By The Candelabra's Glare.

Some Verse By

L. Frank Baum.

CHICAGO

Privately Printed by L. Frank Baum in his own Workshop

1898

INDIANAPOLIS

Privately Typed by Scott Andrew Hutchins in his own Study

2000

 

There have been made but ninety-nine copies of this book, and of them this is Number

 

I am under obligations to Mr. A.H. Dwight, of the Dwight Brothers Paper Company, for the Paper on which these pages are printed, to Mr. Chauncey L. Williams for the end papers; to Mr. H.C. Maley, of the Illinois engraving company, for the zinc etchings; to Mr. Will A. Grant of Marsh and Grant, for the inks and sundry favors, and to Mr. George R. Smith, of The American Type Founding Company, for the types and press.

FOREWORD

    A friend of mine, who has attained eminence as a critic, once found me glancing through a book of verse.

    "What are you looking for?" he demanded.

    "His excuse," said I.

    "My dear boy," returned the eminent critic, frowning severely, "there can be no excuse for a book of verse."

    "Not if it chances to be poetry?" I asked.

    "Ah, said my friend, lightly, "that is another matter."

 

    My best friends have never called me a poet, and I have been forced to admire their restraint.  Nevertheless, this little book has an excuse.  Unaided, I have set the types and turned the press and accomplished the binding.  Such as it is, the book is "my very own."

    Another peculiar thing about this volume, which, I believe, renders it unique, is the fact that there has not been a penny of expense attending its production.  For my good friends, when they found I was going to make a book, insisted upon furnishing all the pictures and material, and I have generously allowed them to do so.

    I have done my work in the evenings, when my business cares were over.  It has been my recreation.

 

LIST OF TITLES 

Semi-Sentimental Verse:

    By the Candelabra's Glare                                                                              Page  9

    T'other Day                                                                                                          10

    Right at Last                                                                                                        12

    Time's Vagaries                                                                                                     13

    Her Answer                                                                                                         14

    My Quandary                                                                                                        15

    My First Love                                                                                                      16

    The Green-Eyed Monster                                                                                        17

    Jessie, My Queen                                                                                                  19

    A Sonnet to My Lady's Eye                                                                                    20

    Tell Me                                                                                                               21

    At Last                                                                                                               22

Cycling Verse:

    A Header                                                                                                            26

    A Ruse                                                                                                               27

    Farmer Benson on the Motocycle                                                                             29

    The Proud Miss MacNeal                                                                                        32

    Then and Now                                                                                                     33

Unassorted verse:

     Johnson                                                                                                            37

     La Reine Est Mort--Vive la Reine!                                                                          39

 

A further list of titles:

    Ye Warming Pan                                                                                                 40

    The Egotist                                                                                                         41

    The Youngster                                                                                                     42

    Nance Adkins                                                                                                      43

    A Bird Dog                                                                                                         47

    When the Whistle Blows                                                                                       48

    The Heretic                                                                                                        49

    A Rare Bit                                                                                                         52

    The Fisher Man                                                                                                  53

    When McGuffy Hits the Growler                                                                            55

    Two Women                                                                                                       56

    Homo Sum                                                                                                         60

    That New Leaf                                                                                                   61

Children's Verse:

    Dan'l                                                                                                               65

    The Tramp                                                                                                        66

    The Big Black Bear                                                                                            67

    A Romance of a Broken Window                                                                           68

    My Little Maid                                                                                                  69

    Where Do They Go?                                                                                            70

    The Greedy Gold-fish                                                                                         71

    Who's Afraid?                                                                                                 74

    Young America                                                                                                  75

 

LIST OF PICTURES

    By Mr. N. Guy Chillberg:

"'Come, come, Bill," says I                                                                        facing page 44

    By Mr. C.J. Costello:

The cover design

"Once there came to our town a big black bear"                                                             67

    By Mr. W.W. Denslow:

"And Bessie holds him in her arms"                                                                          15

"Very soon this fish felt an awful pain inside"                                                            73

    By Mr. Frank Hasenplug:

"When McGuffey hits the growler"                                                                           55

    By Mr. Thomas M. Pierce:

Insult to the author         (top of this page)

"Softly clasped are dainty fingers"                                                               Frontispiece

A romance of a broken window                                                                               68

 

More Pictures

    By Miss Gwynne C. Pierce:

"When in accents low and broken"                                                                         21

    By Mr. R.F. Seymour:

"Jessie, my Queen"                                                                                              19

"Shout hurrah for the woman new"                                                                        39

"For dear are the frolics of youth to me"                                                                 42

"Lay dyin' in his shanty"                                                                                    50

    By Mr. Charles M. Tuttle:

"Polly will not speak to me"                                                                                  12

"I am reading your letter tonight"                                                                           22

"It seems a shame"                                                                                              58

 

    I know a man whose battles with the world have never impaired his cheery disposition, his faith in humanity, his generous optimism.  Although essentially a man of business, he joys in living, and those who meet him drop from their shoulders the mantle and care of perplexity and live while in his presence.  With full appreciation of my privilege to call him friend, I dedicate this modest volume to Harrison H. Roundtree, of Chicago.

 

SEMI-SENTIMENTAL VERSE

 

By the Candelabra's Glare

OFT at night, while on my bed--
Tossing here and turning there--
Vagrant thoughts crowd in my head,
Lingering, till in despair
I arise, and to my desk
Draw my well-worn easy chair
And transfer the thoughts to words
By the candelabra's glare.

