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[i]

THE BOOK OF
JOYOUS CHILDREN

JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

[ii]

THE BOOK OF
JOYOUS CHILDREN

JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

Illustrated by J.W. VAWTER

NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
1902


[iii]

———————
Published October, 1902

[iv]

THE BOOK OF
JOYOUS CHILDREN

[v] 'Not in classic lore, but rich in the child-sagas of the kitchen.' "Not in classic lore, but rich in
the child-sagas of the kitchen."
[vi]
[vii]

GRATEFULLY AND AFFECTIONATELY
INSCRIBED
TO
JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS

[viii]

You who to the rounded prime

Of a life of toil and stress,

Still have kept the morning-time

Of glad youth in heart and spirit,

So your laugh, as children hear it,

Seems their own, no less,—

Take this book of childish rhyme

The Book of Joyous Children.

Their first happiness on earth

Here is echoed—their first glee:

Rich, in sooth, the volume's worth

Not in classic lore, but rich in

The child-sagas of the kitchen;—

Therefore, take from me

To your heart of childish mirth

The Book of Joyous Children.

[ix]

CONTENTS

PROEM

THE BOOK OF JOYOUS CHILDREN

AN IMPROMPTU FAIRY-TALE

DREAM-MARCH

ELMER BROWN

NO BOY KNOWS

WHEN WE FIRST PLAYED "SHOW"

A DIVERTED TRAGEDY

THE RAMBO-TREE

FIND THE FAVORITE

THE BOY PATRIOT

EXTREMES

INTELLECTUAL LIMITATIONS

A MASQUE OF THE SEASONS

THOMAS THE PRETENDER

LITTLE DICK AND THE CLOCK

[x] FOOL-YOUNGENS

THE KATYDIDS

BILLY AND HIS DRUM

THE NOBLE OLD ELM

THE PENALTY OF GENIUS

EVENSONG

THE TWINS

THE LITTLE LADY

"COMPANY MANNERS"

IN FERVENT PRAISE OF PICNICS

THE GOOD, OLD-FASHIONED PEOPLE

THE BEST TIMES

"HIK-TEE-DIK!"

A CHRISTMAS MEMORY

"OLD BOB WHITE"

A SESSION WITH UNCLE SIDNEY:

I ONE OF HIS ANIMAL STORIES

II UNCLE BRIGHTENS UP

III SINGS A "WINKY-TOODEN" SONG

IV AND MAKES NURSERY RHYMES

1 THE DINERS IN THE KITCHEN

2 THE IMPERIOUS ANGLER

3 THE GATHERING OF THE CLANS

4 "IT"

5 THE DARING PRINCE

[xi] A DUBIOUS "OLD KRISS"

A SONG OF SINGING

THE JAYBIRD

A BEAR FAMILY

SOME SONGS AFTER MASTER-SINGERS:

I SONG

II TO THE CHILD JULIA

III THE DOLLY'S MOTHER

IV WIND OF THE SEA

V SUBTLETY

VI BORN TO THE PURPLE

OLD MAN WHISKERY-WHEE-KUM-WHEEZE

LITTLE-GIRL-TWO-LITTLE-GIRLS

A GUSTATORY ACHIEVEMENT

CLIMATIC SORCERY

A PARENT REPRIMANDED

THE TREASURE OF THE WISE MAN

[xii]
[xiii]




FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS

NOT IN CLASSIC LOOK, BUT RICH IN THE CHILD-SAGAS OF THE KITCHEN

KNEEL, ALL GLOWING, TO THE COOL SPRING

NO BOY KNOWS WHEN HE GOES TO SLEEP

JAMESY ON THE SLACK-ROPE

ACROSS THE ORCHARD

WHILE ALL THE ARMY, FOLLOWING, IN CHORUS CHEERS AND SINGS

WHERE IT GOES WHEN THE FIRE GOES OUT?

THE FAIRY QUEEN OF THE SEASONS

PORE PA! PORE PA!

