HotFreeBooks.com
Riley Child-Rhymes
by James Whitcomb Riley
Home - Random Browse

RILEY CHILD-RHYMES

James Whitcomb Riley

WITH HOOSIER PICTURES BY

Will Vawter



Copyright 1890, 1896, 1898 and 1905



WITH HALE AFFECTION AND ABIDING FAITH THESE RHYMES AND PICTURES ARE INSCRIBED TO THE CHILDREN EVERYWHERE



He owns the bird-songs of the hills— The laughter of the April rills; And his are all the diamonds set In Morning's dewy coronet,— And his the Dusk's first minted stars That twinkle through the pasture-bars And litter all the skies at night With glittering scraps of silver light;— The rainbow's bar, from rim to rim, In beaten gold, belongs to him.



CONTENTS

[Note from the transcriber: The Table of Contents below was taken from the book and is an alphabetical list of the poems. A second Table of Contents, listing the poems in the order they occur in this book, has been provided by the transcriber.]

AT AUNTY'S HOUSE

BEAR STORY, THE

BOY LIVES ON OUR FARM, THE

BOYS' CANDIDATE, THE

BUMBLEBEE, THE

CIRCUS-DAY PARADE, THE

CURLY LOCKS

DAYS GONE BY, THE

DOWN AROUND THE RIVER

ENVOY

FUNNY LITTLE FELLOW, THE

GRANDFATHER SQUEERS

HAPPY LITTLE CRIPPLE, THE

HOME-MADE FAIRY-TALE, A

IMPETUOUS RESOLVE, AN

JOLLY MILLER, THE

LIFE-LESSON, A

LITTLE COAT, THE

LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE

LUGUBRIOUS WHING-WHANG, THE

NAUGHTY CLAUDE

NINE LITTLE GOBLINS, THE

OLD AUNT MARY'S

OLD HAY-MOW, THE

OLD TRAMP, THE

ON THE SUNNY SIDE

OUR HIRED GIRL

PET COON, THE

PIXY PEOPLE, THE

RAGGEDY MAN, THE

RIDER OF THE KNEE, THE

RUNAWAY BOY, THE

SOUTH WIND AND THE SUN, THE

SQUIRTGUN UNCLE MAKED ME, THE

SUDDEN SHOWER, A

TIME OF CLEARER TWITTERINGS

WAITIN' FER THE CAT TO DIE

WHO SANTY-CLAUS WUZ

WINTER FANCIES



Contents (Listed in the Order They Appear)

LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE

THE RAGGEDY MAN

CURLY LOCKS

THE FUNNY LITTLE FELLOW

THE HAPPY LITTLE CRIPPLE

THE RIDER OF THE KNEE

DOWN AROUND THE RIVER

AT AUNTY'S HOUSE

THE DAYS GONE BY

THE BUMBLEBEE

THE BOY LIVES ON OUR FARM

THE SQUIRTGUN UNCLE MAKED ME

THE OLD TRAMP

OLD AUNT MARY'S

WINTER FANCIES

THE RUNAWAY BOY

THE LITTLE COAT

AN IMPETUOUS RESOLVE

WHO SANTY-CLAUS WUZ

THE NINE LITTLE GOBLINS

TIME OF CLEARER TWITTERINGS

THE CIRCUS-DAY PARADE

THE LUGUBRIOUS WHING-WHANG

WAITIN' FER THE CAT TO DIE

NAUGHTY CLAUDE

THE SOUTH WIND AND THE SUN

THE JOLLY MILLER

OUR HIRED GIRL

THE BOYS' CANDIDATE

THE PET COON

THE OLD HAY-MOW

ON THE SUNNY SIDE

A SUDDEN SHOWER

GRANDFATHER SQUEERS

THE PIXY PEOPLE

A LIFE-LESSON

A HOME-MADE FAIRY-TALE

THE BEAR STORY

ENVOY



ILLUSTRATIONS

WITCH-TALES

THEY WAS TWO GREAT BIG BLACK THINGS A-STANDIN' BY HER SIDE

AN' WHEN THEY TURN'T THE KIVVERS DOWN

LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE—TAILPIECE

THE RAGGEDY MAN—TITLE

HE SHOWED ME THE HOLE 'AT THE WUNKS IS GOT

CURLY LOCKS—TITLE

SIT ON A CUSHION AND SEW A FINE SEAM

THE FUNNY LITTLE FELLOW—TITLE

NEVER KNEW A BABY THAT WOULDN'T CROW FOR HIM

THE HAPPY LITTLE CRIPPLE—TITLE

AN' I PECK ON THE WINDER

AN' COOKS A' EGG FER ME

THE HAPPY LITTLE CRIPPLE—TAILPIECE

THE RIDER OF THE KNEE

DOWN AROUND THE RIVER—TITLE

NOON-TIME AND JUNE-TIME DOWN AROUND THE RIVER

DOWN AROUND THE RIVER—TAILPIECE

AT AUNTY'S HOUSE—TITLE

WE ET OUT ON THE PORCH

THE DAYS GONE BY—TITLE

IN THE ORCHARD

THE BUMBLEBEE

THE BOY LIVES ON OUR FARM—TITLE

STAND UP LIKE HIM AN' DRIVE

THE SQUIRTGUN UNCLE MAKED ME—TITLE

THE SQUIRTGUN—TAILPIECE

AN' NEN HE PEELED OFF THE BARK

THE OLD TRAMP

WE PATTER ALONG IN THE DUST AGAIN

OLD AUNT MARY'S—TAILPIECE

WINTER FANCIES—TITLE

WINTER WITHOUT AND WARMTH WITHIN

HERE IN MY ROOM I'M AS SNUGLY SHUT

AN' A GREA'-BIG PIG WENT "BOOH!"

HUG WITE CLOSE ROUND HER NECK

THE LITTLE COAT

THE LITTLE COAT—TAILPIECE

AN IMPETUOUS RESOLVE—TITLE

I'M GO' TO BE A BAKER

A-SLINGIN' PIE-CRUST 'LONG THE ROAD

WHO SANTY-CLAUS WUZ—TITLE

AN' QUAR'L WITH HIS FROSTED HEELS

WHO SANTY-CLAUS WUZ—TAILPIECE

THE NINE LITTLE GOBLINS

THE NINE LITTLE GOBLINS—TAILPIECE

TIME OF CLEARER TWITTERINGS—TITLE

WHERE THE SHELLBARK HICKORY TREE

THE CIRCUS-DAY PARADE

HOW THE CAGES JOLTED PAST

AND, LAST OF ALL, THE CLOWN

THE LUGUBRIOUS WHING-WHANG—TITLE

WAITIN' FER THE CAT TO DIE—TITLE

BAREFOOTED, HUNGRY, LEAN, ORNRY BOYS

WHY YOU ROCK SO SLOW?

NAUGHTY CLAUDE

THE SOUTH WIND AND THE SUN—TITLE

THIS PAIR OF MERRY FAYS

THE JOLLY MILLER—TITLE

THAT CAT O' YOURN I'D KILL HER

WUZ PARCHIN' CORN FER THE RAGGEDY MAN

THE BOYS' CANDIDATE

THE PET COON—TITLE

AN' NEN WHEN BILLY FIGHTED ME

THE OLD HAY-MOW—TITLE

IN OUR HAY-MOW WHERE I KEEP STORE

ON THE SUNNY SIDE—TITLE

AS A ROMPING BOY

A SUDDEN SHOWER—TITLE

SCHOOLGIRL FACES ... GLEAM FROM THE SHAWLS ABOUT THEIR HEADS

A SUDDEN SHOWER—TAILPIECE

GRANDFATHER SQUEERS—TITLE

AND SMOKE LEAF-TOBACCO

GRANDFATHER SQUEERS—TAILPIECE

THE PIXY PEOPLE—TITLE

WINGED ABOVE THE WALK

A LIFE-LESSON—TITLE

BUT HEAVEN HOLDS ALL FOR WHICH YOU SIGH

A HOME-MADE FAIRY-TALE—TITLE

A LITTLE DUDE-FAIRY

ENVOY



RILEY CHILD-RHYMES



LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE



Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay, An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away, An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep, An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep; An' all us other childern, when the supper things is done, We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about, An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you Ef you Don't Watch Out!