Vain imaginings, no doubt,
Meaning little, rhyming fair;
And when they are written down
And upon me coldly stare
In their new-born black and white,
I am tempted to declare
Never more I'll scribble verse
By the candelabra's glare.

 

    (Honestly, I never owned a candelabrum.  And I believe they seldom glare unless highly polished.  But my good friend, Mr. Costello, considered the title of this book a good one and straightway designed me a cover and made the plates.  So I wrote the verses to give the cover countenance, and substituting prosaic gas-light for the candelabra, the matter is true enough.)

 

 

T' other Day

SUSIE tripped across the green
          T' other day;
Sweeter maiden ne'er was seen,
          I must say.
Golden locks a bonnet covered,
On her cheeks the dimples hovered,
Pearly teeth her smile discovered
          T' other day.

I was passing 'long and fell
          In her way,
And thought it might be well
          To delay
While in words that stuck and stumbled
All my bashful love I mumbled
And my heart before her humbled,
          T' other day.

Susie's cheeks flushed like the rose
          Straight away;
Seemed as if those blushes chose
          To betray
She was not indifferent;
So I pleaded with intent
Till I won her shy consent--
          T' other day.

What!  Did I say this took place
          T' other day?
Surely old time runs apace--
         'T is his way!
Though my grandson now is lying
On my knees to prove Time's flying,
It still seems, there's no denying,
          T' other day.

 

Right at Last

                         I
POLLY will not speak to me--
Very angry seems to be!
All because, while coming 'long
From the meet for evening song
I have asked her for a kiss--
Just to seal our evening's bliss.

                         II
Polly will not look at me--
Turns her back coquettishly;
Frowns demurely, tries to weep:
Is her anger then so deep?
Does she wish to punish me
For my rash temerity?

                         III
Polly will not hark to me--
Nor to my apology;
'Til I, unable to resist,
Catch her  in my arms and kiss
The pouting lips, and then I see
Polly sweetly smiles on me!

 

Time's Vagaries

THERE'S a streak of gray in Mollie's hair--
        Ah, me! how Time flies!
Once her tresses were rich and fair,
But time has wrought this strange disguise
To make her sweeter in my eyes,
        For Mollie's beyond compare!

There's many a wrinkle on Mollie's face--
        Ah, me! how Time flies!
But what a rogue Time is, to place
On velvet that subtle lace
To make her sweeter in my eyes
        And give her added grace.

Mollie's blue eyes are growing dim--
        Ah, me! how Time flies!
'T is strange that Time should seize the whim
To change them so; yet thanks to him,
She's even sweeter in my eyes,
        Despite the tyrant grim.

In fact, my Mollie's growing old--
        But then, you know, Time flies.
'T was years ago when first I told 
Fair Mollie of my love so bold,
And now she's sweeter in my eyes
    Than then, a thousandfold!

 

Her Answer

                           I
O'ER my darling's cheeks the lashes
    Fall in trembling modesty,
Shutting out the loving flashes
    From the eyes so dear to me.
        And, although no word is spoken,
        I am answered by this token.

                          II
O'er my darling's cheeks are stealing
    All the tintings of the roses,
Love's unfailing sign, revealing
    That in me her heart reposes.
        As the blushes come and go
        Well her answer do I know!

                         III
On my darling's lip there lingers
    Just a hint of smile enchanting;
Softly clasped are dainty fingers,
    Swells the bosom, faintly panting.
        Never mind the whispered "yes,"
        Love, your answer I can guess!

        

My Quandary

'T IS very sad, alas! to be
In such a dreadful quandary--
    I wish you'd help me out!
Please tell me which--but there! I'll just
Explain the case, and then, I trust,
    You'll ease me of my doubt.

The baby is his father's joy--
A chubby, dimpled, laughing boy
    Well worthy of my pride;
His rosy-tinted finger-tips
His candid eyes and smiling lips
    Mark Innocence personified.

And Bessie holds him in her arms
Close to her breast, and on his charms
    She feasts her loving eyes;
While o'er her face a radiance steals
That all her mother-love reveals
    In all its sweetest guise.

And so, my quandary is this:
Betwixt the babe's and Bessie's bliss
    Which do you think completer?
Or, put in in another way:
Suppose that you were me--now, pray,
    Which would you think the sweeter?

 

My First Love

WHEN first I pressed Rosanna's hand
    My love did not withdraw it
'Til my hand trembled with delight,
    And then, indeed, she saw it;
        For very softly she withdrew
        Her hand--and she was trembling, too!

When first I kissed Rosanna's lips
    I thrilled with ecstacy;
And, though I've often kissed her since,
    No other kiss can be
        Quite so delicious as that one
        Which sealed her for my very own.

When first my arm around her waist
    Stole in a sweet embrace,
Her head upon my shoulder fell
    To hide her blushing face.
        She softly whispered "please let go!"
        And yet, I think she liked it so.

Those first endearments linger yet
    In memry's deep recess,
Although since then I 've surely had
    A surfiet of caresses.
        Yet well I know regret is vain,
        Since my first love never comes again.

 

The Green-Eyed Monster

WHEN Mabel waltzed with Captain Brown
        My heart was in a flutter,
I scarcely could repress a frown,
        And naughty words did mutter.

Of course, I did not swear aloud,
        For I was waltzing sadly
With Miss McGee, who's very proud
        And dances very badly.

But as we whirled I oft did look
        Where Mabel waltzed so lightly,
And wondered why the villain took
        Her round the waist so tightly.

I saw her tranquil, downcast eyes,
        Though she was blushing sweetly,
And noted how, to my surprise,
        She seemed absorbed completely.