SQUINT' OUR EYES AN' LAUGH' AGAIN

HE'S A-MARCHIN' ROUND THE ROOM

THE OLD TREE SAYS HE'S ALL OUR TREE

THEREFORE READ NO LONGER

SHE'S BUT A RACING SCHOOL-GIRL

[xiv] THEY WAS GOD'S PEOPLE

THEM WUZ THE BEST TIMES EVER WUZ

HE'S GO' HITCH UP, CHRIS'MUS-DAY, AN' COME TAKE ME BACK AGAIN

WHEN WE DROVE TO HARMONY

A BIG, HOLLOW, OLD OAK-TREE, WHICH HAD BEEN BLOWN DOWN BY A STORM

THE YOUNG FOXES IN IT, ON THE HEARTH BESIDE HER

AN' ALL BE POETS AN' ALL RECITE

ALONG THE BRINK OF WILD BROOK-WAYS

I LIKE TO WATCH HIM

WHILE KATE PICKS BY, YET LOOKS NOT THERE

LEND ME THE BREATH OF A FRESHENING GALE

BOW TO ME IN THE WINDER THERE

OUR "OLD-KRISS"-MILKMAN

THE CHILDISH DREAMS IN HIS WISE OLD HEAD

[1]




THE BOOK OF
JOYOUS CHILDREN

[2]
[3]




THE BOOK OF
JOYOUS CHILDREN

Bound and bordered in leaf-green,

Edged with trellised buds and flowers

And glad Summer-gold, with clean

White and purple morning-glories

Such as suit the songs and stories

Of this book of ours,

Unrevised in text or scene,—

The Book of Joyous Children.

Wild and breathless in their glee—

Lawless rangers of all ways

Winding through lush greenery

Of Elysian vales—the viny,

Bowery groves of shady, shiny

Haunts of childish days.

Spread and read again with me

The Book of Joyous Children.

[4]

What a whir of wings, and what

Sudden drench of dews upon

The young brows, wreathed, all unsought,

With the apple-blossom garlands

Of the poets of those far lands

Whence all dreams are drawn

Set herein and soiling not

The Book of Joyous Children.

In their blithe companionship

Taste again, these pages through,

The hot honey on your lip

Of the sun-smit wild strawberry,

Or the chill tart of the cherry;

Kneel, all glowing, to

The cool spring, and with it sip

The Book of Joyous Children.

As their laughter needs no rule,

So accept their language, pray.—

Touch it not with any tool:

Surely we may understand it,—

As the heart has parsed or scanned it

Is a worthy way,

Though found not in any School

The Book of Joyous Children.

[5] 'Kneel, All Glowing, to the Cool Spring.' "Kneel, all glowing, to the cool spring."
[6]
[7]

Be a truant—know no place

Of prison under heaven's rim!

Front the Father's smiling face—

Smiling, that you smile the brighter

For the heavy hearts made lighter,

Since you smile with Him.

Take—and thank Him for His grace—

The Book of Joyous Children.

[8]




AN IMPROMPTU FAIRY-TALE

When I wuz ist a little bit

o' weenty-teenty kid

I maked up a Fairy-tale,

all by myse'f, I did:—

I

Wunst upon a time wunst

They wuz a Fairy King,

An' ever'thing he have wuz gold—,

His clo'es, an' ever'thing!

An' all the other Fairies

In his goldun Palace-hall

Had to hump an' hustle—

'Cause he wuz bosst of all!

II

He have a goldun trumput,

An' when he blow' on that,

It's a sign he want' his boots,

Er his coat er hat:

[9]

They's a sign fer ever'thing,—

An' all the Fairies knowed

Ever' sign, an' come a-hoppin'

When the King blowed!

III

Wunst he blowed an' telled 'em all:

"Saddle up yer bees—

Fireflies is gittin' fat

An' sassy as you please!—

Guess we'll go a-huntin'!"

So they hunt' a little bit,

Till the King blowed "Supper-time,"

Nen they all quit.

IV

Nen they have a Banqut

In the Palace-hall,

An' ist et! an' et! an' et!

Nen they have a Ball;

An' when the Queen o' Fairyland

Come p'omenadin' through,

The King says an' halts her,—

"Guess I'll marry you!"

[10]




DREAM-MARCH

"Wasn't it a funny dream!—perfectly bewild'rin'!—

Last night, and night before, and night before that,

Seemed like I saw the march o' regiments o' children,

Marching to the robin's fife and cricket's rat-ta-tat!

Lily-banners overhead, with the dew upon 'em,

On flashed the little army, as with sword and flame;

Like the buzz o' bumble-wings, with the honey on 'em,

Came an eerie, cheery chant, chiming as it came:—

Where go the children? Travelling! Travelling!

Where go the children, travelling ahead?

Some go to kindergarten; some go to day-school;

Some go to night-school; and some go to bed!

[11]

Smooth roads or rough roads, warm or winter weather,

On go the children, tow-head and brown,

Brave boys and brave girls, rank and file together,

Marching out of Morning-Land, over dale and down:

Some go a-gypsying out in country places—

Out through the orchards, with blossoms on the boughs

Wild, sweet, and pink and white as their own glad faces;

And some go, at evening, calling home the cows.