Onc't they was a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,— So when he went to bed at night, away up stairs, His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl, An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wasn't there at all! An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press, An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'wheres, I guess; But all they ever found was thist his pants an' roundabout:— An' the Gobble-uns'll git you Ef you Don't Watch Out!



An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin, An' make fun of ever'one, an' all her blood an' kin; An' onc't, when they was "company," an' ole folks was there, She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care! An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide, They was two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side, An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about! An' the Gobble-uns'll git you Ef you Don't Watch Out!

An' little Orphant Annie says when the blaze is blue, An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo! An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray, An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,— You better mind yer parents, an' yer teachers fond an' dear, An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear, An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about, Er the Gobble-uns'll git you Ef you Don't Watch Out!



THE RAGGEDY MAN



O The Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa; An' he's the goodest man ever you saw! He comes to our house every day, An' waters the horses, an' feeds 'em hay; An' he opens the shed—an' we all ist laugh When he drives out our little old wobble-ly calf; An' nen—ef our hired girl says he can— He milks the cow fer 'Lizabuth Ann.— Aint he a' awful good Raggedy Man? Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

W'y, The Raggedy Man—he's ist so good He splits the kindlin' an' chops the wood; An' nen he spades in our garden, too, An' does most things 'at boys can't do!— He clumbed clean up in our big tree An' shooked a' apple down fer me— An' nother'n', too, fer 'Lizabuth Ann— An' nother'n', too, fer The Raggedy Man.— Aint he a' awful kind Raggedy Man? Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!



An' The Raggedy Man, he knows most rhymes An' tells 'em, ef I be good, sometimes: Knows 'bout Giunts, an' Griffuns, an' Elves, An' the Squidgicum-Squees 'at swallers therselves! An', wite by the pump in our pasture-lot, He showed me the hole 'at the Wunks is got, 'At lives 'way deep in the ground, an' can Turn into me, er 'Lizabuth Ann! Aint he a funny old Raggedy Man? Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

The Raggedy Man—one time when he Wuz makin' a little bow-'n'-orry fer me, Says "When you're big like your Pa is, Air you go' to keep a fine store like his— An' be a rich merchunt—an' wear fine clothes?— Er what air you go' to be, goodness knows!" An' nen he laughed at 'Lizabuth Ann, An' I says "'M go' to be a Raggedy Man!— I'm ist go' to be a nice Raggedy Man!" Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!



CURLY LOCKS



Curly Locks! Curly Locks! wilt thou be mine? Thou shalt not wash the dishes, nor yet feed the swine,— But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam, And feast upon strawberries, sugar and cream.

Curly Locks! Curly Locks! wilt thou be mine? The throb of my heart is in every line, And the pulse of a passion as airy and glad In its musical beat as the little Prince had!



Thou shalt not wash the dishes, nor yet feed the swine!— O I'll dapple thy hands with these kisses of mine Till the pink of the nail of each finger shall be As a little pet blush in full blossom for me.

But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam, And thou shalt have fabric as fair as a dream,— The red of my veins, and the white of my love, And the gold of my joy for the braiding thereof.

And feast upon strawberries, sugar and cream From a service of silver, with jewels agleam,— At thy feet will I bide, at thy beck will I rise, And twinkle my soul in the night of thine eyes!

Curly Locks! Curly Locks! wilt thou be mine? Thou shalt not wash the dishes, nor yet feed the swine.— But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam, And feast upon strawberries, sugar and cream.



THE FUNNY LITTLE FELLOW



'Twas a Funny Little Fellow Of the very purest type, For he had a heart as mellow As an apple over-ripe; And the brightest little twinkle When a funny thing occurred, And the lightest little tinkle Of a laugh you ever heard!

His smile was like the glitter Of the sun in tropic lands, And his talk a sweeter twitter Than the swallow understands; Hear him sing—and tell a story— Snap a joke—ignite a pun,— 'Twas a capture—rapture—glory, And explosion—all in one!

Though he hadn't any money— That condiment which tends To make a fellow "honey" For the palate of his friends;— Sweet simples he compounded— Sovereign antidotes for sin Or taint,—a faith unbounded That his friends were genuine.

He wasn't honored, may be— For his songs of praise were slim,— Yet I never knew a baby That wouldn't crow for him; I never knew a mother But urged a kindly claim Upon him as a brother, At the mention of his name.



The sick have ceased their sighing And have even found the grace Of a smile when they were dying As they looked upon his face; And I've seen his eyes of laughter Melt in tears that only ran As though, swift dancing after, Came the Funny Little Man.

He laughed away the sorrow, And he laughed away the gloom We are all so prone to borrow From the darkness of the tomb; And he laughed across the ocean Of a happy life, and passed, With a laugh of glad emotion, Into Paradise at last.

And I think the Angels knew him, And had gathered to await His coming, and run to him Through the widely-opened Gate— With their faces gleaming sunny For his laughter-loving sake, And thinking, "What a funny Little Angel he will make!"



THE HAPPY LITTLE CRIPPLE



I'm thist a little cripple boy, an' never goin' to grow An' get a great big man at all!—'cause Aunty told me so. When I was thist a baby onc't, I falled out of the bed An' got "The Curv'ture of the Spine"—'at's what the Doctor said. I never had no Mother nen—fer my Pa runned away An' dassn't come back here no more—'cause he was drunk one day An' stobbed a man in thish-ere town, an' couldn't pay his fine! An' nen my Ma she died—an' I got "Curv'ture of the Spine!"



I'm nine years old! An' you can't guess how much I weigh, I bet!— Last birthday I weighed thirty-three!—An' I weigh thirty yet! I'm awful little fer my size—I'm purt' nigh littler 'nan Some babies is!—an' neighbers all calls me "The Little Man!" An' Doc one time he laughed an' said: "I 'spect, first thing you know, You'll have a little spike-tail coat an' travel with a show!" An' nen I laughed—till I looked round an' Aunty was a-cryin'— Sometimes she acts like that, 'cause I got "Curv'ture of the Spine."

I set—while Aunty's washin'—on my little long-leg stool, An' watch the little boys an' girls a-skippin' by to school; An' I peck on the winder, an' holler out an' say: "Who wants to fight The Little Man 'at dares you all today?" An', nen the boys climbs on the fence, an' little girls peeks through, An' they all says: "Cause you're so big, you think we're 'feared o' you!" An' nen they yell, an' shake their fist at me, like I shake mine— They're thist in fun, you know, 'cause I got "Curv'ture of the Spine!"

At evening, when the ironin's done, an' Aunty's fixed the fire, An' filled an' lit the lamp, an' trimmed the wick an' turned it higher, An' fetched the wood all in fer night, an' locked the kitchen door, An' stuffed the ole crack where the wind blows in up through the floor— She sets the kittle on the coals, an' biles an' makes the tea, An' fries the liver an' the mush, an' cooks a egg fer me; An' sometimes—when I cough so hard—her elderberry wine Don't go so bad fer little boys with "Curv'ture of the Spine!"



But Aunty's all so childish-like on my account, you see, I'm 'most afeard she'll be took down—an' 'at's what bothers me!— 'Cause ef my good old Aunty ever would git sick an' die, I don't know what she'd do in heaven—till I come, by an' by:— Fer she's so ust to all my ways, an' ever'thing, you know, An' no one there like me, to nuss an' worry over so!— 'Cause all the little childerns there's so straight an' strong an' fine, They's nary angel 'bout the place with "Curv'ture of the Spine!"



THE RIDER OF THE KNEE

Knightly Rider of the Knee Of Proud-prancing Unclery! Gaily mount, and wave the sign Of that mastery of thine.

Pat thy steed and turn him free, Knightly Rider of the Knee! Sit thy charger as a throne— Lash him with thy laugh alone:

Sting him only with the spur Of such wit as may occur, Knightly Rider of the Knee, In thy shriek of ecstasy.

Would, as now, we might endure, Twain as one—thou miniature Ruler, at the rein of me— Knightly Rider of the Knee!



DOWN AROUND THE RIVER



Noon-time an' June-time, down around the river! Have to furse with 'Lizey Ann—but lawzy! I fergive her! Drives me off the place, an' says 'at all 'at she's a-wishin', Land o' gracious! time'll come I'll git enough o' fishin'! Little Dave, a-choppin' wood, never 'pears to notice; Don't know where she's hid his hat, er keerin' where his coat is,— Specalatin', more'n like, he haint a-goin' to mind me, An' guessin' where, say twelve o'clock, a feller'd likely find me!

