is slimpsy,
                   sleazy stuff;

               It’s colored up in fairish style and fashionable
                   enough!

               But blame the goods! It’s made to sell--it
                   isn’t made to wear--

               These trousers here I’ve worn five year, and
                   that is merely fair.

               But when you bought a cut of cloth of Aunt
               Jemimy’s weave,

               You got some stuff to last you through, you’d
                   better just believe!

               Why, ’bout the time that modern pants are get-
                   ting worn and thin

               A pair of Aunt Jemimy’s pants were scarcely
                   broken in.

               I’ve got a pair up attic now, made forty years
                   ago

               They’re just as tough as iron still and Time
                   has made no show.

               They’ve stood the brunt of honest work and
                   dulled the tooth of moth,

               And there they stand, as stiff’s a slab, good,
                   plain, old-fashioned cloth.

               And so I think it’s only right that tribute
                   should be paid

               To those old sturdy pioneers--the pants Je-
                   mimy made.

               The day I first put on those pants I held a
                   break-up plough--

               The farmers of these later days don’t have
                   such wrassles now;

               I drove six oxen on ahead, a pretty hefty team,

               For farming in those old, old days took mus-
                   cle, grit and steam;

               You didn’t stop for rocks and stumps, nor
                   dodge and skive and skip,

               Or else you’d have to lug your meals on ev’ry
                   furrow’s trip,

               And so the only thing to do was make the oxen
                   tread

               And hold the ploughshare deep and true, and
                   plunk ’er straight ahead.

               So back and forth and back and forth I
                   ploughed and ploughed that day;

               I tackled ev’ry rock and snag that dared dispute
                   my way,

               Until the only critter left was one old maple
                   stump,

               And I?--I gave the team the gad--and took
                   ’er on the jump!

               She split in halves and through I went, but
                   back she slapped, ker-whack,

               And gripped Jemimy’s pantaloons right where
                   she’d left the slack.

               The team was going double-quick--the oxen
                   plunged along--

               I held the old oak handle-bars, I gripped ’em
                   good and strong--

               And there I was, the living link’twixt stump
                   and plough, because

               The cloth it stuck there good and tight between
                   those maple jaws.

               Jemimy never planned on that, in making pants
                   for me;

               She made ’em solid, yet of course she gave no
                   guarantee

               That they would stand a yank like that--but
                   still I clung and yelled,

               Those oxen plunged and tussled and--Je-
                   mimy’s pants, they held!

               And the stump came out a-kicking, roots and
                   dirt and stones and all,

               But those pants weren’t even started by that
                   most tremendous haul,

               And to prove this ’ere is truthful, should some
                   scoffer cast a doubt,

               I have saved the chips and hewings where they
                   came and chopped me out.

               Aunt Brown--Jemimy Brown--

               Was a spinster, spinner-weaver of merited re-
                   nown;

               Our town set it down

               As a fact beyond disputing there was never
                   any suiting

               Like the suiting that was made by Spinster
               Brown.


BALLADS OF “CAPERS AND ACTIONS”


BALLAD OF ELKANAH B. ATKINSON

               Elkanah B. Atkinson’s tarvun was run
               On a plan that was strictly his own;

               And he “reckoned that dudified sons of a gun”
                Would far better leave him alone.

               He allowed that he always had plenty to eat
               For folks that liked vitt-u-als plain;

               An’ when ye came down to pettaters and meat
               His house was a credit to Maine.

               The garding truck they raised themselves,
               They killed their pork; and the but’ry shelves
               Jest fairly groaned with jells and jams;

               --In a shed out back they smoked their hams.
               And old Elkanah used to brag
               They laid down pickles by the kag;

               And they had the darndest hens to lay
               --Got fifty eggs most ev’ry day--

               And ev’ry egg was big’s your fist
               And fresher’n a whiff of mountain mist.

               The whole blamed house it used to shake
               When old Elkanah pounded steak,

               For he used to say what made meat tough
               Was ’cause some cooks warn’t strong enough.

               And he piled the grub right on sky-high:
               Soup and meat and fish and pie
               --All the courses on first whack--

               And then Elkanah he’d stand back
               And say: “There, people, now hoe in;

               When ye’ve et that grub, pass up ag’in;

               Of course we hain’t no big hotel,

               But some few things, why, we dew well.”

               P. Mortimer Perkins came down from New
                   York,

               --A salesman for corsets and things;

               With his trousers all creased and a lah-de-dah
                   walk,

               As if he were jiggered by strings;--
               Arrived at the Atkinson tarvun one night
               And says to Elkanah, says he:

               “I want to be called just as soon as it’s light,
               For I’m going first train, don’t ye see.

               It’s very important I go by first train,

               But I find in these country hotels
               The service ye get gives a fellah a pain
               --They don’t even answer the bells.

               Now I want to be called for that train, me good
                   man,

               For it’s very important I go;

               Now weally, old chappie, please see if you can
               Just do a thing right once, y’ know-

               Ye may call me at four, and at half after four
               I’ll bweakfast; now recollect, please!

               Before I wetire I’ll tell you once more;

               --You’ll get the idea by degwees.”

               Elkanah B. Atkinson lowered his specs
               To the very tip-end of his nose;

               Says he: “When a feller he really expec’s
               To go by that train, wal--he goes.

               Jest fall right asleep and don’t worry a mite;

               This hain’t -no big city hotel,

               But we’ll git ye to goin’ termorrer all right,
               For there’s some things we dew fairly well.”

               Elkanah B. Atkinson sat all night
               And kept the office fire bright.

               He nodded some and yawned and smoked,

               And at half-past three he went and poked
               The kitchen fire; then pounded steak
               And set potatoes in to bake.

               Started the coffee and all the rest
               And then went up to call his guest.

               Bangity, whang! on the cracked old door!
               Whangity, bang! It checked a snore.

               P. Mortimer Perkins opened his eyes
               In the cold dark dawn with much surprise,

               And under the coverlet warm and thick
               On the good, old-fashioned feather tick,

               Felt the cold on his nose like a frosty knife

               And was never so sleepy in all his life.