Where go the children? Travelling! Travelling!

Where go the children, travelling ahead?

Some go to foreign wars, and camps by the firelight

Some go to glory so; and some go to bed!

Some go through grassy lanes leading to the city—

[12]

Thinner grow the green trees and thicker grows the dust;

Ever, though, to little people any path is pretty

So it leads to newer lands, as they know it must.

Some go to singing less; some go to list'ning;

Some go to thinking over ever-nobler themes;

Some go anhungered, but ever bravely whistling,

Turning never home again only in their dreams.

Where go the children? Travelling! Travelling!

Where go the children, travelling ahead?

Some go to conquer things; some go to try them;

Some go to dream them; and some go to bed!

[13]




ELMER BROWN

Elmer Brown

Awf'lest boy in this-here town

Er anywheres is Elmer Brown!

He'll mock you—yes, an' strangers, too,

An' make a face an' yell at you,—

"Here's the way you look!"

Yes, an' wunst in School one day,

An' Teacher's lookin' wite that way,

He helt his slate, an' hide his head,

An' maked a face at her, an' said,—

"Here's the way you look!"

An' sir! when Rosie Wheeler smile

One morning at him 'crosst the aisle,

He twist his face all up, an' black

His nose wiv ink, an' whisper back,—

"Here's the way you look!"

Wunst when his Aunt's all dressed to call,

An' kiss him good-bye in the hall,

An' latch the gate an' start away,

He holler out to her an' say,—

"Here's the way you look!"

[14]

An' when his Pa he read out loud

The speech he maked, an' feel so proud

It's in the paper—Elmer's Ma

She ketched him—wite behind his Pa,—

"Here's the way you look!"

Nen when his Ma she slip an' take

Him in the other room an' shake

Him good! w'y, he don't care—no-sir!—

He ist look up an' laugh at her,—

"Here's the way you look!"

[15]




NO BOY KNOWS

There are many things that boys may know—

Why this and that are thus and so,—

Who made the world in the dark and lit

The great sun up to lighten it:

Boys know new things every day—

When they study, or when they play,—

When they idle, or sow and reap—

But no boy knows when he goes to sleep.

Boys who listen—or should, at least,—

May know that the round old earth rolls East;—

And know that the ice and the snow and the rain—

Ever repeating their parts again—

Are all just water the sunbeams first

Sip from the earth in their endless thirst,

And pour again till the low streams leap.—

But no boy knows when he goes to sleep.

A boy may know what a long glad while

It has been to him since the dawn's first smile,

[16]

When forth he fared in the realm divine

Of brook-laced woodland and spun-sunshine;—

He may know each call of his truant mates,

And the paths they went,—and the pasture-gates

Of the 'cross-lots home through the dusk so deep.—

But no boy knows when he goes to sleep.

O I have followed me, o'er and o'er,

From the flagrant drowse on the parlor-floor,

To the pleading voice of the mother when

I even doubted I heard it then—

To the sense of a kiss, and a moonlit room,

And dewy odors of locust-bloom—

A sweet white cot—and a cricket's cheep.—

But no boy knows when he goes to sleep.

[17] 'No Boy Knows When He Goes to Sleep.' "No boy knows when he goes to sleep."

[18]


[19]





WHEN WE FIRST PLAYED "SHOW"

Wasn't it a good time,

Long Time Ago—

When we all were little tads

And first played "Show"!—

When every newer day

Wore as bright a glow

As the ones we laughed away—

Long Time Ago!

Calf was in the back-lot;

Clover in the red;

Bluebird in the pear-tree;

Pigeons on the shed;

Tom a-chargin' twenty pins

At the barn; and Dan

Spraddled out just like "The

'Injarubber'-Man!"

Me and Bub and Rusty,

Eck and Dunk and Sid,

'Tumblin' on the sawdust

Like the A-rabs did;

[20]

Jamesy on the slack-rope

In a wild retreat,

Grappling back, to start again—

When he chalked his feet!

Wasn't Eck a wonder,

In his stocking-tights?

[21] 'Jamesy on the slack-rope.' "Jamesy on the slack-rope."

[22]


[23]

Wasn't Dunk—his leaping lion—

Chief of all delights!

Yes, and wasn't "Little Mack"

Boss of all the Show,—

Both Old Clown and Candy-Butcher—

Long Time Ago!

Sid the Bareback-Rider;

And—oh-me-oh-my!—

Bub, the spruce Ring-master,

Stepping round so spry!—

In his little waist-and-trousers

All made in one,

Was there a prouder youngster

Under the sun!