Noon-time an' June-time, down around the river! Clean out o' sight o' home, an' skulkin' under kivver Of the sycamores, jack-oaks, an' swamp-ash an' ellum— Idies all so jumbled up, you kin hardly tell 'em!— Tired, you know, but lovin' it, an' smilin' jes' to think 'at Any sweeter tiredness you'd fairly want to drink it! Tired o' fishin'—tired o' fun—line out slack an' slacker— All you want in all the world's a little more tobacker!

Hungry, but a-hidin' it, er jes' a-not a-keerin':— Kingfisher gittin' up an' skootin' out o' hearin'; Snipes on the t'other side, where the County Ditch is, Wadin' up an' down the aidge like they'd rolled their britches! Old turkle on the root kindo-sorto drappin' Intoo th' worter like he don't know how it happen! Worter, shade an' all so mixed, don't know which you'd orter Say; th' worter in the shadder—shadder in the worter!

Somebody hollerin'—'way around the bend in Upper Fork—where yer eye kin jes' ketch the endin' Of the shiney wedge o' wake some muss-rat's a-makin' With that pesky nose o' his! Then a sniff o' bacon, Corn-bred an' 'dock-greens—an' little Dave a-shinnin' 'Crost the rocks an' mussel-shells, a-limpin' an' a-grinnin', With yer dinner fer ye, an' a blessin' from the giver, Noon-time an' June-time down around the river!



AT AUNTY'S HOUSE



One time, when we'z at Aunty's house— 'Way in the country!—where They's ist but woods—an' pigs, an' cows— An' all's out-doors an' air!— An' orchurd-swing; an' churry-trees— An' churries in 'em!—Yes, an' these— Here red-head birds steals all they please, An' tetch 'em ef you dare!— W'y, wunst, one time, when we wuz there, We et out on the porch!



Wite where the cellar-door wuz shut The table wuz; an' I Let Aunty set by me an' cut My vittuls up—an' pie. 'Tuz awful funny!—I could see The red-heads in the churry-tree; An' bee-hives, where you got to be So keerful, goin' by;— An' "Comp'ny" there an' all!—an' we— We et out on the porch!

An' I ist et p'surves an' things 'At Ma don't 'low me to— An' chickun-gizzurds—(don't like wings Like Parunts does! do you?) An' all the time, the wind blowed there, An' I could feel it in my hair, An' ist smell clover ever'where!— An' a' old red-head flew Purt' nigh wite over my high-chair, When we et on the porch!



THE DAYS GONE BY



O the days gone by! O the days gone by! The apples in the orchard, and the pathway through the rye; The chirrup of the robin, and the whistle of the quail As he piped across the meadows sweet as any nightingale; When the bloom was on the clover, and the blue was in the sky, And my happy heart brimmed over, in the days gone by.



In the days gone by, when my naked feet were tripped By the honeysuckle tangles where the water-lilies dipped, And the ripples of the river lipped the moss along the brink, Where the placid-eyed and lazy-footed cattle came to drink, And the tilting snipe stood fearless of the truant's wayward cry And the splashing of the swimmer, in the days gone by.

O the days gone by! O the days gone by! The music of the laughing lip, the lustre of the eye; The childish faith in fairies, and Aladdin's magic ring— The simple, soul-reposing, glad belief in everything,— When life was like a story, holding neither sob nor sigh, In the golden olden glory of the days gone by.



THE BUMBLEBEE

You better not fool with a Bumblebee!— Ef you don't think they can sting—you'll see! They're lazy to look at, an' kindo' go Buzzin' an' bummin' aroun' so slow, An' ac' so slouchy an' all fagged out, Danglin' their legs as they drone about The hollyhawks 'at they can't climb in 'Ithout ist a-tumble-un out agin! Wunst I watched one climb clean 'way In a jim'son-blossom, I did, one day,— An' I ist grabbed it—an' nen let go— An' "Ooh-ooh! Honey! I told ye so!" Says The Raggedy Man; an' he ist run An' pullt out the stinger, an' don't laugh none, An' says: "They has ben folks, I guess, 'At thought I wuz predjudust, more er less,— Yit I still muntain 'at a Bumblebee Wears out his welcome too quick fer me!"



THE BOY LIVES ON OUR FARM



The boy lives on our Farm, he's not Afeard o' horses none! An' he can make 'em lope, er trot, Er rack, er pace, er run. Sometimes he drives two horses, when He comes to town an' brings A wagon-full o' 'taters nen, An' roastin'-ears an' things.

Two horses is "a team," he says, An' when you drive er hitch, The right-un's a "near-horse," I guess Er "off"—I don't know which— The Boy lives on our Farm, he told Me, too, 'at he can see, By lookin' at their teeth, how old A horse is, to a T!

I'd be the gladdest boy alive Ef I knowed much as that, An' could stand up like him an' drive, An' ist push back my hat, Like he comes skallyhootin' through Our alley, with one arm A-wavin' Fare-ye-well! to you— The Boy lives on our Farm!



THE SQUIRTGUN UNCLE MAKED ME



Uncle Sidney, when he wuz here, Maked me a squirtgun out o' some Elder-bushes 'at growed out near Where wuz the brickyard—'way out clear To where the toll-gate come!

So when we walked back home again, He maked it, out in our woodhouse where Wuz the old workbench, an' the old jack-plane, An' the old 'pokeshave, an' the tools all lay'n' Ist like he wants 'em there.

He sawed it first with the old hand-saw; An' nen he peeled off the bark, an' got Some glass an' scraped it; an' told 'bout Pa, When he wuz a boy an' fooled his Ma, An' the whippin' 'at he caught.

Nen Uncle Sidney, he took an' filed A' old arn ramrod; an' one o' the ends He screwed fast into the vise; an' smiled, Thinkin', he said, o' when he wuz a child, 'Fore him an' Pa wuz mens.

He punched out the peth, an' nen he put A plug in the end with a hole notched through; Nen took the old drawey-knife an' cut An' maked a handle 'at shoved clean shut But ist where yer hand held to.

An' he wropt th'uther end with some string an' white Piece o' the sleeve of a' old tored shirt; An' nen he showed me to hold it tight, An' suck in the water an' work it right An' it 'ud ist squirt an' squirt!



THE OLD TRAMP



A Old Tramp slep' in our stable wunst, An' The Raggedy Man he caught An' roust him up, an' chased him off Clean out through our back lot!

An' th' Old Tramp hollered back an' said,— "You're a purty man!—You air!— With a pair o' eyes like two fried eggs, An' a nose like a Bartlutt pear!"



OLD AUNT MARY'S

Wasn't it pleasant, O brother mine, In those old days of the lost sunshine Of youth—when the Saturday's chores were through, And the "Sunday's wood" in the kitchen, too, And we went visiting, "me and you," Out to Old Aunt Mary's?

It all comes back so clear to-day! Though I am as bald as you are gray— Out by the barn-lot, and down the lane, We patter along in the dust again, As light as the tips of the drops of the rain, Out to Old Aunt Mary's!

We cross the pasture, and through the wood Where the old gray snag of the poplar stood, Where the hammering "red-heads" hopped awry, And the buzzard "raised" in the "clearing" sky And lolled and circled, as we went by Out to Old Aunt Mary's.

And then in the dust of the road again; And the teams we met, and the countrymen; And the long highway, with sunshine spread As thick as butter on country bread, Our cares behind, and our hearts ahead Out to Old Aunt Mary's.



Why, I see her now in the open door, Where the little gourds grew up the sides and o'er The clapboard roof!—And her face—ah, me! Wasn't it good for a boy to see— And wasn't it good for a boy to be Out to Old Aunt Mary's?

And O my brother, so far away, This is to tell you she waits to-day To welcome us:—Aunt Mary fell Asleep this morning, whispering, "Tell The boys to come!" And all is well Out to Old Aunt Mary's.



WINTER FANCIES



I

Winter without And warmth within; The winds may shout And the storm begin; The snows may pack At the window pane, And the skies grow black, And the sun remain Hidden away The livelong day— But here—in here is the warmth of May!