               But still bang, whang on the cracked old door!
               And Elkanah shouting, “Mos’ ha’f-pas’ four!”
                But the louder the old man pounded and yapped
               The more the drummer garped and gapped.

               At last says he: “Is it stormy--oh-h-h?”

               “Wall,” says Elkanah, “she’s spittin’ snow.”

               P. Mortimer Perkins snuggled down

               And says he, “This isn’t a blamed bad town;

               I say, old man, now please go’way,

               I’ve changed my mind, and I guess I’ll stay.”
                Elkanah B. Atkinson then says he:

               “This changin’ minds is a bad idee;

               I’ve set in that office there all night
               So’s I could git ye up all right.

               An’ breakfus’ is on, an’ the coffee’s hot;

               Now, friend, ye can go on that train or not,
               But I tell ye now, right off- the reel,

               Ye’re goin’ to git up and eat that meal.”
 [Illustration: 0241]

               P. Mortimer Perkins cursed and swore,

               But Elkanah slammed right through that door,
               And he pulled that drummer out of bed
               And brandished a chair’round over his head;
               He poked his ribs and made him dress
               So sleepy still that his gait cut S
               As he staggered down to the dining-room
               And ate his meal in the cheerless gloom,
               While over him stood the grim old man
               With a stick and a steaming coffee can.

               “Now, mister,” allowed Elkanah, “sence
               It’s a special breakfus’ it’s thutty cents.”
                When the feller paid, as meek’s a pup,

               And stuttered “Now, can I be put up?”
                “Why, sartin, mister,” Elkanah said;

                   “Ye can go to tophet or back to bed;

               There hain’t hard feelin’s, no, none at all,
               But when a feller he leaves a call
               At the Atkinson House for an early meal,
               He gits it served right up genteel,

               An’ when it’s served, wal, now you bet
               There hain’t no peace till that meal’s been et.
               Of course we hain’t no big hotel,

               But some few things we dew quite well.”


BALLAD OF OBADI FRYE

               ’Twas a battered old, double-B, twisted bass
                   horn,

               With a yaw in the flare at its end;

               A left-over veteran, relic forlorn
               Of the halcyon days when a band had been
                   born

               To the village of Buckleby Bend.

               The band was dismembered by time and by
                   death

               As the years went a-scurrying by,

               And only one player was left with his breath

                   And that was old Obadi’ I.

                        P. Frye.

                   Old Obadi’ Isaac Pitt Frye.

                   With a glow in his eye

                   He would plaintively try

               To puff out the tune that they marched to at
                   training;

                   But the tremolo drone

                   Of the brassy old tone

               Quavered queerly enough with his scant breath
                   remaining.

               Ah, the years had been many and bent was his
                   back,

               And caved was his chest and departed his
                   knack;

               So, though he was filled with musicianly pride

               And huffed at the mouthpiece and earnestly
                   tried

               To steady his palsied old lip and control

               The old-fashioned harmonies stirring his soul--

               There was nothing in Buckleby quite so for-
                   lorn

               As the oomp-tooty-oomp of that old bass horn.

               To the parties and sociables, quiltings and sings
                   They invited old Obadi’ Frye;

               He’d give ’em doldrums of old-fashioned
                   things

               With occasional bass obligato for strings
                   --Or at least he would zealously try.

               The minister coaxed him to buy a cornet
                   And chirk up a bit in his tune,

               But none could induce him to ever forget
                   His love for that old bassoon,

                        Whose tune

                   Was the solace of life’s afternoon.

                   So he’d splutter and moan
                   With his thin, gusty tone
               But his empty old lungs balked his anxious en-
                   deavor.

                   He hadn’t the starch
                   For a jig or a march,

               And with double-F volume he’d parted forever.
               For he hadn’t the breath for a triple note run,
               ’Twas a whoof and a pouf! and alas, he was
                   done;

               But the pride of his heart was that old double-
                   bass,

               He was happy alone with its lips at his face.

               So he sat in his old leather chair day by day
               And whooped the one solo he’d power to play,

               An anthem entitled, “All Hail Christmas
                   Morn,”

               As rendered by gulps on an old bass horn.

               “All hail--hoomp--hoomp--bright Christmas
                   morn,

               Hail--hoomp, hoomp--hoomp--fair

                   hoomp--hoomp--dawn;
               Turn--hoomp--hoomp, eyes

                   Hoomp--hoomp,

                   HOOMP--skies,

                   When--hoomp--hoomp,

                   hoomp--H O O M P--born.’’

               While a-tooting one morning his breath flick-
                   ered out

                   With a sort of a farewell purr;

               Of course there are many to scoff and to scout,
               But’twas sucked by that cavernous horn with-
                   out doubt,

                   At least, so the neighbors aver.

               They laid him away in the churchyard to rest
               And with grief that they sought not to hide,
               They placed the old battered B-B on his breast
               And that Christmas hymn score by his side--

                        His pride,

                   ‘Twas the tune that he played when he died.

                   Now, who here denies
                   That far in the skies

               He is probably calmly and placidly winging;
                   That his spirit new-born
                   With his score and his horn
               Takes flight where the hosts are triumphantly
                   singing.

               Yet it irks me to think that he’s far in that
               Land

               With only the score of one anthem in hand.
               For the music Above must be novel and
                   strange--

               Too intricate far for that double-B range,

               But at last when the Christmastide rings in the
                   skies

               There’ll be some queer quavers in fair Para-
                   dise,

               For an humble old spirit will calmly allow
               “I reckin I’ll give ’em that horn solo now.”
                Up there we are certain there’s no one to carp
               Because Obadiah won’t tackle a harp--
               Seraphs and cherubs will hush their refrain
               When a new note of praise intermingles its
                   strain,

               And he’ll add to the jocund delight of that
                   morn

               With his anthem, “All hail,” on that old bass
                   horn.