And NOW—who will tell me,—

Where are they all?

Dunk's a sanatorium doctor,

Up at Waterfall;

Sid's a city street-contractor;

Tom has fifty clerks;

And Jamesy he's the "Iron Magnate"

Of "The Hecla Works."

And Bub's old and bald now,

Yet still he hangs on,—

[24]

Dan and Eck and "Little Mack,"

Long, long gone!

But wasn't it a good time,

Long Time Ago—

When we all were little tads

And first played "Show"!

[25]




A DIVERTED TRAGEDY

Gracie wuz allus a careless tot;

But Gracie dearly loved her doll,

An' played wiv it on the winder-sill

'Way up-stairs, when she ought to not,

An' her muvver telled her so an' all;

But she won't mind what she say—till,

First thing she know, her dolly fall

Clean spang out o' the winder plumb

Into the street! An' here Grace come

Down-stairs, two at a time, ist wild

An' a-screamin', "Oh, my child! my child!"

Jule wuz a-bringin' their basket o' clo'es

Ist then into their hall down there,—

[26]

An' she ist stop' when Gracie bawl,

An' Jule she say "She ist declare

She's ist in time!" An' what you s'pose?

She sets her basket down in the hall,

An' wite on top o' the snowy clo'es

Wuz Gracie's dolly a-layin' there

An' ist ain't bu'st ner hurt a-tall!

Nen Gracie smiled—ist sobbed an' smiled—

An' cried, "My child! my precious child!"

[27]




THE RAMBO-TREE

When Autumn shakes the rambo-tree—

It's a long, sweet way across the orchard!—

The bird sings low as the bumble-bee—

It's a long, sweet way across the orchard!—

The poor shote-pig he says, says he:

"When Autumn shakes the rambo-tree

There's enough for you and enough for me."—

It's a long, sweet way across the orchard.

For just two truant lads like we,

When Autumn shakes the rambo-tree

There's enough for you and enough for me

It's a long, sweet way across the orchard.

When Autumn shakes the rambo-tree—

It's a long, sweet way across the orchard!—

The mole digs out to peep and see—

It's a long, sweet way across the orchard!—

The dusk sags down, and the moon swings free,

There's a far, lorn call, "Pig-gee! 'Pig-gee!"

And two boys—glad enough for three.—

It's a long, sweet way across the orchard.

[28]

For just two truant lads like we,

When Autumn shakes the rambo-tree

There's enough for you and enough for me

It's a long, sweet way across the orchard.

[29] 'Across the Orchard.' "Across the orchard."
[30]
[31]




FIND THE FAVORITE

Our three cats is Maltese cats,

An' they's two that's white,—

An' bofe of 'em's deef—an' that's

'Cause their eyes ain't right.—

Uncle say that Huxley say

Eyes of white Maltese—

When they don't match thataway—

They're deef as you please!

[32]

Girls, they like our white cats best,

'Cause they're white as snow,

Yes, an' look the stylishest—

But they're deef, you know!

They don't know their names, an' don't

Hear us when we call

"Come in, Nick an' Finn!"—they won't

Come fer us at all!

But our other cat, he knows

Mister Nick an' Finn,—

Mowg's his name,—an' when he goes

Fer 'em, they come in!

Mowgli's all his name—the same

Me an' Muvver took

Like the Wolf-Child's other name,

In "The Jungul Book."

I bet Mowg's the smartest cat

In the world!—He's not

White, but mousy-plush, with that

Smoky gloss he's got!

All's got little bells to ring,

Round their neck; but none

[33]

Only Mowg knows anything—

He's the only one!

I ist 'spect sometimes he hate

White cats' stupid ways:—

He won't hardly 'sociate

With 'em, lots o' days!

Mowg wants in where we air,—well,

He'll ist take his paw

An' ist ring an' ring his bell

There till me er Ma

Er somebody lets him in

Nen an' shuts the door.—

An', when he wants out ag'in,

Nen he'll ring some more.

Ort to hear our Katy tell!

She sleeps 'way up-stairs;

An' last night she hear Mowg's bell

Ringin' round somewheres...

Trees grows by her winder.—So,

She lean out an' see

Mowg up there, 'way out, you know,

In the clingstone-tree;—

[34]

An'-sir! he ist hint an' ring,—

Till she ketch an' plat

Them limbs;—nen he crawl an' spring

In where Katy's at!