And when that horrid dance was o'er
        As soon as I was able
I strode across the ballroom floor
        And angrily sought Mabel.

But, e'er I had a chance to speak
        She said, in accents sprightly,
"I saw you dancing with that freak
        Whose dress is so unsightly;

"You did not even pity me,
        Though I was bored to death,
But dance with poor old Miss McGee
        'Til you were out of breath!"

At this, I laughed quite merrily
        And smoothed away my frown,
For now I knew she loved but me,
        And not poor Captain Brown.

 

Jessie, My Queen!

NOW, bow thy crest and bend the knee
    And humbly droop thine eye,
And thus in reverent posture be
    'Til Jessie, my Queen, goes by.

Nor shalt you have rebellious thought,
    That thou must homage bear--
Far more than crowned Queen she ought
    The crown of fame to wear.

For Jessie's eyes are clear and blue:
Can other Queens show eyes so true?
And Jessie's brow is smooth and white:
In such a brow would Queens delight!
And Jessie's lips are red and sweet:
Would Queens' lips be so sweet to meet?
And Jessie's hair is golden red:
What queen has such a regal head?

All other forms her form demeans
    In all ways she's divine!
The world claims all the earhtly queens,
    While Jessie, my Queen, is mine.

Then bow thy crest and bend the knee
    And humbly droop thine eye,
And thus in reverent posture be
    'Til Jessie, my Queen, goes by.

 

A Sonnet to My Lady's Eye

IF inspiration comes, I'll try
A sonnet to my lady's eye--
    Her black eye.
And yet, there seems a woeful lack
Of proper words to rhyme with "black,"
And black eyes savor of attack--
    I'd best abandon black.

I'll start again, and this time try
A sonnet to my lady's eye--
    Her gray eye.
And yet, what color does convey
So passionless a sense as gray?
And tigers' eyes are gray, they say--
    My lady's can't be gray.

Ah, now the idea comes!  I'll try
A sonnet to my lady's eye--
    Her violet eye.
And yet, unless I much forget,
No lady's eye was violet
Since time began; so with regret,
    Adieu to violet
!


And so at last I'm force to try
A sonnet to my lady's eye--
    Her blue eye.
And yet, what can I say that's new?
The whole world knows blue eyes are true;
Besides, I must confess to you
   My lady's eyes are blue!

 

Tell Me

TELL me, if at ev'ry meeting,
As I hold her hand in greeeting,
My poor heart is wildly beating--
              Is this love?

When, in accents low and broken
Tender words to her I've spoken
Shall I know, and by what token?
               This is love?

Tell me, when with pulses flying
For her presence I am sighing,
What's the method of applying
               This to love?

For, you see, in years departed
Oft have I been broken hearted
When a maiden's "no" imparted
                Woe to love.

Yet, somehow, I have existed,
And in other loves persisted,
Though each one I have insisted
                Was true love.

 

At Last

I AM reading your letter tonight, dear heart,
    The letter you wrote long ago.
The pages are tattered and falling apart
    But well every sweet word I know.

You tell me your love will abide for alway
    'Till once more I stand by your side
And as you say you will joyfully welcome the day
    I returned for my own promised pride.

No matter though oceans are rolling between,
    No matter though suitors may bow,
No matter though slow-dragging years intervene
    You say you 'll be true to our vow.

Ah, many a summer has blossomed since then
    And many a drear winter passed,
But now, my own love, I am coming again,
    To claim your sweet promise at last.

I know that my hair is well sprinkled with gray,
    That my features are wrinkled and stern;
For fighting the world is a grim sort of play,
    As even the victor must learn.

But what do I care, when this old heart of mine
    Has grown the more steadfast and true,
When even the traces of years are a sign
    That I 've remained faithful to you?

I know that your poor heart has suffered much pain
    Throughout the long years that are past,
But now, my own love, I am coming again
    To claim your sweet promise at last!


THE ANSWER:

Dear Tom:  your nice letter just reached me today.
    So glad you 're at last coming home!
My husband and I, there is no need to say,
    Insist on a call when you come.

And the children, sweet pets! will listen with joy
    To your tales of adventure so true;
And--oh! by the way, our youngest dear boy
    We've just christened Tom--after you!

 

 

CYCLING VERSE

 

A Header

I CATCH a flash from merry eye--
I see a wave of golden curl;
And then there swiftly passes by
Upon her wheel, a pretty girl!

I know my seat is not secure,
(I've only had my wheel a day),
And yet one glance I must procure
Before the vision speeds away.

Vainglorious fool! Upon my head
I land, nor see the sight I sought;
For down the street my charmer's fled
And I've a header for nought!

 

A Ruse

WHEN sweet Irene learned to ride
    Fearsome doubts did rend her;
So she kept me at her side,
    That I might defend her.
        And I cried "look out, Irene!
        Sit up straight and do not lean
        O'er the side of the machine--
            That's the way to ride!"

Said the maiden "I'm afraid!--
    It's so very treacherous;
And I Wish I'd stayed
    And not been so venturous."
        "Nonsense!" I replied, "'t isclear
        You are safe while I am here.
        Pedal on without a fear--
            Never be dismayed!--

But Irene, with reckless grace,
    From her saddle swayed,
And I in a close embrace
    Caught the frightened maid.
        "There is no cause for alarm,"
        I exclaimed, "You 're safe from harm
        While encircled by my arm."
            "That is true," she said.

Queer it was, but after that,
    (While my ring she wore)
Firmly the machine she sat--
    Frightened never more!
        And I said, "I'm glad you fell
        E'er you learned to ride so well."
        "Yes," said she, "but, truth to tell,
                "I intended that!"