               “All hail--hoomp--hoomp--bright Christmas
                   morn,

               Hail--hoomp, hoomp--hoomp--fair

                   hoomp--hoomp--dawn;
               Turn--hoomp--hoomp, eyes

                   hoomp--hoomp,

                   HOOMP--skies,

               When--hoomp--hoomp,

                   hoomp--HOOMP--born.”


AT THE OLD FOLKS’ WHANG

               Flappy-doodle, flam, flam--whack, whack,
                   whack!

               Balance to the corners and forward folks and
                   back;

               Gaffle holt an’ gallop for an eight hands round,

               While the brogans and the cowhides they pessle
                   and they pound;-

               No matter for the Agger providin’ there’s the
                   time.

               Jest cuff’er out and jig’er;--jest hoe’er down
                   and climb!

               No matter’bout your toes or corns; let rheu-
                   matiz go hang,

               For we’re weltin’ out the wickin at the old
                   folks’ whang.

                   --At the old folks’ whang
                   Hear the cowhides bang,

               When we “up and down the center” at the old
                   folks’ whang.

               Yang, tangty, yee-yah!--yang, yang, yang!

               Old Branscomb plays the fiddle at the old folks’
                   whang;

               And he puts a sight o’ ginger in the chitter of
                   the string,

               --It isn’t frilly playin’ but he makes that fiddle
                   sing.

               He slashes out promis’cus, sort o’ mixin’ up
                   the tune,

               --Takes the _Irish Washerivoman_, slams’er up
                   agin _Zip Coon_;

               And he _Speeds the Plough_ a minute, then he’ll
                   sort o’change his mind

               And go off a-gallivantin’ with the _Girl I left
                   Behind._

               Oh, he mixes up his music queerest way I ever
                   saw,

               For he shifts the tune he’s playin’ ev’ry time
                   he shifts his chaw;

               But we never mind the changes for he keeps us
                   on the climb,

               --He may twist the tune a little but he’s thun-
                   der on the time!

               So line up and choose your pardners--we’re
                   the old ones out for fun,

               You’ll forgit your stiff rheumaticks jest as soon
                   as you’ve begun.

               ’Course we ain’t so spry and spiffy as we used
                   to be, but yet

               We can show them waltzy youngsters jest a
                   thing or two, you bet.

               We will dance the good old contras as we used
                   to years ago,

               Jest as long as Uncle Branscomb has the
                   strength to yank the bow.

               There is no one under sixty--we’ve shet out
                   the youngster gang

               And we’re goin’ to welt the wickin’ at the old
                   folks’ whang.

                   --At the old folks’ whang
                   Hear the cowhides bang,

               When we canter up the center at the old folks’
                   whang.


IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD

               O, the sleddin’s gettin’ ragged and it’s dodge
                   and skip and skive,

               Till it’s jest an aggravation for to try to start
                   and drive.

               Fust to this side, then to t’other--here some
                   ice and there some snow,

               --Just continyal gee and holler; fust “Gid-
                   dap,” and then it’s “Whoa!”

               Takes a half a day to git there, round by way
                   o’ Robin Hood;

               Like as not ye’ll bust your riggin’ haulin’ out
                   your hay and wood.

               ’Tain’t no way o’ doin’ bus’ness; ’tain’t no
                   way to haul a load,

               --You must do your hefty haulin’ in the mid-
                   dle of the road.

                   If ye want to keep a-hoein’

                   Better wait for settled goin’,

               For twice the heft goes easy in the middle of
                   the road.

               O, in dealin’s with your neighbors, brother,
                   sure as you’re alive,

               It’s better to go straight ahead and never skip
                   or skive.

               For the man who keeps a-dodgin’ back and
                   forth across the way

               Like enough will find his outfit in the gutter,
                   stuck to stay.

               Till the road is clear and settled, till with can-
                   dor in your heart

               You can see your way before you, guess ye
                   hadn’t better start;

               For to get there square and easy; and to lug
                   your honest load,

               You’ll find it’s best to travel in the middle of
                   the road.

                   --So’s to make an honest showin’
                   Better wait for settled goin’,

               Then, s’r, hustle brisk and stiddy in the mid-
                   dle of the road.


DRIVIN’ THE STAGE

                   Drivin’ the stage,

                   Oh, drivin’ the stage,

               With the wind fairly peelin’ your hide with its
                   aidge!

               Jest got to git through with the’Nited States
                   mail

               For the contract provisions don’t have the
                   word “Fail.”

               So it’s out and tread drifts while the snow
                   howls and sifts

               For a dollar a trip--and no extrys--no gifts.

               For them star-route contractors they figger it
                   fine

               And take it right out of the chaps on the line.

               They set in an office and rake in their slice

               While the drivers are tusslin’ the snow and the

                   ice.

               It may howl, it may yowl, it may snow, it may
                   blow

               But that’Nited States mail, wal, it jest has to
                   go.

               So it’s out and unhitch, leave the pung where
                   it’s stuck,

               Lo’d the bags on the hosses and then, durn ye,
                   huck!

               And it’s waller and struggle, walk stun’-walls
                   and rails

               For they don’t stand no foolin’--them’Nited
               States mails.

               And at last when ye git there, jest tuckered
                   and beat,

               And sling in the bags and crowd up to the
                   heat,

               The gang round the stove they don’t give ye
                   no praise

               But set there and toast themselves’side of the
                   blaze;

               And ev’ry old, wobble-shanked son of a gun

               Sets up there and tells ye how he would have
                   done!

               --If there’s any one job gives your temper an
                   aidge,

                   It’s drivin’ the stage,

                   --It’s drivin’ the stage.


“DOC”

               In his big, fur coat and with mittens big as
                   hams,

               With his string of bells a-jingling, through the
                   country side he slams.

               There are lots of calls to make and he’s always
                   on the tear,

               A-looming in his cutter like an amiable bear.

                   And it’s hi-i-i, there!

                   Johnny don’t ye care,

               Though’tis aching something awful and is
                   most too much to bear.

                   Just--be--gay!