II

Swoop your spitefullest Up the flue, Wild Winds—do! What in the world do I care for you? O delightfullest Weather of all, Howl and squall, And shake the trees till the last leaves fall!

III

The joy one feels, In an easy chair, Cocking his heels In the dancing air That wreathes the rim of a roaring stove Whose heat loves better than hearts can love, Will not permit The coldest day To drive away The fire in his blood, and the bliss of it!

IV

Then blow, Winds, blow! And rave and shriek, And snarl and snow Till your breath grows weak— While here in my room I'm as snugly shut As a glad little worm In the heart of a nut!



THE RUNAWAY BOY

Wunst I sassed my Pa, an' he Won't stand that, an' punished me,— Nen when he was gone that day, I slipped out an' runned away.

I tooked all my copper-cents, An' clumbed over our back fence In the jimpson-weeds 'at growed Ever'where all down the road.

Nen I got out there, an' nen I runned some—an' runned again When I met a man 'at led A big cow 'at shooked her head.

I went down a long, long lane Where was little pigs a-play'n'; An' a grea'-big pig went "Booh!" An' jumped up, an' skeered me too.

Nen I scampered past, an' they Was somebody hollered "Hey!" An' I ist looked ever'where, An' they was nobody there.

I Want to, but I'm 'fraid to try To go back.... An' by-an'-by Somepin' hurts my throat inside— An' I want my Ma—an' cried.

Nen a grea'-big girl come through Where's a gate, an' telled me who Am I? an' ef I tell where My home's at she'll show me there.

But I couldn't ist but tell What's my name; an' she says well, An' she tooked me up an' says She know where I live, she guess.



Nen she telled me hug wite close Round her neck!—an' off she goes Skippin' up the street! An' nen Purty soon I'm home again.

An' my Ma, when she kissed me, Kissed the big girl too, an' she Kissed me—ef I p'omise shore I won't run away no more!



THE LITTLE COAT

Here's his ragged "roundabout"; Turn the pockets inside out: See; his pen-knife, lost to use, Rusted shut with apple-juice; Here, with marbles, top and string, Is his deadly "devil-sling," With its rubber, limp at last As the sparrows of the past! Beeswax—buckles—leather straps— Bullets, and a box of caps,— Not a thing of all, I guess, But betrays some waywardness— E'en these tickets, blue and red, For the Bible-verses said— Such as this his mem'ry kept— "Jesus wept."



Here's a fishing hook-and-line, Tangled up with wire and twine, And dead angle-worms, and some Slugs of lead and chewing-gum, Blent with scents that can but come From the oil of rhodium. Here—a soiled, yet dainty note, That some little sweetheart wrote, Dotting,—"Vine grows round the stump," And—"My sweetest sugar lump!" Wrapped in this—a padlock key Where he's filed a touch-hole—see! And some powder in a quill Corked up with a liver pill; And a spongy little chunk Of "punk."

Here's the little coat—but O! Where is he we've censured so! Don't you hear us calling, dear? Back! come back, and never fear.— You may wander where you will, Over orchard, field and hill; You may kill the birds, or do Anything that pleases you! Ah, this empty coat of his! Every tatter worth a kiss; Every stain as pure instead As the white stars overhead: And the pockets—homes were they Of the little hands that play Now no more—but, absent, thus Beckon us.



AN IMPETUOUS RESOLVE



When little Dickie Swope's a man, He's go' to be a Sailor; An' little Hamey Tincher, he's A-go' to be a Tailor: Bud Mitchell, he's a-go' to be A stylish Carriage-Maker; An' when I grow a grea'-big man, I'm go' to be a Baker!

An' Dick'll buy his sailor-suit O' Hame; and Hame'll take it An' buy as fine a double-rigg As ever Bud can make it: An' nen all three'll drive roun' fer me An' we'll drive off togevver, A-slingin' pie-crust 'long the road Ferever an' ferever!



WHO SANTY-CLAUS WUZ



Jes' a little bit o' feller—I remember still— Ust to almost cry fer Christmas, like a youngster will. Fourth o' July's nothin' to it!—New Year's ain't a smell! Easter-Sunday—Circus-day—jes' all dead in the shell! Lawzy, though! at night, you know, to set around an' hear The old folks work the story off about the sledge an' deer, An' "Santy" skootin' round the roof, all wrapt in fur an' fuzz— Long afore I knowed who "Santy-Claus" wuz!

Ust to wait, an' set up late, a week er two ahead; Couldn't hardly keep awake, ner wouldn't go to bed; Kittle stewin' on the fire, an' Mother settin' here Darnin' socks, an' rockin' in the skreeky rockin'-cheer; Pap gap', an' wonder where it wuz the money went, An' quar'l with his frosted heels, an' spill his liniment; An' me a-dreamin' sleigh-bells when the clock 'ud whir an' buzz, Long afore I knowed who "Santy-Claus" wuz!

Size the fire-place up an' figger how "Ole Santy" could Manage to come down the chimbly, like they said he would; Wisht 'at I could hide an' see him—wunderd what he'd say Ef he ketched a feller layin' fer him thataway! But I bet on him, an' liked him, same as ef he had Turned to pat me on the back an' say, "Look here, my lad, Here's my pack,—jes' he'p yourse'f, like all good boys does!" Long afore I knowed who "Santy-Claus" wuz!



Wisht that yarn was true about him, as it 'peared to be— Truth made out o' lies like that-un's good enough fer me!— Wisht I still wuz so confidin' I could jes' go wild Over hangin' up my stockin's, like the little child Climbin' in my lap to-night, an' beggin' me to tell 'Bout them reindeers, and "Old Santy" that she loves so well I'm half sorry fer this little-girl-sweetheart of his— Long afore She knows who "Santy-Claus" is!



THE NINE LITTLE GOBLINS

They all climbed up on a high board-fence— Nine little Goblins, with green-glass eyes— Nine little Goblins that had no sense, And couldn't tell coppers from cold mince pies; And they all climbed up on the fence, and sat— And I asked them what they were staring at.

And the first one said, as he scratched his head With a queer little arm that reached out of his ear And rasped its claws in his hair so red— "This is what this little arm is fer!" And he scratched and stared, and the next one said, "How on earth do you scratch your head?"

And he laughed like the screech of a rusty hinge— Laughed and laughed till his face grew black; And when he choked, with a final twinge Of his stifling laughter, he thumped his back With a fist that grew on the end of his tail Till the breath came back to his lips so pale.



And the third little Goblin leered round at me— And there were no lids on his eyes at all— And he clucked one eye, and he says, says he, "What is the style of your socks this fall?" And he clapped his heels—and I sighed to see That he had hands where his feet should be.

Then a bald-faced Goblin, gray and grim, Bowed his head, and I saw him slip His eyebrows off, as I looked at him, And paste them over his upper lip; And then he moaned in remorseful pain— "Would—Ah, would I'd me brows again!"

And then the whole of the Goblin band Rocked on the fence-top to and fro, And clung, in a long row, hand in hand, Singing the songs that they used to know— Singing the songs that their grandsires sung In the goo-goo days of the Goblin-tongue.

And ever they kept their green-glass eyes Fixed on me with a stony stare— Till my own grew glazed with a dread surmise, And my hat whooped up on my lifted hair, And I felt the heart in my breast snap to As you've heard the lid of a snuff-box do.

And they sang "You're asleep! There is no board-fence, And never a Goblin with green-glass eyes!— 'Tis only a vision the mind invents After a supper of cold mince-pies,— And you're doomed to dream this way," they said,— "And you sha'n't wake up till you're clean plum dead!"



TIME OF CLEARER TWITTERINGS



I.

Time of crisp and tawny leaves, And of tarnished harvest sheaves, And of dusty grasses—weeds— Thistles, with their tufted seeds Voyaging the Autumn breeze Like as fairy argosies: Time of quicker flash of wings, And of clearer twitterings In the grove, or deeper shade Of the tangled everglade,— Where the spotted water-snake Coils him in the sunniest brake; And the bittern, as in fright, Darts, in sudden, slanting flight, Southward, while the startled crane Films his eyes in dreams again.