 

The Proud Miss MacNeal

OH, very proud was Miss MacNeal!
Proud of her bloomers and proud of her wheel,
Proud of the style she couldn't but feel
           The whole world recognized;
She was proud of the boots that fitted so neat,
Proud of her costume so natty and sweet,
Proud that her outfit was so complete
           Beholders were paralyzed;

Proud that her mount was strictly high grade,
Proud that to scorch she was n't afraid,
Proud that her lady friends essayed
           To flatter by imitation;
She was proud she held her head so high
That every commoner passing by
 With envious and with jealous sigh
           Acknowledged her lofty station.

Of course, there were some with hearts so sore
As they watched her pedal the boulevards  o'er
Who declared her father had peddled before,
           To earn an honest living;
But Miss MacNeal nor knew nor cared
The wicked tongues of those who stares
Such ancient history had bared
           With memories unforgiving.

A little higher she raised her nose
A trifle jauntier she held her pose,
A glance of approval she gave her clothes
           And smiled in sweet derision.
Nor knew that speeding down the street
With low-bowed head and twinkling feet
A scorcher rushed, her wheel to meet
           In terrible collision.

There came a clash of steel to steel;
There lay a mess of damaged wheel;
And, torn and trembling, Miss MacNeal
           Arose from out the gutter.
With bloomers rent both hip and thigh,
With vast contusions on her eye,
Upon the curb she sank to cry
           And moans of grief to utter.

Nor failed to hear the wicked jeers
From onlookers, that met her ears
As wantonly they lavished sneers
           Upon her wretched plight.
"The clouds that in the heavens spread
Are beautiful," one mocker said,
"But cycling folk should look ahead--
           Unless they 've second sight!"

Oh, never more will Miss MacNeal
In natty bloomers mount her wheel
And all the sweet sensations feel
           Of speeding down the street!
With humble mien she ambles down
The sidewalks that adorn the town,
And seems content in modest gown
           To exercise her feet.

 

Farmer Benson on the Motocycle

"HERE, Betsy, come to the winder--quick!
    An' limber along right spry--
It comes up the hill like a thousand o' brick,
    An' I want you to see it go by.

'There's curious things took place in this world
    Since we've lived, an' before we die
We'll see the peculiarest wheel that 'ere whirled--
    When the new motocycle rolls by.

"There she goes! like a thing o' life a'most--
    Just watch them 'air rubber wheels fly!
That old hoss an' wagon'll have to clear coast
  
When the new motocycle spins by.

"I thought when the 'phone and the phonograph come
    I'd see no greater sight 'til I'd die;
But I've seen the new gal in bloomers, by gum!
   An' the new motocycle pass by.

 

Then and Now

WHEN Mary first wore bloomers
    Tom tore his hair and swore
He never could love her
    As he'd loved her just before.

But Mary 's wearing bloomers yet,
And Tom, regardless ofhis threat,
Still called her "my own darling pet"--
                In bloomers!

When Mary first wore bloomers
    The little dogs would bark
As on her wheel she sped along
    The pathway to the park.

But Mary's wearing bloomers still;
The dogs have lost their old ill-will
And all desire to chase and kill
                Those bloomers.

When Mary first wore bloomers
    The minister was grieved,
And only by an earnest prayer
    His feelings he relieved.

But Mary's wearing bloomers now;
The parson greets her with a bow,
And well she knows that he 'll allow
                Her bloomers.

When Mary first were bloomers
    The boys did shout and howl
"Git onter de female Turkish guy!"
    Regardless of her scowl.

In bloomers Mary stillis dressed--
The boys have ceased their ribald jest
And lost their wicked interest
                In bloomers.

When Mary first wore bloomers
    Her sire was really shocked;
The mater blushed and trembled
And her brothers at her mocked.

But Mary's wearing them today--
She's confident they 've come to stay;
And men do n't look the other way
                From bloomers.

 

UNASSORTED VERSE

 

Johnson

(Extracts from the diary of Joel Baily, Constable.)

April 6th.

                                                Who's Johnson?
    No one knows who Johnson is.
    Came to town a month ago,
    Went to work, minded his biz.--
    An' that's all our people know.

    Seems a quiet sort o'man,
    Doesn't talk about his life;
    No ambition--not a plan--
    Hasn't neither child ner wife.

July 3d.

    Dickson's house burnt down today.
    All rushed out, an' in their flight
    Left their baby boy at play--
    Quite forget'n' him through fright.

    None dared stir 'til Johnson came,
    Heard the news an' rushed inside,
    Fought his way through smoke an' flame,
    Saved the child.  But Johnson--died.

    No one knows who Johnson is,
    But many loved the man today,
    Glad I was a friend o'his--
    Died a hero's death, I  say.

July 10th.

    Famous city detective's here;
    Came to hunt a murd'rer down.
    Tracked the feller nigh a year,
    'Til he traced him to our town.

    Said the man was desperate--
    Worst he ever knew by half.
    Hoped he hadn't come too late;
    Then he showed me his photograph.
                                            'T was Johnson!

 

La Reine Est Mort1--Vive la Reine!

THEN shout hurrah for the woman new,
With her rights and her votes and her bloomers, too!
Evolved though bikes and chewing gum,
                                                         She's come!

And whisper farewell to the sweetheart fair,
To the blushing cheeks and modest air;
To the eyes that shone so tender and true--
                                                                Adieu!

And shout hurrah for the woman new!
With her necktie, shirt and tooth-pick shoe,
With tailor-made suit and mien2 severe
                                                         She's here!