                   As soon as it is day,

               That pain will go a-flyin’, for the doctor’s on
                   the way.

               There are real, true saints; there are angels all
                   around,

               But there isn’t one that’s welcomer than he is,
               I’ll be bound.

               When he bustles in the bed-room and he dumps
                   his buff’ler coat,

               And sticks a glass thermometer a-down the
                   suff’rin throat.

                   And it’s chirk, cheer up!

                   Mother, bring a cup!

               You’re going to like this bully when you take
                   a little sup.

                   There--there--why,

                   There’s a twinkle in your eye!

               You’ll be out again to-morrow, bub; gid-dap,
                   gid-dap, good-bye!


ANOTHER “TEA REBELLION”

               When Mis’ Augusty Nichols joined the Tufts
               Minerva Club,

               She polished up on manners and she then com-
                   menced to rub

               At the hide of Mister Nichols who, while not
                   exactly rude,

               Was hardly calculated for a howling sort of
                   dude.

               Now when Augusty Nichols got to see how
                   style was run,

               You bet she went for Nichols and she dressed
                   him down like fun;

               And the thing in all his actions that she couldn’t
                   bear to see

               Was to have him fill his saucer and go whoof-
                   ling up his tea.

               After more’n a month of stewing;--making
                   mis’able his life,

               She taught him not to shovel all his vittles
                   with his knife.

               And after more’n a volume of pretty spicy talk

               She got him in the hang of eating pie with just
                   his fork.

               She trained him so’s he didn’t slop the vittles
                   round his plate,

               She plagued him till he wouldn’t sit in shirt-
                   sleeves when he ate,

               And then she tried her Waterloo, with faith in
                   high degree

               That she could revolutionize his way of drink-
                   ing tea.

               He drank it as his father always quaffed the
                   cheering cup,

               He poured it in his saucer, raised the brimming
                   puddle up

               And gathered in the liquid with a loud re-
                   sounding “Swoof”

               That now at last inspired Mrs. Nichols’ fierce
                   reproof.

               But here was where the victim--ah, here was
                   where the worm

               Arose and fairly scared her by the vigor of his
                   squirm,

               --Sat down his steaming saucer and with a
                   dangerous light

               A-gleaming in his visage, he upbore a Yan-
                   kee’s right.

               From the days of Boston’s party up to now I
                   think you’ll see

               That a Yankee’s independent when you bother
                   with his tea.

                   “Consarn your schoolmarm notions,” thun-
                   dered Mrs. Nichols’ spouse,

                   “You’ve kept a’dingin’ at me till I’m meechin
                   round the house.

               I’ve swallered that and t’other for I didn’t like
                   to row

               But ye ain’t a-going to boss me in the thing
                   ye’ve tackled now.

               I’m durned if I’ll be scalded all the time I’m
                   being stung

               So I’ll cool my tea, Mis’ Nichols, while ye jab
                   me with your tongue.”

               There are rights ye cannot smother, tyrants,
                   whoso’er ye be,

               And the good, New England Yankee’s mighty
                   touchy, sir, on tea.


“LIKE AN OLD COW’S TAIL”

               When I was a youngster and lived on the farm
               It sickened my heart--did that morning alarm!
               When dad came along to the foot of the stairs
               And summoned me back to my duties and
                   cares;

               --Put all of my glorious visions to rout
               With “Breakfast is ready! LP h’ist out there,
                   h’ist out!”

               And when I came yawningly, sleepily down,
               My eyes “full of sticks” and my face all
                   a-frown,

               I got for a greeting this jocular hail,

               “Wal, always behind like an old cow’s tail.”

               I’ll own to you, neighbor, that work on the
                   farm

               Had features not wholly surrounded by charm.
               And when I am fashioning lyrical praise
               For matters bucolic of earlier days,

               You’ll note that my lyre, sir, operates best
               When I tune up and sing of the blessings of
                   rest.

               I’ve stood in the stow-hole and “tread” on the
                   load,

               And waltzed with a bush scythe and worked
                   on the road,

               But somehow or other the language won’t
                   spring

               When prowess of muscle I venture to sing.

               But when I am piping of “resting” or fun

               Or lauding the time after chores are all done,

               Why, somehow--why, blame it, as sure as
                   you’re born,

               I mentally feel that my trolley is on!

               And a trolley, you know, would be certain to
                   fail,

               Unless’twas behind like an old cow’s tail.


PASSING IT ALONG

               The elephant he started in and made tremen-
                   dous fuss

               Alleging he was crowded by the hippopotamus;

               He entertained misgivings that the earth was
                   growing small,

               And arrived at the conclusion that there wasn’t
                   room for all.

               Then the hippo got to thinking and he was
                   frightened too

               And so he passed the word along and sassed the
                   kangaroo.

               The kangaroo as promptly took alarm and
                   talked of doom

               And ordered all the monkeys off the earth to
                   give him room.

               And the monkeys jawed the squirrels and the
                   squirrels jawed the bees,

               While the bees gave Hail Columby to the
                   minges and the fleas,

               --In the microscopic kingdom of the microbes,
               I will bet

               That word of greedy jealousy is on its travels
                   yet;

               All just because the elephant got scared and
                   made a fuss

               Alleging he was crowded by the hippopotamus.


A SETTIN’ HEN

               When a hen is bound to set,

               Seems as though ’tain’t etiket
               Dowsin’ her in water till
               She’s connected with a chill.

               Seems as though ’twas skursely right
               Givin’ her a dreadful fright,

               Tyin’ rags around her tail,

               Poundin’ on an old tin pail,

               Chasin’ her around the yard.

               --Seems as though ’twas kind of hard
               Bein’ kicked and slammed and shooed
               ’Cause she wants to raise a brood.

               I sh’d say it’s gettin’ gay
               Jest’cause natur’ wants its way.

               --While ago my neighbor, Penn,

               Started bustin’ up a hen;

               Went to yank her off the nest,

               Hen, though, made a peck and jest
               Grabbed his thumb-nail good and stout,
               Almost yanked the darn thing out.