II

Down along the dwindled creek We go loitering. We speak Only with old questionings Of the dear remembered things Of the days of long ago, When the stream seemed thus and so In our boyish eyes:—The bank Greener then, through rank on rank Of the mottled sycamores, Touching tops across the shores: Here, the hazel thicket stood— There, the almost pathless wood Where the shellbark hickory tree Rained its wealth on you and me. Autumn! as you loved us then, Take us to your heart again!

III

Season halest of the year! How the zestful atmosphere Nettles blood and brain, and smites Into life the old delights We have tasted in our youth, And our graver years, forsooth! How again the boyish heart Leaps to see the chipmunk start From the brush and sleek the sun Very beauty, as he runs! How again a subtle hint Of crushed pennyroyal or mint, Sends us on our knees, as when We were truant boys of ten— Brown marauders of the wood, Merrier than Robin Hood!



IV

Ah! will any minstrel say, In his sweetest roundelay, What is sweeter, after all, Than black haws, in early Fall— Fruit so sweet the frost first sat, Dainty-toothed, and nibbled at! And will any poet sing Of a lusher, richer thing Than a ripe May-apple, rolled Like a pulpy lump of gold Under thumb and finger-tips, And poured molten through the lips? Go, ye bards of classic themes, Pipe your songs by classic streams! I would twang the redbird's wings In the thicket while he sings!



THE CIRCUS-DAY PARADE

Oh, the Circus-Day parade! How the bugles played and played! And how the glossy horses tossed their flossy manes, and neighed, As the rattle and the rhyme of the tenor-drummer's time Filled all the hungry hearts of us with melody sublime!

How the grand band-wagon shone with a splendor all its own, And glittered with a glory that our dreams had never known! And how the boys behind, high and low of every kind, Marched in unconscious capture, with a rapture undefined!

How the horsemen, two and two, with their plumes of white and blue, And crimson, gold and purple, nodding by at me and you. Waved the banners that they bore, as the Knights in days of yore, Till our glad eyes gleamed and glistened like the spangles that they wore!



How the graceless-graceful stride of the elephant was eyed, And the capers of the little horse that cantered at his side! How the shambling camels, tame to the plaudits of their fame, With listless eyes came silent, masticating as they came.



How the cages jolted past, with each wagon battened fast, And the mystery within it only hinted of at last From the little grated square in the rear, and nosing there The snout of some strange animal that sniffed the outer air!

And, last of all, The Clown, making mirth for all the town, With his lips curved ever upward and his eyebrows ever down, And his chief attention paid to the little mule that played A tattoo on the dashboard with his heels, in the parade.

Oh! the Circus-Day parade! How the bugles played and played! And how the glossy horses tossed their flossy manes and neighed. As the rattle and the rhyme of the tenor-drummer's time Filled all the hungry hearts of us with melody sublime!



THE LUGUBRIOUS WHING-WHANG



The rhyme o' The Raggedy Man's 'at's best Is Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs,— 'Cause that-un's the strangest of all o' the rest, An' the worst to learn, an' the last one guessed, An' the funniest one, an' the foolishest.— Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

I don't know what in the world it means— Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!— An' nen when I tell him I don't, he leans Like he was a-grindin' on some machines An' says: Ef I don't, w'y, I don't know beans! Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!—

Out on the margin of Moonshine Land, Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs! Out where the Whing-Whang loves to stand, Writing his name with his tail in the sand, And swiping it out with his oogerish hand; Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

Is it the gibber of Gungs or Keeks? Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs! Or what is the sound that the Whing-Whang seeks?— Crouching low by the winding creeks And holding his breath for weeks and weeks! Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

Aroint him the wraithest of wraithly things! Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs! 'Tis a fair Whing-Whangess, with phosphor rings And bridal-jewels of fangs and stings; And she sits and as sadly and softly sings As the mildewed whir of her own dead wings,— Tickle me, Dear, Tickle me here, Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!



WAITIN' FER THE CAT TO DIE



Lawzy! don't I rickollect That-'air old swing in the lane! Right and proper, I expect, Old times can't come back again; But I want to state, ef they Could come back, and I could say What my pick 'ud be, i jing! I'd say, Gimme the old swing 'Nunder the old locus'-trees On the old place, ef you please!— Danglin' there with half-shet eye, Waitin' fer the cat to die!

I'd say, Gimme the old gang Of barefooted, hungry, lean, Ornry boys you want to hang When you're growed up twic't as mean! The old gyarden-patch, the old Truants, and the stuff we stol'd! The old stompin'-groun', where we Wore the grass off, wild and free As the swoop of the old swing, Where we ust to climb and cling, And twist roun', and fight, and lie— Waitin' fer the cat to die!

'Pears like I 'most allus could Swing the highest of the crowd— Jes sail up there tel I stood Downside-up, and screech out loud,— Ketch my breath, and jes drap back Fer to let the old swing slack, Yit my tow-head dippin' still In the green boughs, and the chill Up my backbone taperin' down, With my shadder on the ground' Slow and slower trailin' by— Waitin' fer the cat to die!



Now my daughter's little Jane's Got a kind o' baby-swing On the porch, so's when it rains She kin play there—little thing! And I'd limped out t'other day With my old cheer this-a-way, Swingin' her and rockin' too, Thinkin' how I ust to do At her age, when suddently, "Hey, Gran'pap!" she says to me, "Why you rock so slow?" ... Says I, "Waitin' fer the cat to die!"



NAUGHTY CLAUDE



When Little Claude was naughty wunst At dinner-time, an' said He won't say "Thank you" to his Ma, She maked him go to bed An' stay two hours an' not git up,— So when the clock struck Two, Nen Claude says,—"Thank you, Mr. Clock, I'm much obleeged to you!"



THE SOUTH WIND AND THE SUN



O the South Wind and the Sun How each loved the other one— Full of fancy—full of folly— Full of jollity and fun! How they romped and ran about, Like two boys when school is out, With glowing face, and lisping lip, Low laugh, and lifted shout!

And the South Wind—he was dressed With a ribbon round his breast That floated, flapped and fluttered In a riotous unrest; And a drapery of mist, From the shoulder and the wrist Flowing backward with the motion Of the waving hand he kissed.

And the Sun had on a crown Wrought of gilded thistledown, And a scarf of velvet vapor, And a raveled-rainbow gown; And his tinsel-tangled hair, Tossed and lost upon the air, With glossier and flossier Than any anywhere.

And the South Wind's eyes were two Little dancing drops of dew, As he puffed his cheeks, and pursed his lips, And blew and blew and blew! And the Sun's—like diamond-stone, Brighter yet than ever known, As he knit his brows and held his breath, And shone and shone and shone!

And this pair of merry fays Wandered through the summer days; Arm-in-arm they went together Over heights of morning haze— Over slanting slopes of lawn They went on and on and on, Where the daisies looked like star-tracks Trailing up and down the dawn.

And where'er they found the top Of a wheat-stalk droop and lop, They chucked it underneath the chin And praised the lavish crop, Till it lifted with the pride Of the heads it grew beside, And then the South Wind and the Sun Went onward satisfied.

Over meadow-lands they tripped, Where the dandelions dipped In crimson foam of clover bloom And dripped and dripped and dripped! And they clinched the bumble-stings, Gauming honey on their wings, And bundling them in lily-bells, With maudlin murmurings.

And the humming-bird, that hung Like a jewel up among The tilted honeysuckle horns, They mesmerized and swung In the palpitating air, Drowsed with odors strange and rare, And, with whispered laughter, slipped away, And left him hanging there.

And they braided blades of grass Where the truant had to pass; And they wriggled through the rushes And the reeds of the morass, Where they danced, in rapture sweet, O'er the leaves that laid a street Of undulant mosaic for The touches of their feet.

By the brook with mossy brink, Where the cattle came to drink, They trilled and piped and whistled With the thrush and bobolink, Till the kine, in listless pause, Switched their tails in mute applause, With lifted heads, and dreamy eyes, And bubble-dripping jaws.

And where the melons grew, Streaked with yellow, green and blue, These jolly sprites went wandering Through spangled paths of dew; And the melons, here and there, They made love to, everywhere, Turning their pink souls to crimson With caresses fond and fair.



Over orchard walls they went, Where the fruited boughs were bent Till they brushed the sward beneath them Where the shine and shadow blent; And the great green pear they shook Till the sallow hue forsook Its features, and the gleam of gold Laughed out in every look.