And bid good-by3 to the matron sweet,
To the mother the whole world used4 to greet
With reverence.  She's had to quit
                                                            And flit!

And shout hurrah for the woman new!
Who wants a new Bible to suit her new view,
And writes for the papers and eats at the club
                                                         Her grub.

And search in vain for the loving wife--
That prise5 once counted most precious in life;
That aggressive New Woman has put her away
To stay!

1. sic.
2. 23 June 1895 Chicago Times-Herald has "mein."
3. newspaper version  has "goodbye."
4. newspaper version has "loved."
5. newspaper version has "prize."

 

Ye Warming Pan

OUR ancestor of early days,
    Although half civilized,
Had still some method in his ways
    And comfort highly prized,
He knew enough to warm his bed--
    This level-headed man--
"God bless the chap," he often said,
"Who got the notion in his head
    To make the warming pan!"

We moderns who are girded
    By all inventions new,
Now crawl between two icy sheets
    And shiver 'til we're blue.
We stick our nose above the clothes
    And yell--when speak we can--
"The fashion blast from first to last
That made a relic of the past
    The ancient warming pan!"

 

The Egotist

                                 I
NOW what care I what the world may think,
      So long as my thoughts are mine?
I may revel in dreams that are sweet to me,
In fancies and vagaries pleasant and free;
And no one will know of the joys I drink--
      So long as my thoughts are mine.

                                II
And what care I what the world may say,
      So long as my words are mine?
For others may prate of their worldly cares,
Of troubles, ambitions, of business or shares;
But I may converse in a pleasanter way--
      So long as my words are mine.

                               III
And what care I what the world may do,
      So long as my deeds are mine?
The scramble for wealth and power and fame
Is a life that to me seems dull and tame;
For I--but that I must not tell you
     
So long as my deeds are mine!

 

The Youngster

                                I
A MAN is as old as he feels, they say.
And I feel quite young, and my heart is light;
Nor can I explain in plausible way
The dimness that 's creeping athwart my sight.

                                II
My heart is light and I laugh with joy,
Nor care a jot for the world and its ways;
Not even rheumatic twinges alloy
The pleasures I glean from these youthful days.

                                III
I laugh with joy--and I'd leap with glee
If only my back would permit the play;
For dear are the frolics of youth to me.
And a man 's as young as he feels, they say!

 

Nance Adkins

    (Three years in succession the Dakota wheat crop failed.  The third year farmers were left without seed.  A committee was appointed to seek aid from neighboring states and to borrow sufficient wheat to furnish the needy farmers the required seed.
    (Their efforts were successful, but many of the farmers were too proud to apply to the committee, or to accept what they considered charity.  The story of Nance Adkins is true.)

SO I up an' says to William,
    As he sot the winder nigh
An' watched the flutterin' snow flakes
    As they floated from the sky:

"Come, old man--don't look so bitter,
    Fill yer pipe, an' take a smoke;
Draw yer chair up nigh the fire,
    An' let's talk awhile an' joke!

"It ain't right to be downhearted;
    Time to laugh is jest the while
When yer feel yer'd like ter blubber--
    Then it 's some use fer to smile!"

"Yes, says he, "I know, old woman,
    What it's right I orter do;
But the pluck is all gone from me--
    Nothin's left ter buckle to

"That can keep my wife an' children
    From starvation's boney grasp,
An' the future 's dark an' dreary--
    Ruin 's come to us at last!

"To be sure, I might ha' mor'gaged
    All we had to buy us feed
'Til there comes another harvest,
    If we only had the seed.

"Yes--I know--I might 'a' had it,
    But the false pride held me back;
I could 'nt make the 'application'
    An' beg--fer a single sack!

"I could easy face the hardships
    That 's a comin', I well know,
If it was n't that the children
    An' you, wife, must suffer so!"

"Come, come, Bill," says I, quite cheerful,
    Though a lump were in my throat,
"There's a many honest honest farmer
    That 's in  jest as bad a boat.

"So let 's kneel; and ask fer courage
    As we're told to in His word;
It 'll make our hearts feel lighter,
    Even if the prayer ain't heard."

Solemnly we knelt us down,
    And together, hand in hand,
Prayed that He would grant His mercy
    To the needy in the land.

Suddenly there come a rappin'
    Right there on our kitchen door,
An' William opened it an' found
    A man we 'd never seen afore.

An' he says, so bright an' smilin',
    "Farmer, here's a load o' wheat
Jest the 'mount ye need fer seedin'--
    Please ter sign this here receipt.

"Fer I come from the C'mitte
    That has raised fer honest men
All the seed they need fer puttin'
    'Em upon their feet agen.

"Here 's yer orig'nal Application:
    'Farmer Adkins has a need
Fer an even hundred bushel,
    On his land to use fer seed.

"'Signed, Bill Adkins.'  There ye are, sir,
    An' of course ye'll pay the men
Fer the seed they have advanced ye
    When the harvest comes agen."

Silent like Bill took the paper;
    Silent turned to where I stood
With the tears a rollin' down my
    Face--because I felt so good!

An' he reached out both his strong arms
    An he hugged me to his breast,
Sayin', "Nance, of all the blessin's
    On this earth, the very best

"Is a wife that 's kind an' loving!
    This here seed I do n't despite,
Though I guess the applicater
    Were a woman 'bout your size.

"Come, old girl, we 'll kneel once more;
    You can thank the God above
Fer the blessin' of the seed-wheat,
    An' I fer  a noble woman's love!"