               Penn he twitched away and then
               Tried again to grab that hen.

               But, by ginger, she had spunk
               ’Cause she took and nipped a junk
               Big’s a bean right out his palm,

               Swallered it, and cool and calm
               Hi’sted up and yelled “Cah-dah,”

               --Sounded like she said “Hoo-rah.”

               Wal, sir, when that hen done that
               Penn he bowed, took off his hat,

               --Spunk jest suits him, you can bet,

               “Set,” says he, “gol darn ye, SET.”


BALLAD OF DEACON PEASLEE

               There was Uncle Ezry Cyphers and Uncle
               Jonas Goff,

               And Deacon Simon Peaslee, with his solemn
                   vestry cough;

               Mis’ Ann Matilda Bellows and Aunt Almiry
               Hunt,

               --At all the social meetings they performed
                   their earnest stunt.

               They were strong in exhortation, and pro-
                   foundly entertained

               The belief that talking did it if a Heavenly
               Home were gained.

               So they rose on Tuesday evening, at Friday
                   meeting, too,

               And informed their friends and neighbors what
                   the sinners ought to do;

               They explained the route to Heaven and ex-
                   horted all to go

               In the straight and narrow pathway through
                   the blandishments below;

               They were good and they were earnest, but,
                   alas, a little tame,

               For month by month and year by year their
                   talks were just the same,

               Until the folks who’d listened all those many
                   years could start

               And declaim those exhortations, for they had
                   ’em all by heart.

               And those old folks talked so constant there
                   was scarcely time to sing,

               For they just let in regardless and monopolized
                   the thing.

               Now, benign old Parson Johnson died at last.
               There’s scarcely doubt

               That those prosy dissertations sort of wore
                   the old man out.

               And he promptly was succeeded ere the church
                   had dried its tears

               By a cocky, youthful pastor, who was full of
                   new ideas.

               Now, he sized the situation ere he’d been in
                   town a week,

               And he set to work to fix it by a plan that was
                   unique,

               For he saw unless he did so--and the Lord
                   allowed them breath,

               Those devoted saints would surely talk that
                   wearied church to death.

               So he came to Tuesday meeting and upon his
                   desk he placed

               A nickeled teacher’s call-bell and blandly then
                   he faced

               An astonished congregation and explained he
                   thought it best

               To condense the exhortations so as not to
                   crowd the rest;

               For he said that in the worship all the members
                   ought to share,

               And monopoly of talking by the elders wasn’t
                   fair;

               Therefore, each could have five minutes, and
                   he’d ring to let each know

               When ’twas time to cut the discourse and give
                   t’other one a show.

               There were scowls from Uncle Ezry--there
                   were grunts from Uncle Goff,

               And Deacon Simon Peaslee gave a scornful
                   vestry cough.

               Then he laid his cane beside him and he strug-
                   gled to his feet

               And commenced his regular discourse in re-
                   gard to tares and wheat.

               He was scarcely fairly going on the punish-
                   ments of hell

               When the pastor smiled and nodded and ding-
                   clink-ling went the bell!

               All the old folks gasped in horror and a titter
                   soft and low

               Ran along the youthful sinners who were back
                   on Devil’s Row;

               And for just a thrilling instant Deacon Simon
                   lost his force,

               With astonished jaws a-gaping--then continued
                   on his course.

               To the pastor’s youthful visage swept a sudden
                   flush of wrath,

               As the obstinate old deacon brushed him calmly
                   from his path,

               And with all the college muscle that he had at
                   his command

               The parson cuffed the call-bell with a swift
                   and steady hand.

               There was riot in the vestry--deacon vieing
                   with the bell,

               As he strove to paint the terrors of the hot,
               John Wesley hell,

               Till at last he balked and stuttered, gasped a
                   while and tried to speak,

               Then sat down with tears a-dropping through
                   the furrows on his cheek.

               There he bent in voiceless anguish with his old
                   gray head bowed low,

               While the hushed and pitying people mourned
                   to see him grieving so;

               And the parson left the platform and contritely
                   crept across

               To the side of Deacon Simon and expressed his
                   deep remorse.

               But the deacon raised his visage, and, with tears
                   still streaming down,

               Glared upon his trembling pastor with a fierce
                   and scornful frown.

               “Drat yer hide,” roared Deacon Simon, “do
                   ye think that leetle bell

               Scart a warrior sech as I am out of talking
                   truths on hell?

               ’Tain’t no passon sets me down, sah! ’Tain’t
                   no bell ye ever saw,

               But ye went and got me narvous and ye’ve
                   made me eat my chaw.”

               Then the deacon, stern and angry, arm in arm
                   with Jonas Goff,

               And with Uncle Cyphers trailing, stalked in
                   righteous dudgeon off,

               And the sympathizing parish held a meeting
                   there and then,

               And extolled the absent deacon as the most
                   abused of men;

               And the parson’s walking papers hit his neck
                   below the jaw

               In about the same location that the deacon lost
                   his chaw.


THE WORST TEACHER

               _That teacher was the worst we ever tackled,

               He warnt so very tall, and he was light.

               --It is best to lay your egg before you’ve
                   cackled,

               Though we never had a notion he could fight._

               He acted sort of meechin’ when he opened up
                   the school,

               --We sort of got the notion he was “It”--
                   and we tagged gool,

               We gave him lots of jolly in a free and easy
                   way,

               And showed him how we handled guys as got
                   to acting gay.

               We showed him where the other one had torn
                   away the door

               When we lugged him out and dumped him in
                   the snow the year before.

               And soon’s we thought we’d scared him, we sat
                   and chawed and spit,

               And kind o’ thought we’d run the school--con-
                   cludin’ he was “It.”

               It worked along in that way, sir, till Friday
                   afternoon.

               --We hadn’t lugged him out that week, but
                   ’lowed to do it soon.

               That Friday,’long about three o’clock, he said
                   there’d be recess,

               And said, “The smaller kids and girls can go
                   for good, I guess.”