And they stroked the downy cheek Of the peach, and smoothed it sleek, And flushed it into splendor; And, with many an elfish freak, Gave the russet's rust a wipe— Prankt the rambo with a stripe, And the winesap blushed its reddest As they spanked the pippins ripe.

Through the woven ambuscade That the twining vines had made, They found the grapes, in clusters, Drinking up the shine and shade— Plumpt, like tiny skins of wine, With a vintage so divine That the tongue of Fancy tingled With the tang of muscadine.

And the golden-banded bees, Droning o'er the flowery leas, They bridled, reined, and rode away Across the fragrant breeze, Till in hollow oak and elm They had groomed and stabled them In waxen stalls that oozed with dews Of rose and lily-stem.

Where the dusty highway leads, High above the wayside weeds, They sowed the air with butterflies Like blooming flower-seeds, Till the dull grasshopper sprung Half a man's-height up, and hung Tranced in the heat, with whirring wings, And sung and sung and sung!

And they loitered, hand in hand, Where the snipe along the sand Of the river ran to meet them As the ripple meets the land, Till the dragonfly, in light Gauzy armor, burnished bright, Came tilting down the waters In a wild, bewildered flight.

And they heard the kildee's call, And afar, the waterfall, But the rustle of a falling leaf They heard above it all; And the trailing willow crept Deeper in the tide that swept The leafy shallop to the shore, And wept and wept and wept!

And the fairy vessel veered From its moorings—tacked and steered For the center of the current— Sailed away and disappeared: And the burthen that it bore From the long-enchanted shore— "Alas! the South Wind and the Sun!" I murmur evermore.

For the South Wind and the Sun, Each so loves the other one, For all his jolly folly, And frivolity and fun, That our love for them they weigh As their fickle fancies may, And when at last we love them most, They laugh and sail away.



THE JOLLY MILLER



[Restored Romaunt.]

It was a Jolly Miller lived on the River Dee; He looked upon his piller, and there he found a flea: "O Mr. Flea! you have bit' me, And you shall shorely die!" So he scrunched his bones against the stones— And there he let him lie!

Twas then the Jolly Miller he laughed and told his wife, And she laughed fit to kill her, and dropped her carvin'-knife!— "O Mr. Flea!" "Ho-ho!" "Tee-hee!" They both laughed fit to kill, Until the sound did almost drownd The rumble of the mill!

"Laugh on, my Jolly Miller! and Missus Miller, too!— But there's a weeping-willer will soon wave over you!" The voice was all so awful small— So very small and slim!— He durst' infer that it was her, Ner her infer 'twas him!



That night the Jolly Miller, says he, "It's Wifey dear, That cat o' yourn, I'd kill her!—her actions is so queer,— She rubbin' 'ginst the grindstone-legs, And yowlin' at the sky— And I 'low the moon haint greener Than the yaller of her eye!"

And as the Jolly Miller went chuckle-un to bed, Was Somepin jerked his piller from underneath his head! "O Wife," says he, on-easi-lee, "Fetch here that lantern there!" But Somepin moans in thunder tones, "You tetch it ef you dare!"

'Twas then the Jolly Miller he trimbled and he quailed— And his wife choked until her breath come back, 'n' she wailed! And "O!" cried she, "it is the Flea, All white and pale and wann— He's got you in his clutches, and He's bigger than a man!"

"Ho! ho! my Jolly Miller," (fer 'twas the Flea, fer shore!) "I reckon you'll not rack my bones ner scrunch 'em any more!" And then the Ghost he grabbed him clos't, With many a ghastly smile, And from the doorstep stooped and hopped About four hundred mile!



OUR HIRED GIRL

Our hired girl, she's 'Lizabuth Ann; An' she can cook best things to eat! She ist puts dough in our pie-pan, An' pours in somepin' 'at's good and sweet, An' nen she salts it all on top With cinnamon; an' nen she'll stop An' stoop an' slide it, ist as slow, In th' old cook-stove, so's 'twon't slop An' git all spilled; nen bakes it, so It's custard pie, first thing you know! An' nen she'll say: "Clear out o' my way! They's time fer work, an' time fer play!— Take yer dough, an' run, Child; run! Er I cain't git no cookin' done!"

When our hired girl 'tends like she's mad, An' says folks got to walk the chalk When she's around, er wisht they had, I play out on our porch an' talk To th' Raggedy Man 'at mows our lawn; An' he says "Whew!" an' nen leans on His old crook-scythe, and blinks his eyes An' sniffs all around an' says,—"I swawn! Ef my old nose don't tell me lies, It 'pears like I smell custard-pies!" An' nen he'll say,— "'Clear out' o' my way! They's time fer work an' time fer play! Take yer dough, an' run, Child; run! Er she cain't git no cookin' done!'"



Wunst our hired girl, one time when she Got the supper, an' we all et, An' it was night, an' Ma an' me An' Pa went wher' the "Social" met,— An' nen when we come home, an' see A light in the kitchen-door, an' we Heerd a maccordeum, Pa says "Lan'— O'Gracious! who can her beau be?" An' I marched in, an' 'Lizabuth Ann Wuz parchin' corn fer the Raggedy Man! Better say "Clear out o' the way! They's time fer work, an' time fer play! Take the hint, an' run, Child; run! Er we cain't git no courtin' done!'"



THE BOYS' CANDIDATE



Las' time 'at Uncle Sidney come, He bringed a watermelon home— An' half the boys in town, Come taggin' after him.—An' he Says, when we et it,—"Gracious me! 'S the boy-house fell down?"



THE PET COON



Noey Bixler ketched him, and fetched him in to me When he's ist a little teenty-weenty baby-coon 'Bout as big as little pups, an' tied him to a tree; An' Pa gived Noey fifty cents, when he come home at noon. Nen he buyed a chain fer him, an' little collar, too, An' sawed a hole in a' old tub an' turnt it upside-down; An' little feller'd stay in there and won't come out fer you— 'Tendin' like he's kindo' skeered o' boys 'at lives in town.

Now he aint afeard a bit! he's ist so fat an' tame, We on'y chain him up at night, to save the little chicks. Holler "Greedy! Greedy!" to him, an' he knows his name, An' here he'll come a-waddle-un, up fer any tricks! He'll climb up my leg, he will, an' waller in my lap, An' poke his little black paws 'way in my pockets where They's beechnuts, er chinkypins, er any little scrap Of anything, 'at's good to eat—an' he don't care!

An' he's as spunky as you please, an' don't like dogs at all.— Billy Miller's black-an'-tan tackled him one day, An' "Greedy" he ist kindo' doubled all up like a ball, An' Billy's dog he gived a yelp er two an' runned away! An' nen when Billy fighted me, an' hit me with a bone, An' Ma she purt'nigh ketched him as he dodged an' skooted thro' The fence, she says, "You better let my little boy alone, Er 'Greedy,' next he whips yer dog, shall whip you, too!"



THE OLD HAY-MOW



The Old Hay-mow's the place to play Fer boys, when it's a rainy day! I good-'eal ruther be up there Than down in town, er anywhere!

When I play in our stable-loft, The good old hay's so dry an' soft, An' feels so fine, an' smells so sweet, I 'most ferget to go an' eat.



An' one time wunst I did ferget To go 'tel dinner was all et,— An' they had short-cake—an'—Bud he Hogged up the piece Ma saved fer me!

Nen I won't let him play no more In our hay-mow where I keep store An' got hen-eggs to sell,—an' shoo The cackle-un old hen out, too!

An' nen, when Aunty she was here A-visitun from Rensselaer, An' bringed my little cousin,—he Can come up there an' play with me.

But, after while—when Bud he bets 'At I can't turn no summersetts,— I let him come up, ef he can Ac' ha'f-way like a gentleman!



ON THE SUNNY SIDE



Hi and whoop-hooray, boys! Sing a song of cheer! Here's a holiday, boys, Lasting half a year! Round the world, and half is Shadow we have tried; Now we're where the laugh is,— On the sunny side!

Pigeons coo and mutter, Strutting high aloof Where the sunbeans flutter Through the stable roof. Hear the chickens cheep, boys, And the hen with pride Clucking them to sleep, boys, On the sunny side!



Hear the clacking guinea; Hear the cattle moo; Hear the horses whinny, Looking out at you! On the hitching-block, boys, Grandly satisfied, See the old peacock, boys, On the sunny side!