 

A Bird Dog

IN the cage was the canary
Trilling forth in accents merry,
Full of life and also very
        Graciously contented.
On the floor the little Pug,
Watching, lay upon a rug,
And, to judge from wrinkled mug,
        Biridie's glee resented.

Soon he sprang upon the table--
Though you 'd scarce think he was able--
And straightaway ensued the babel
        Discordant and hideous!
Mary, hearing sounds of fray,
Entered quick in dire dismay,
But alas! the feathers lay
        Scattered most invidious.

Mary was beside herself,
But the Pug cared naught; the elf
Had the bird inside himself
        And was satisfied.
Mary wept and Mary wailed,
But the murd'rer never quailed;
He 'd have wept if he had failed,
        Now he grinned with pride.

 

When the Whistle Blows

TIRED faces brighten
    When the whistle blows,
Grave eyes quickly lighten,
    For the workman knows
Now the tedious work is done,
    Day is at its close,
And the daily wage is won
    When the whistle blows.

Homeward thoughts are turning
    When the whistle blows,
For the hearthstone yearning
    And the sweet repose
Surely won in labor's mart;
    So the workman goes
To his home with joyful heart
    When the whistle blows.

 

The Heretic

I KNOW they calls me "heretic"--
    An names that's even wuss,
'N' say as I 'm a shif'less chap,
    Not wuth a tinker's cuss
They ask me why I do n't go t' church
    An' hear the parson preach
An' lis'n to the doctrines
    He's anxious fer to teach.

    The church is mighty grand an' fine,
        Too fine fer me, I guess,
    Fer it 's a place where rents are high
        An' all is style an' dress.
    The parson gets, fer what he says,
        A mighty lib'ral pay,
    An' when they do n't shell out enough
        He quits, an' goes away
.

The deacon tole me yisterday
    That when I come to die
I'll burn in everlastin' flame
    Forever an' for aye!
Says he, "jes' see how saintly
    A feller can become
Who says his prayers an' does n't touch
    Terbaccer, beer ner rum!"

    But when a man las' winter
            Begged fer a loaf o' bread
    To feed his starvin' family
        This same good deacon said:
    "You scoundrel, if I find agen
        You 're beggin' at my door,
    I' ll put ye in the calaboose
        Fer sixty days, er more!"

Las' Sunday old Sam Jackson,
    Who allus were a thief,
An' cussed an' swore an' had no store
    O' Christianlike belief,
Lay dyin' in his shanty,
    An' when he passed away
He tol' me he was 'mighty glad
    He 'd never larnt to pray.

    An' over to th' meetin'-house
        They took up a c'lection
    T' "spread th' Word in Asia,"
        Or some other furrin section.
    Thy did n't care that layin' 'round
        The city were a show
    O' heathens wuss ner Asia's--
        'T wa' n't Christianlike, ye know.

It 's allus been my way t' try
    To help my feller man,
An' when I find a wretch that's down
    I boost him all I can.
I know 't ain't Christianlike, an' that
    I orter pray instead.
That my poor soul won't be burnt up
    Immejitly I'm dead.

    Each churchman 's pluggin' fer himself,
        An' cares fer nothin' more
    If he can only land at last
        Upon the golden shore.
    An' so, I guess a heretic
        I'd much prefer to be;
    This selfish Christianity
        Ain't good enough fer me!

 

A Rare Bit
   
      (Writ dejectedly at early dawn.)

THE rarebit is an elfish imp
    That wields a deadly power,
Though frequently nonchalantly
    The demon we devour.

I think I 've figured out the way
    This weird dish is created,
And if you 'd try this recipe
    Below 't is plainly stated:

You take a drove of nightmares,
    Of headache quite a lot,
A cord of hard dyspepsia
    And of mulligrubs a jot,

And roll and mash and bake 'em
    'Til browned to fit the code,
Then feed it to your dearest friends
    As "rarebit, à la mode"!

'T would be palpably fictitious
    Though suff'ring from its sting,
Should I say it's not delicious--
    Unfit to feast a king.

I can only pray devoutly,
    (In addition to my litany,)
From rarebit Lord deliver me,
    So I never more will get any!

 

The Fisher Man

WHEN balmy Spring days come once more
    I find myself a wishing
That I might wander on the shore
    And spend a day a fishing.

So I hie me to the store
    Where sporting goods beguile
And purchase an outfit galore,
    With which to fish in style.

I pay an X for rod and reel,
    For lines and flies a V,
And then II more to add a creel
    To hold the fish, you see.

And then for suit of curduroy
    I squander quite a sum,
And several dollars more employ
    For bait that is n't rum.

The railway fares are rather high
    (Trout brooks are isolated,)
But who cares for expense, say I,
    When sportively elated?

And when at last I reach the brook
    And cast my brightest fly,
I marvel how these fish will look
    When landed high and dry.

 

When Mc Guffy

"Whin McGuffy hits the growler
    He jist inflates his chist
An' plants his futs upon the flure,
    Thin gives his belt a twist;
He throws his whole head back a bit
    An' howlds the growler tight,
An' thin the bottom av the pail
    Quite aisy comes in sight!"

 

Two Women

THE woman Old and woman New
Met one day, as women do,
And looked each other through and through.

"What's creature's this?" cried the woman Old,
"Who doth her 'form divine' enfold
In raiment immodest and bold?"

"Insolent wretch!" quoth the woman New,
"Shall I accept insult from you,
Who know naught but to cook and sew?"

"Cook and sew!" the other said,
"Is 't  then no wit to make good bread
Or neatly mend for him you've wed?"