               And he mentioned smooth and smily, but with
                   kind of greenish eyes,

               That the big boys were requested to remain
                   for exercise.

               And when he called us in again he up and
                   locked the door,

               Shucked off his co’t and weskit, took the mid-
                   dle of the floor,

               And talked about gymnastys in a quiet little
                   speech,

               --Then he made a pass at Haskell, who was
                   nearest one in reach.

               ’Twas hot and stiff and sudden and it took him
                   on the jaw,

               And that was all the exercise the Haskell feller
                   saw.

               Then jumpin’ over Haskell’s seat, he sauntered
                   up the aisle,

               A-hittin’ right and hittin’ left and wearin’ that
                   same smile.

               And when a feller started up and tried to hit
                   him back,

               ’Twas slipper-slapper, whacko-cracker, whango-
                   bango-crack!!

               And never, sir, in all your life, did you see
                   flippers whiz

               In such a blame, chain-lightnin’ style as them
                   ’ere hands of his.

               And though we hit and though we dodged--or
                   rushed by twos and threes,

               He simply strolled around that room and licked
                   us all with ease.

               And when the thing was nicely done, he
                   dumped us in the yard,

               He clicked the padlock on the door and passed
                   us all a card.

               And this was what was printed there: “Pro-
                   fessor Joseph Tate,

               Athletics made a specialty and champion mid-
                   dleweight.”

               _That teacher was the worst we ever tackled,

               He warn’t so very tall and he was light.

               --It is best to lay your egg before you’ve
                   cackled,

               Though we never had a notion he could fight._


THE TUCKVILLE GRAND BALL

               Origen Dickerson called the figgers

               With a voice like a cart ex that needed some
                   grease.

               He and his partner would fiddle like niggers

               For supper an’ dollar an’ fifty apiece.

               With forty couple upon the floor--

               There wasn’t an inch for no one more,

               We done the honors for all three towns

               At the high, old Tuckville spanker-downs.

               Yeak, yawk,

               Grab for your pardners!

               Yawk, yawk,

               Wo’ hi-i-ish inter line!

               Yankity, yump-de,

               Yankity, yah-h de!

               --For a fife and two fiddles that music was
                   fine.

               And we pelted the floor and sashayed through
                   the door,

               And balanced to pardners and sashayed some
                   more.

               And when we got orders to “all hands
                   around!”

               Warn’t half of the girls that could stay on the
                   ground.

               For-rud and back! Wo’ haw, there, to Ella.

               Wo’ buck inter line and balance to Grace.

               Grab holt o’ hands, there, and swing by yer
                   feller,

               Clek--clek, gid-dap-along, git inter place.

               And the dust would rise and the lamps would
                   shake

               Till ye’d think their chimblys was goin’ to
                   break.

               For we’tended to dancin’ right up brown

               At a high old Tuckville spanker-down.

               Squeak, squawk,

               Pick out yer feller!

               Raw-w-wk, raw-w-wk,

               Form on your set!

               High-deedle, do-o-o de,

               High-deedle, dah-h-h-de!

               We swung by the waist in them dances, you
                   bet.

               There wasn’t kid slippers, there wasn’t tight
                   boots,

               There wasn’t silk dresses, there wasn’t dude
                   suits,

               There wasn’t no banquet--ten dollars for two--

               But a good brimmin’ bowlful of hot oyster
                   stew.

               We’d darnce twenty numbers and all the en-
                   cores,

               --Get home in the mornin’’bout time for the
                   chores--

               And all the next day the work was like play,

               The girls doin’ housework would waltz and
                   sashay;

               The boys would astonish the stock in the yard

               By forgettin’ and yellin’, “Hi, all promunard!”

               Hi-i-i, yah-h-h!

               Ladies to center, there!

               Hi-i-i, yah-h-h!

               Balance ye all!

               Wo’ hi-ish up the middle, bear down on the
                   fiddle,

               By ginger,’twas fun at the Tuckville Grand
               Ball.


THE ONE-RING SHOW

               The street parade was gorgeous and the show
                   was mighty fine

               --Them fellers on the trick trapeze was cork-
                   ers in their line,

               And all the lady riders was as pretty as they’re
                   made,

               And kept the climate fully up to ninety in the
                   shade.

               The chaps that did the tumbling acts and every
                   funny clown

               Was just as slick an article as ever came to
                   town.

               I’ve got to tell yon, neighbor, that it all was up
                   in G,

               Including all the things I saw and what I
                   didn’t see.

               But though I did a master sight of rubber-
                   neckin’’round,

               A-lookin’ here and gawpin’ there, why, gra-
                   cious, me, I found

               From what the folks have told me since, I
                   missed the finest things,

               --I hadn’t eyes and neck enough for all them
                   three big rings.

               And honest, if 1 had my choice, I’d good deal
                   ruther go

               To just a good, old-fashioned sort of hayseed,
                   one-ring show.

               The people used to gather when Van Amburgh
                   came to town

               With a lion and an elephant, a camel and a
                   clown.

               There wasn’t “miles of splendor,” as the cir-
                   cus programs say,

               But folks got up at daylight, drove in early in
                   the day;

               And they perched along the fences while the
                   dozen carts or so

               Came trailin’ through the village with the old
               Van Amburgh show.

               It wasn’t just “stupendous,” but the people
                   didn’t jeer

               And say it wasn’t up to what the circus was
                   last year!

               O, no, they crunched their peanuts and they
                   took things as they’d come,

               And heard a lot of music in the rump-rump of
                   the drum.

               For things, you know, seemed fresher in the
                   days when we were young,

               And tinsel passed for solid stuff when lady
                   riders sprung

               Through papered hoops, or danced and frisked
                   upon their charger’s rump

               And vaulters spun to dizzy heights with one
                   jer-oosly jump.

               They did those ding-does master fine some
                   twenty years ago

               And you never missed a wiggle at a one-ring
                   show.

               I won’t pick flaws with modern ways of doing
                   all these things,

               For folks have got to living on the gauge of
                   three big rings.