Robins in the peach-tree; Bluebirds in the pear; Blossoms over each tree In the orchard there! All the world's in joy, boys, Glad and glorified As a romping boy, boys, On the sunny side!

Where's a heart as mellow? Where's a soul as free? Where is any fellow We would rather be? Just ourselves or none, boys, World around and wide, Laughing in the sun, boys, On the sunny side!



A SUDDEN SHOWER



Barefooted boys scud up the street Or skurry under sheltering sheds; And schoolgirl faces, pale and sweet, Gleam from the shawls about their heads.

Doors bang; and mother-voices call From alien homes; and rusty gates Are slammed; and high above it all, The thunder grim reverberates.

And then, abrupt,—the rain! the rain!— The earth lies gasping; and the eyes Behind the streaming window-pane Smile at the trouble of the skies.



The highway smokes; sharp echoes ring; The cattle bawl and cowbells clank; And into town comes galloping The farmer's horse, with streaming flank.

The swallow dips beneath the eaves, And flirts his plumes and folds his wings; And under the catawba leaves The caterpillar curls and clings.

The bumble-bee is pelted down The wet stem of the hollyhock; And sullenly, in spattered brown, The cricket leaps the garden walk.

Within, the baby claps his hands And crows with rapture strange and vague; Without, beneath the rosebush stands A dripping rooster on one leg.



GRANDFATHER SQUEERS



"My grandfather Squeers," said The Raggedy Man, As he solemnly lighted his pipe and began—

"The most indestructible man, for his years, And the grandest on earth, was my grandfather Squeers!

"He said, when he rounded his three-score-and-ten, 'I've the hang of it now and can do it again!'

"He had frozen his heels so repeatedly, he Could tell by them just what the weather would be;

"And would laugh and declare, 'while the Almanac would Most falsely prognosticate, he never could!'

"Such a hale constitution had grandfather Squeers That, 'though he'd used 'navy' for sixty odd years,

"He still chewed a dime's-worth six days of the week, While the seventh he passed with a chew in each cheek:

"Then my grandfather Squeers had a singular knack Of sitting around on the small of his back,

"With his legs like a letter Y stretched o'er the grate Wherein 'twas his custom to ex-pec-tor-ate.

"He was fond of tobacco in manifold ways, And would sit on the door-step, of sunshiny days,

"And smoke leaf-tobacco he'd raised strictly for The pipe he'd used all through The Mexican War."

And The Raggedy Man said, refilling the bowl Of his own pipe and leisurely picking a coal

From the stove with his finger and thumb, "You can see What a tee-nacious habit he's fastened on me!

"And my grandfather Squeers took a special delight In pruning his corns every Saturday night

"With a horn-handled razor, whose edge he excused By saying 'twas one that his grandfather used;

"And, though deeply etched in the haft of the same Was the ever-euphonious Wostenholm's name,

"'Twas my grandfather's custom to boast of the blade As 'A Seth Thomas razor—the best ever made!'

"No Old Settlers' Meeting, or Pioneers' Fair, Was complete without grandfather Squeers in the chair

"To lead off the programme by telling folks how 'He used to shoot deer where the Court-House stands now'—



"How 'he felt, of a truth, to live over the past, When the country was wild and unbroken and vast,

"'That the little log cabin was just plenty fine For himself, his companion, and fambly of nine!—

"'When they didn't have even a pump, or a tin, But drunk surface-water, year out and year in,

"'From the old-fashioned gourd that was sweeter, by odds, Than the goblets of gold at the lips of the gods!'"

Then The Raggedy Man paused to plaintively say It was clockin' along to'rds the close of the day—

And he'd ought to get back to his work on the lawn,— Then dreamily blubbered his pipe and went on:

"His teeth were imperfect—my grandfather owned That he couldn't eat oysters unless they were 'boned';

"And his eyes were so weak, and so feeble of sight, He couldn't sleep with them unless, every night,

"He put on his spectacles—all he possessed,— Three pairs—with his goggles on top of the rest.

"And my grandfather always, retiring at night, Blew down the lamp-chimney to put out the light;

"Then he'd curl up on edge like a shaving, in bed, And puff and smoke pipes in his sleep, it is said:

"And would snore oftentimes as the legends relate, Till his folks were wrought up to a terrible state,—

"Then he'd snort, and rear up, and roll over; and there, In the subsequent hush they could hear him chew air.

"And so glaringly bald was the top of his head That many's the time he has musingly said,

"As his eyes journeyed o'er its reflex in the glass,— 'I must set out a few signs of Keep Off the Grass!'

"So remarkably deaf was my grandfather Squeers That he had to wear lightning-rods over his ears

"To even hear thunder—and oftentimes then He was forced to request it to thunder again."



THE PIXY PEOPLE



It was just a very Merry fairy dream!— All the woods were airy With the gloom and gleam; Crickets in the clover Clattered clear and strong, And the bees droned over Their old honey-song.

In the mossy passes, Saucy grasshoppers Leapt about the grasses And the thistle-burs; And the whispered chuckle Of the katydid Shook the honeysuckle Blossoms where he hid.

Through the breezy mazes Of the lazy June, Drowsy with the hazes Of the dreamy noon, Little Pixy people Winged above the walk, Pouring from the steeple Of a mullein-stalk.

One—a gallant fellow— Evidently King,— Wore a plume of yellow In a jewelled ring On a pansy bonnet, Gold and white and blue, With the dew still on it, And the fragrance, too.

One—a dainty lady,— Evidently Queen,— Wore a gown of shady Moonshine and green, With a lace of gleaming Starlight that sent All the dewdrops dreaming Everywhere she went.



One wore a waistcoat Of roseleaves, out and in, And one wore a faced-coat Of tiger-lily-skin; And one wore a neat coat Of palest galingale; And one a tiny street-coat, And one a swallow-tail.

And Ho! sang the King of them, And Hey! sang the Queen; And round and round the ring of them Went dancing o'er the green; And Hey! sang the Queen of them, And Ho! sang the King— And all that I had seen of them —Wasn't anything!

It was just a very Merry fairy dream!— All the woods were airy With the gloom and gleam; Crickets in the clover Clattered clear and strong, And the bees droned over Their old honey-song!



A LIFE-LESSON



There! little girl; don't cry! They have broken your doll, I know; And your tea-set blue, And your play-house, too, Are things of the long ago; But childish troubles will soon pass by.— There! little girl; don't cry!

There! little girl; don't cry! They have broken your slate, I know; And the glad, wild ways Of your school-girl days Are things of the long ago; But life and love will soon come by.— There! little girl; don't cry!

There! little girl; don't cry! They have broken your heart, I know; And the rainbow gleams Of your youthful dreams Are things of the long ago; But Heaven holds all for which you sigh.— There! little girl; don't cry!



A HOME-MADE FAIRY-TALE



Bud, come here to your Uncle a spell, And I'll tell you something you mustn't tell— For it's a secret and shore-nuff true, And maybe I oughtn't to tell it to you!— But out in the garden, under the shade Of the apple-trees where we romped and played Till the moon was up, and you thought I'd gone Fast asleep.—That was all put on! For I was a-watchin' something queer Goin' on there in the grass, my dear! 'Way down deep in it, there I see A little dude-Fairy who winked at me, And snapped his fingers, and laughed as low And fine as the whine of a mus-kee-to! I kept still—watchin' him closer—and I noticed a little guitar in his hand, Which he leant 'ginst a little dead bee—and laid His cigarette down on a clean grass-blade; And then climbed up on the shell of a snail— Carefully dusting his swallowtail— And pulling up, by a waxed web-thread, This little guitar, you remember, I said! And there he trinkled and trilled a tune— "My Love, so Fair, Tans in the Moon!" Till presently, out of the clover-top He seemed to be singing to, came k'pop! The purtiest, daintiest Fairy face In all this world, or any place! Then the little ser'nader waved his hand, As much as to say, "We'll excuse you!" and I heard, as I squinted my eyelids to, A kiss like the drip of a drop of dew!