"Task for menials!" the New one cries,
A fine scorn flashing from her eyes;
"Such occupations I despise."

"Despise! and why?" then asked the Old.
Such tasks are womanly, I'm told,
And always by our sex controlled."

"Our sex controlled by them!" said she
Who so advanced seemed to be;
"But such low tasks won't do for me."

"Then tell me, pray, what can you do,
Of household drudgery in lieu,
That more becomes a woman true?"

"Do?  I enter in man's domain;
I type-write, lecture, deal in grain
And stocks, and exercise my brain

With politics and civic laws,
And I in these excel because
My energy can never pause,

My honor cannot be assailed,
And bribery has ever failed,
To tempt me.  Ev'rywhere I'm hailed

As mistress of the universe!
My advent has removed the curse
From politics.  I'm not averse

To taking in life's game a deal,
To eating at the club my meal
Or riding straddle on my wheel."

"Stop!" said the Old, with blushing face,
"Women like you would soon disgrace
Our age, our country and our race!

You speak of buffeting with life
As if you loved the horrid strife
More than the tender name of 'wife'.

Where is your time for motherhood,
And housekeeping, and other  good
And noble works that women should

Her privilege consider?  Can
You for a moment think a man
Would love a woman who outran

Propriety in talk and dress;
Who never cared for a caress,
But urged her 'new' ideas with stress?"

"Love!" said with scorn of the other, I
The very name of love deny.
'T is a delusion.  Tell me why

Woman should ever prize a love
Which brands her 'pet' and 'turtle-dove",
Bestowed by man, who stands above

Her, as 'lord of all creation',
'Lifts' her to his 'higher station',
And thus seals her degradation?"

"Love," said the Old one, thoughtfully,
"Is sweeter, dearer far to me
Than worldly strife could ever be."

"Poor thing!" the woman New now sighed,
"To rouse your interest I've tried
In occupations dignified

And fit for woman's higher sphere;
But you're old fashioned, weak and queer,
And past redemption now, I fear.

And so, I'll leave you to your fate,
Although I wish you'd emulate
My acts, and be regenerate."

"Poor thing!" the other answered, low,
"It seems a shame that you must go
Through life and sweet Love never know!

I wish that I could make you feel
The difference 'twixt false and real,
And our true sphere to you reveal."

Each pitying he other's plight
They passed from one another's sight.
Now tell me--can you?--which was right?

 

Homo Sum

When the bum has siezed the whiskey
    And the whiskey 's siezed the bum
There 's a glaze upon his eyeballs
    And his legs are rather numb.
Quite uncertainly he lurches
    As he reels the sidewalk down,
All unconscious of reproaches,
    Muttered oaths, disgusted frown.
Void his mind, his vision blurred,
    Only brutal intuition
Doth enable him to keep
    Perpendicular position.
You congratulate yourself
    By saying proudly "homo sum!"--
When the bum has siezed the whiskey
    And the whiskey 's siezed the bum.

 

That New Leaf

LOOKING back with much contrition
    On my former evil ways,
With the New Year came ambition
    Virtuously to end my days.

So my habits quick reforming,
    Flask and pipe were thrown aside,
And to nobler instincts warming,
    Cards and dice were scattered wide.

On my lips each oath I stifled
    As my collar-button strayed,
And when Nell my pockets rifled
    I knelt down and calmly prayed.

And I bought a brand new diary
    And upon its pages white
Aspirations grand and fiery
    Neatly I inscribed each night.

Ah, how proud I walked the city,
    Conscious of my purity,
And I felt how great the pity
    Every man was not like me!

But, although the spirit's willing
    Human flesh is mighty weak,
And instead of quite fulfilling
    The ambitions did I seek,

Scarce a week has now departed
    And--I shame the truth to tell--
Yesterday I grew faint-hearted;
    My resolves are paving hades!

 

 

CHILDREN'S VERSE

 

Dan'l

WHEN Dan'l takes his fiddle down
    And deftly tunes the strings
And rubs the rosin on his bow,
    The sound around him brings
A score of village children,
    Who know the fun begins
When Dan'l takes his fiddle down
    And deftly tunes the strings.

When Dan'l takes the fiddle tuned
    He plays a lively air,
Whereat his many listeners
    Most solemnly declare
There ain't a fiddler in the land
    That with him can compare--
When Dan'l gets his fiddle tuned
    And plays a lively air.

When Dan'l hangs his fiddle up
    His list'ners feel aggrieved;
Regretful sighs betray how much
    Of pleasure they 're bereaved.
Indeed, unless you've heard him play
    You 'd never have believed
When Dan'l hangs his fiddle up
    How much the crowd is grieved!

 

The Tramp

THE tramp is coming up the road;
        Tramp, tramp, tramp!
His coat is torn, his step is free,
He whistles very merrily,
His face is soiled--a sight to see!--
        Tramp, tramp tramp!

Up the hill and down again;
        Tramp, tramp, tramp!
By the meadow, through the lane;
        Tramp, tramp, tramp!
Begs his food from door to door,
Eats between meals--eats before;
Sleep at night upon the floor--
        Poor old tramp!

 

The Big Black Bear

NOW, once there came to our town a big black bear;
You could n't find his equal if you hunted everywhere.
His eyes were very big and fierce, and shaggy was his hair,
    And his teeth shone white and sharp between his jaws.
He stood upon his big rear legs, and people all did stare;
To keep a proper distance they took the greatest care,
For you had but to see him to make you well beware
    Of getting near those dreadful, pointed claws.