               But while the whirl is going on, it seems, my
                   friend, to me

               That half of what goes past your nose is things
                   that you don’t see.

               And when the angel cries, “All done,” and
                   when the lights go out,

               You’ll jostle to the dark Beyond amidst a diz-
                   zied rout.

               And life that’s lived at three ring pace I fear
                   will only seem

               A useless sort of patchwork thing--a mixed-
                   up fruitless dream.

               Why wasn’t “father’s way” the best? Though
                   there was less array,

               Though men had less of creeds and cults than
                   what they have to-day,

               The old folks then from Life’s great tent went
                   slowly thronging out

               With calm, well-ordered years behind, unvexed
                   by care or doubt.

               And though in old Van Amburgh’s days the
                   thing moved rather slow,

               You didn’t sprain your moral neck in looking
                   at Life’s Show.


THE SWITCH FOR HIRAM BROWN

               That Hiram Brown he come to school and
                   brung in seven ticks;

               He picked them off his father’s sheep--jes’ like
                   his dratted tricks!

               One day that critter put a toad right in our
                   teacher’s chair,

               She squatted down--and then got up! And
                   warn’t she mad for fair?

               He brung in crawly bugs and things, a mouse
                   and onct a rat,

               An’ then he sort o’ wound things up with
                   suthin’ wusser’n that.

               The teacher cotched him that time, though, and
                   my! she combed him down

               An’ I was sent to cut the switch that walloped
               Hiram Brown.

               Them ticks was in a pill-box doctor left when
               Bill was sick,

               An’ they was measly lookin’ things;--say,
                   j’ever see a tick?

               While we was readin’ testermunt Hi stirred
               ’em with a pin,

               --We all was wond’rin’ what he’d got, for he
                   was on the grin.

               Then when the teacher turned her back, Hi
                   made for Ozy Blair

               An’ turned the whole blamed seven ticks right
                   loose in Ozy’s hair.

               Then Ozy had a spasm fit like what he’s sub-
                   jick to;

               He squalled and clawed and bumped around till
                   he was black an’ blue.

               An’ teacher took her fine-toothed comb an’
                   raked an’ scraped his head,

               --It come nigh bustin’ up the school that way
                   that he raised Ned!

               The teacher made us all set up as stiff and
                   straight as sticks,

               An’ then says she, all raspy-like, “Who was it
                   brung them ticks?”

               We couldn’t help it--swow to man!--We
                   looked at Hiram Brown

               An’ Hi he set there redd’nin’ up and sort o’
                   lookin’ down.

               An’ teacher sniffed an’ then she scowled an’
                   giv’ her sleeves a twitch,

               An’ turned to me an’ then says she, “Ike, go
                   an’ cut a switch.”

               ’Twas dretful nice outdoors that day--it set a
                   feller wishin’

               That he could cut an’ run from school an’ put
                   his time in fishin’.

               ’Twas one them soft’nin’ sort of days an’ while
               I was a-pickin’

               A switch, it come acrost me what a shame to git
                   a lickin’

               On such a mighty pleasant day. So I shinned
                   up a tree

               An’ cut a slimpsy popple switch that wouldn’t
                   hurt a flea.

               Then I went in--there teacher was, a-waitin’
                   by the door,

               The scholars set as still as death an’ Bill stood
                   in the floor.

               But how they snickered when they see that
                   dinky little switch,

               --The teacher broke it up on me an’ giv’ my
                   ear a twitch,

               Says she, “You try that on agin, you’ll

                   git it
                   worse, you clown!

               Now go, an’ see’f you know enough to cut
                   that switch for Brown.”

               Seems’s if it warn’t so nice outdoors. It kind
                   o’ stirred my mad

               To divvy up that way with Hi--‘Cause ’twasn’t
                   me ’twas bad!

               Says I, “By jing, I’ll even up.” I took my
                   biggest blade

               An’ cut a switch that, honest true, it almost
                   made me ’fraid.

               I didn’t trim it very dus’--by snummy, I felt
                   wicked,

               I left the knobs all stickin’ out--an’ some of  ’em
                   was pick-ed.

               I passed ’er in. The teacher she ker-wished it
                   through the air,

               An’ Hi he shivered; ’twas enough to fairly
                   curl his hair.

               She fixed her hairpins so’s her pug it couldn’t
                   tumble down,

               An’ then says she, like bitin’ nails, “Take off
                   your coat, Hi Brown.”

               Then Hiram Brown he got right down an’
                   begged an’ teased an’ prayed,

               She hit him once--an easy clip--an’ then he
                   fairly brayed.

               He acted out in master style;--why, sence he’s
                   come of age

               He’s makin’ money like all sin, play-actin’ on
                   the stage.

               Our teacher was an easy mark--the tender
                   hearted kind--

               When Hiram got to takin on she went and
                   changed her mind.

               Says she, “You’ve been a naughty boy but if
                   you now repent

               I’ll spare the rod but punish you in this way.”
                Jee, she went

               An’ sent that Hi acrost the room to sit with
               Helen Dean,

               The girl I liked the best in school; an’ Hi was
                   jest serene!

               That warn’t the wust, for after school he licked
                   me like the deuce

               Because I left them knobs all on. Oh, thun-
                   der, what’s the use

               Of tryin’ to be good, sometimes? I know it’s
                   wicked talk

               To intimate that vice may ride when virtue has
                   to walk;

               To hint that folks of honest ways but moderate
                   in wits

               May have their noses rubbed in dirt by rascal
                   hypocrites,

               But truly, friends, it does appear that only mar-
                   tyrs’ crowns

               Are passed to worth down here on earth;--the
                   rest to Hiram Browns.


THE JUMPER

               Ba gor! J jomp an’ jomp all tam’

               Bot jos’ can’t halp dat--dere she am!

               Cos’ w’en som’ fellaire he say “Boo!”
                Morgee! I jomp an’ holler, too.

               Long tam’,’way back ma broder, Joe,

               Hav’ gon’roun’ house, an’ off she go.