THE BEAR STORY

THAT ALEX "IST MAKED UP HIS-OWN-SE'F"

W'y, wunst they wuz a Little Boy went out In the woods to shoot a Bear. So, he went out 'Way in the grea'-big woods—he did.—An' he Wuz goin' along—an' goin' along, you know, An' purty soon he heerd somepin' go "Wooh!"— Ist thataway—"Woo-ooh!" An' he wuz skeered, He wuz. An' so he runned an' clumbed a tree— A grea'-big tree, he did,—a sicka-more tree. An' nen he heerd it ag'in: an' he looked round, An' 't'uz a Bear!—a grea'-big shore-nuff Bear!— No: 't'uz two Bears, it wuz—two grea'-big Bears— One of 'em wuz—ist one's a grea'-big Bear.— But they ist boff went "Wooh!"—An' here they come To climb the tree an' git the Little Boy An' eat him up!

An' nen the Little Boy He 'uz skeered worse'n ever! An' here come The grea'-big Bear a-climbin' th' tree to git The Little Boy an' eat him up—Oh, no!— It 'uzn't the Big Bear 'at clumb the tree— It 'uz the Little Bear. So here he come Climbin' the tree—an' climbin' the tree! Nen when He git wite clos't to the Little Boy, w'y nen The Little Boy he ist pulled up his gun An' shot the Bear, he did, an' killed him dead! An' nen the Bear he falled clean on down out The tree—away clean to the ground, he did— Spling-splung! he falled plum down, an' killed him, too! An' lit wite side o' where the Big Bear's at.

An' nen the Big Bear's awful mad, you bet!— 'Cause—'cause the Little Boy he shot his gun An' killed the Little Bear.—'Cause the Big Bear He—he 'uz the Little Bear's Papa.—An' so here He come to climb the big old tree an' git The Little Boy an' eat him up! An' when The Little Boy he saw the grea'-big Bear A-comin', he uz badder skeered, he wuz, Than any time! An' so he think he'll climb Up higher—'way up higher in the tree Than the old Bear kin climb, you know.—But he— He can't climb higher 'an old Bears kin climb,— 'Cause Bears kin climb up higher in the trees Than any little Boys in all the Wo-r-r-ld!

An' so here come the grea'-big-Bear, he did,— A-climbin' up—an' up the tree, to git The Little Boy an' eat him up! An' so The Little Boy he clumbed on higher, an' higher, An' higher up the tree—an' higher—an' higher— An' higher'n iss-here house is!—An' here come Th' old Bear—clos'ter to him all the time!— An' nen—first thing you know,—when th' old Big Bear Wuz wite clos't to him—nen the Little Boy Ist jabbed his gun wite in the old Bear's mouf An' shot an' killed him dead!—No; I fergot,— He didn't shoot the grea'-big Bear at all— 'Cause they 'uz no load in the gun, you know— 'Cause when he shot the Little Bear, w'y, nen No load 'uz anymore nen in the gun!

But th' Little Boy clumbed higher up, he did— He clumbed lots higher—an' on up higher—an' higher An' higher—tel he ist can't climb no higher, 'Cause nen the limbs 'uz all so little, 'way Up in the teeny-weeny tip-top of The tree, they'd break down wiv him ef he don't Be keerful! So he stop an' think: An' nen He look around—An' here come th' old Bear!

An' so the Little Boy make up his mind He's got to ist git out o' there some way!— 'Cause here come the old Bear!—so clos't, his bref's Purt 'nigh so's he kin feel how hot it is Ag'inst his bare feet—ist like old "Ring's" bref When he's ben out a-huntin' an's all tired. So when th' old Bear's so clos't—the Little Boy Ist gives a grea'-big jump fer 'nother tree— No!—no he don't do that!—I tell you what The Little Boy does:—W'y, nen—w'y, he—Oh, yes— The Little Boy he finds a hole up there 'At's in the tree—an' climbs in there an' hides— An' nen th' old Bear can't find the Little Boy At all!—But, purty soon th' old Bear finds The Little Boy's gun 'at's up there—'cause the gun It's too tall to tooked wiv him in the hole. So, when the old Bear fin' the gun, he knows The Little Boy's ist hid 'round somers there,— An' th' old Bear 'gins to snuff an' sniff around, An' sniff an' snuff around—so's he kin find Out where the Little Boy's hid at.—An' nen—nen— Oh, yes!—W'y, purty soon the old Bear climbs 'Way out on a big limb—a grea'-long limb,— An' nen the Little Boy climbs out the hole An' takes his ax an' chops the limb off!... Nen The old Bear falls k-splunge! clean to the ground An' bust an' kill hisse'f plum dead, he did!

An' nen the Little Boy he git his gun An' 'menced a-climbin' down the tree ag'in— No!—no, he didn't git his gun—'cause when The Bear falled, nen the gun falled, too—An' broked It all to pieces, too!—An' nicest gun!— His Pa ist buyed it!—An' the Little Boy Ist cried, he did; an' went on climbin' down The tree—an' climbin' down—an' climbin' down!— An'-sir! when he 'uz purt'-nigh down,—w'y, nen The old Bear he jumped up ag'in—an' he Ain't dead at all—ist 'tendin' thataway, So he kin git the Little Boy an' eat Him up! But the Little Boy he 'uz too smart To climb clean down the tree.—An' the old Bear He can't climb up the tree no more—'cause when He fell, he broke one of his—he broke all His legs!—an' nen he couldn't climb! But he Ist won't go'way an' let the Little Boy Come down out of the tree. An' the old Bear Ist growls 'round there, he does—ist growls an' goes "Wooh!—woo-ooh!" all the time! An' Little Boy He haf to stay up in the tree—all night— An' 'thout no supper neether!—On'y they Wuz apples on the tree!—An' Little Boy Et apples—ist all night—an' cried—an' cried! Nen when 'tuz morning th' old Bear went "Wooh!" Ag'in, an' try to climb up in the tree An' git the Little Boy.—But he can't Climb t'save his soul, he can't!—An' oh! he's mad!— He ist tear up the ground! an' go "Woo-ooh!" An'—Oh, yes!—purty soon, when morning's come All light—so's you kin see, you know,—w'y, nen The old Bear finds the Little Boy's gun, you know, 'At's on the ground.—(An' it ain't broke at all— I ist said that!) An' so the old Bear think He'll take the gun an' shoot the Little Boy:— But Bears they don't know much 'bout shootin' guns; So when he go to shoot the Little Boy, The old Bear got the other end the gun Ag'in' his shoulder, 'stid o' th' other end— So when he try to shoot the Little Boy, It shot the Bear, it did—an' killed him dead! An' nen the Little Boy clumb down the tree An' chopped his old woolly head off:—Yes, an' killed The other Bear ag'in, he did—an' killed All boff the bears, he did—an' tuk 'em home An' cooked 'em, too, an' et 'em! —An' that's all.



ENVOY

Many pleasures of youth have been buoyantly sung— And, borne on the winds of delight, may they beat With their palpitant wings at the hearts of the Young, And in bosoms of Age find as warm a retreat!— Yet sweetest of all of the musical throng, Though least of the numbers that upward aspire, Is the one rising now into wavering song, As I sit in the silence and gaze in the fire.

'Tis a Winter long dead that beleaguers my door And muffles his steps in the snows of the past: And I see, in the embers I'm dreaming before, Lost faces of love as they looked on me last:— The round, laughing eyes of the desk-mate of old Gleam out for a moment with truant desire— Then fade and are lost in a City of Gold, As I sit in the silence and gaze in the fire.

And then comes the face, peering back in my own, Of a shy little girl, with her lids drooping low, As she faltering tells, in a far-away tone, The ghost of a story of long, long ago.— Then her dewy blue eyes they are lifted again; But I see their glad light slowly fail and expire, As I reach and cry to her in vain, all in vain!— As I sit in the silence and gaze in the fire.

Then the face of a Mother looks back, through the mist Of tears that are welling; and, lucent with light, I see the dear smile of the lips I have kissed As she knelt by my cradle at morning and night; And my arms are outheld, with a yearning too wild For any but God in His love to inspire, As she pleads at the foot of His throne for her child,— As I sit in the silence and gaze in the fire.

O pathos of rapture! O glorious pain! My heart is a blossom of joy over-run With a shower of tears, as a lily with rain That weeps in the shadow and laughs in the sun. The blight of the frost may descend on the tree, And the leaf and the flower may fall and expire, But ever and ever love blossoms for me, As I sit in the silence and gaze in the fire.

THE END

Home - Random Browse