He stood upon the sidewalk, did this big black bear,
Before Andrew McFarlan's store, as if it were his lair;
And at the people passing by he wickedly did glare--
    A fact which all the children did deplore.
But never once he left his post, in weather foul or fair,
And though this might surprise you, it won't when I declare
This awful brute was stuffed, and McFarlan put him there
    To serve as a sign before his clothing store!

 

A Romance of a Broken Window

                    I
          A LITTLE kit
          On end did sit
To watch for mouse or sparrow;
          A little boy
          Played with a toy
Known as a bow and arrow.

                    II
          Intent on game
          Near puss he came
And slyly raised his weapon,
          And drew the bow
          And then let go,
And wondered what would happen.

                    III
          The little cat
          No longer sat
In dreamy contemplation--
          The arrow sped
          Straight for her head,
To her intense frustration.

                    IV
          Roused from her dream
          Puss gave a scream
And out of danger fled,
          While through the glass
          The stick did pass
And wounded that instead!

 

My Little Maid

            I'M afraid
            There's a maid
Who's set my heart a fluttering;
Her praise I 'm alwaysuttering,
    I can 't resist her charm.
            She's so pretty
            It's a pity
For I fear I can 't resist her,
And, indeed, last night I kissed her--
    Never thinking any harm.

            She 's a love
            Far above
Other girls so ordinary,
And her dimpled hand is very 
    Nice to hold, as well I know;
            And it best
            Be confessed
In my arms I 've often caught her,
For she 's Ward's and Clara's daughter
    And was born three years ago. 

 

Where Do They Go?

WHERE do the chickens go at night--
    Heigh-ho! where do they go?
Under the breast of their mother they rest,
Finding her feathers a soft fluffy nest;
And there 's where the chicks go at night,
                 Heigh-ho!
Yes, there 's where the chicks go at night.

Where does the kitten go at night--
    Heigh-ho! where does it go?
Under the stove in the kitchen it goes
And cuddles up warm for a sweet repose,
And there 's where our puss goes at night,
                 Heigh-ho!
Yes, there 's where our puss goes at night.

Where does our little dog go at night--
    Heigh-ho! where does he go?
Why, papa has made him a nice little bed
In a snug little corner outside the shed,
And that 's where our dog goes at night,
                 Heigh-ho!
Yes, there 's where our dog goes at night.

Where does our baby boy go at night--
    Heigh-ho! where does he go?
Into his little white cradle he goes
Bundled up warm from his chin to his toes;
And that's where our boy goes at night,
                 Heigh-ho!
Yes, there 's where our boy goes at night.

 

The Greedy Gold-fish

WITHIN the sparkling water
    Of a pretty crystal dish
There lived and swam together
    Three tiny golden fish,
Whose lives were quite as happy
    As any fish could wish.

No cat could ever harm them,
    So high their mansion stood,
And mamma kept the water fresh
    And gave them for their food
All of those little dainties
    That fishes think so good.

Yet two were thin and delicate
    While one was big and strong
Because he ate the fish that to
    The others did belong
Before they could get at it--
    'T was surely very wrong!

The little fishes grumbled
    At such a naughty trick,
And when the food was thrown them
    They tried their share to pick,
But scarcely got a nibble,
    The big one was so quick.

And so, one rainy morning,
    When mamma was away
And Johnny wondered how he
    Could pass away the day,
He stood beside the gold-fish
    And watched them at their play.

He 'd just been playing "doctor"
    With mamma's box of pills;
He 'd saved the cook from fever,
    He 'd cured the nurse of pills;
And now he thought the fishes
    Should be dosed for their ills.

"Dose tunnin' 'ittle fisses,"
    He said, "seems awful bad!
An' dis de bestest med'cin'
    'At mamma ever had.
I dess I'll div' 'em one dose--
    Dey look so very sad!"

So down in the water
    He softly dropped a pill,
And that big, greedy gold-fish
    With open mouth and gill,
Swallowed it, as if, indeed,
    He were really ill.

But very soon this fish felt
    An awful pain inside;
"This serves me right for eating
    So greedily!" he cried.
Then he turned upon his back
    And flopped his tail, and died!

The other little fishes
    Since he has gone away
Now are growing big and fat
    As in the dish they play,
For Johnny has n't "doctored"
    Since that one rainy day.

 

Who's Afraid?

                                Who's afraid?

EV'RY Giant now is dead--
Jack has cut off ev'ry head.

Ev'ry Goblin, known of old,
Perished years ago, I'm told.

Ev'ry Witch, on broomstick riding,
Has been burned or is in hiding.

Every Dragon, seeking gore,
Died an age ago--or more.

Ev'ry horrid Bogie Man
Lives in far-off Yucatan.

Burglars dare not venture near
When they know that papa's here.

Lions now you only see
Caged in the menagerie.

And the Grizzly Bear can't hug
When he's made into a rug--

                                Who's Afraid?

 

Young America

PAPA, tan I do to war
   'N' have a lot of fun,
'N' wear a sodjer's uniform
    'N' make de Spanyids run?

My Uncle Hal says Spanyid mans
    Is naughty mans, an' so
I deas I'll tut off all der heads--
    Please, papa, tan I do?

I's dot a sword--it's awful bent
    But you tan make it dood,
An' den I'll ride my rocking-horse,
    Like any sodjer would.

I's dot a drum, I's dot a horn--
    De drum has dot one head.
An'--papa, I is s'eepy now;
    I dess I'll do to bed!


Text typed and edited by Scott Andrew Hutchins, based on the text in the Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints edition.
Afterword forthcoming.