               --Go bang, r-rat clos’ op side ma ear;

               Sence w’en I ac’ dis way--dat queer!

               I tak’ med’ceen--don’t geet som’ cure.

               Gass I got jomp-ops now for sure.

               An’ mos’ all tam’ som’ son er gon
               T’ink mak’ me jomp--wal, dat ban fon.

               I’ll tal yo’ wan t’ing dat ban true--

               Las’ spreeng dey beeld dat r-ra’ltrack t’rough
               R-rat pas’ ma house, an’ w’at yo’ s’pose?

               Dem ra’ltrack fellaires, wal, he goes
               Sot pos’ for whees-el side ma door,

               An’ den--wal, p’rap I didn’t swore!

               Wan tra’n com’ pas’ long jos’ ’bout noon,

               An’ go “whoot-toot!” Wal, bamby, soon,
               Wa’n’t no whol’ deeshes ’round--for why?
               ’Cos’, sacre, I jomp op sky-high
               An’ keeck dat table’roun’ dat plac’

               An’ lat som’ howl com’ off ma face.

               Dat vife he skeer mos’ near on death,

               An’ all dem shildreen hoi’ deir breath
               For saw deir fadder ac’ lak’ dat
               An’ geeve dose dinnaire wan beeg slat.

               An’ wan tra’n she go pas’ on night,

               Long ’bout de tarn’ I sle’p mos’ tight.

               An’ w’en she whees-el, “Whoot-too-too!”
                I jomp lak’ wil’ cat, I tal you.

               I heet ma vife gre’t beeg hard slams
               An’ black her eye mos’ seexteen tarn’s.

               Till las’ she go off sle’p down stair,

               --She say I worse as greezly bear,

               Bot w’at yo’ t’ink? I swore dis true,

               I nevaire know w’at t’ing I do.

               Wal, w’en t’ings geet bos’ op dat way,

               I ban saw ra’ltrack boss wan day.

               I tal heem ’bout I poun’ ma vife,

               --Can’t halp dat t’ing for save ma life--
               An’ he--he blor-rt, lak’ wan gre’t caff,

               An’ lean way back an’ laff an’ laff.

               I don’t saw nottin’s dere for fon
               ’Bout havin’ dat ol’ ra’ltrack ron
               Op pas’ ma house an’ hav’ dem car
               Male’ me bos’ op ma home, ba gar!

               I tol’ heem dat bam-by dat soun’

               Ban mak’ me keeck dat whol’ house down.

               “I’ll tal yo’ w’at,” say he bam-by,

               --He wap’ hees eye off lak’ he cry--

               “I’ll tol’ yo’ w’at dees ro’d weell do:
               We’ll send op our construckshong crew,
               We’ll beeld, to show dat we hain’t mean,
               Wan good, beeg cage an’ pot yo’ een.”

               Ba gar! Dat all I geet off heem!

               --I weesh dey not fin’ out dat steam!


ISHMAEL’S BREED

               Horde of the Great Unwashed! Hobo and
                   moucher and bum,

               Vag and yag and grafter and tramp, we care-
                   lessly go and come.

               Of the morrow we take no heed, no care infests
                   the day,

               Plenty of gump and a train to jump--a grip on
                   the rods and away!

               To the grab for the gear of greed we give no
                   thought or care,

               We own with you the arch of blue--our share
                   of God’s good air;

               --A coin to clear the law, a section of rubber
                   hose

               To soften the chafe of the truss and rod--our
                   portion of cast-off clothes;

               And ours the world--the world! a heritage
                   won by right,

               --By tacit deed to the nomad breed with the
                   taint of the Ishmaelite.

               Some from the wastes of the sage-brush,
                   some from the orange land,

               Some from “God’s own country,” dusty and
                   tattered and tanned.

               Wherefore? ’Tis idle to tell you--you’d
                   never understand.

               Hither and fro,

               We come--we go,

               Old Father Ishmael’s band.

               Yags-will sometimes walk, a tramp will hit the
                   grit,

               But a hobo never will count the ties so long as
                   he keeps his wit.

               There’s the truss of the Wagner freight, the
                   rods and the jolting truck,

               You can grab and swing at the yard-line post
                   if you’ve muscle enough and pluck.

               There’s the perch of the pilot, too, where you’re
                   target for lumps of coal,

               For a shack or a fireman never thinks we’ve
                   either nerves or soul.

               If you’ve taken the full degrees and have cov-
                   ered the “Honey Route,”

               Have fired a rock at the “Fox Train crew,” and
                   knocked a Doughface out,

               You are man for the king-pin act! Here’s hop-
                   ing you have success

               When you risk your neck on the smoke-swept
               “deck” of the Limited Express.

               Some from the slopes of the Rockies, some
                   from the Ogden route,

               Where the meek old Mormon matrons hand
                   the milk and honey out,

               --West and south and northward--and
                   t’other way about,

                   On tank and wall,

                   You’ll find the scrawl
               Of the tramp’s monarka-scout.

               Taint of the nomad’s blood! God, if we could
                   but burst

               From the thrall of vags and drop our rags and
                   cleave to the best--not worst!

               Each day on a town’s main-drag, as we’re
                   flaggin’ some house for prog,

               The smile of a child or a maiden’s face will give
                   our hearts a jog.

               And I--yes, even I, have flicked at a sudden tear

               And have turned my back on Smoky Jack lest
                   he see the thing and jeer.

               Spur of the nomad’s taint! Back to the ring-
                   ing rails

               That coaxingly curve to the far unknown!
               Confusion to courts and jails!

               The “goat” is coughing the grade; grab for
                   the rods, there, Jack,

               Look out for your grip, for a bit of a slip will
                   toss you to grease the track.

               Bound for the Greasers’ sage-brush, under
                   the roaring train,

               Decking the fast expresses from Texas north
                   to Maine,

               Grimy and tattered and blinded, Ishmael’s
                   blood our bane,

               We ride--we ride,

               To hope denied,

               Cursed with the curse of Cain.





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