[35]




THE BOY PATRIOT

I want to be a Soldier!—

A Soldier!—

A Soldier!—

I want to be a Soldier, with a sabre in my hand

Or a little carbine rifle, or a musket on my shoulder,

Or just a snare-drum, snarling in the middle of the band;

I want to hear, high overhead, The Old Flag flap her wings

While all the Army, following, in chorus cheers and sings;

I want to hear the tramp and jar

Of patriots a million,

As gayly dancing off to war

As dancing a cotillion.

I want to be a Soldier!

A Soldier!

A Soldier!

I want to be a Soldier, with a sabre in my hand

Or a little carbine rifle, or a musket on my shoulder,

Or just a snare-drum, snarling in the middle of the band.

[36]

I want to see the battle!—

The battle!—

The battle!—

I want to see the battle, and be in it to the end;—

I want to hear the cannon clear their throats and catch the prattle

Of all the pretty compliments the enemy can send!—

And then I know my wits will go,—and where I should'nt be—

Well, there's the spot, in any fight, that you may search for me.

So, when our foes have had their fill,

Though I'm among the dying,

To see The Old Flag flying still,

I'll laugh to leave her flying!

I want to be a Soldier!

A Soldier!

A Soldier!

I want to be a Soldier, with a sabre in my hand

Or a little carbine rifle, or a musket on my shoulder,

Or just a snare-drum, snarling in the middle of the band.

[37] 'While All the Army, Following, in Chorus Cheers And Sings.' "While all the army, following, in chorus cheers and sings."
[38]
[39]




EXTREMES

I

A little boy once played so loud

That the Thunder, up in a thunder-cloud,

Said, "Since I can't be heard, why, then

I'll never, never thunder again!"

II

And a little girl once kept so still

That she heard a fly on the window-sill

Whisper and say to a lady-bird,—

"She's the stilliest child I ever heard!"

 

[40]




INTELLECTUAL LIMITATIONS

Parunts knows lots more than us,

But they don't know all things,—

'Cause we ketch 'em, lots o' times,

Even on little small things.

One time Winnie ask' her Ma,

At the winder, sewin',

What's the wind a-doin' when

It's a-not a-blowin'?

Yes, an' 'Del', that very day,

When we're nearly froze out,

He ask' Uncle where it goes

When the fire goes out?

Nen I run to ask my Pa,

That way, somepin' funny;

But I can't say ist but "Say,"

When he turn to me an' say,

"Well, what is it, Honey?"

[41] 'Where It Goes When the Fire Goes Out?' "Where it goes
when the fire goes out?"
[42]
[43]




A MASQUE OF THE SEASONS

Scene.—A kitchen.—Group of Children, popping corn.—The Fairy Queen of the Seasons discovered in the smoke of the corn-popper.—Waving her wand, and, with eerie, sharp, imperious ejaculations, addressing the bespelled auditors, who neither see nor hear her nor suspect her presence.

QUEEN

Summer or Winter or Spring or Fall,—

Which do you like the best of all?

LITTLE JASPER

When I'm dressed warm as warm can be,

And with boots, to go

Through the deepest snow,

Winter-time is the time for me!

QUEEN

Summer or Winter or Spring or Fall,—

Which do you like the best of all?

[44]

LITTLE MILDRED

I like blossoms, and birds that sing;

The grass and the dew,

And the sunshine, too,—

So, best of all I like the Spring.

QUEEN

Summer or Winter or Spring or Fall,—

Which do you like the best of all?

LITTLE MANDEVILLE

O little friends, I most rejoice

When I hear the drums

As the Circus comes,—

So Summer-time's my special choice.

QUEEN

Summer or Winter or Spring or Fall,—

Which do you like the best of all?

LITTLE EDITH

Apples of ruby, and pears of gold,

And grapes of blue

That the bee stings through.—

Fall—it is all that my heart can hold!

[45] 'The Fairy Queen of the Seasons.' "The fairy queen of the seasons."
[46]
[47]

QUEEN

Soh! my lovelings and pretty dears,

You've each a favorite, it appears,—

Summer and Winter and Spring and Fall.—

That's the reason I send them all!

[48]




THOMAS THE PRETENDER

Tommy's alluz playin' jokes,

An' actin' up, an' foolin' folks;

An' wunst one time he creep

In Pa's big chair, he did, one night,

An' squint an' shut his eyes bofe tight,

An' say, "Now I 'm asleep."

An' nen we knowed, an' Ma know' too,

He ain't asleep no more 'n you!

An' wunst he clumbed on our back'fence

An' flop his arms an' nen commence

To crow, like he's a hen;

But when he failed off, like he done,

He didn't fool us childern none,

Ner didn't crow again.

An' our Hired Man, as he come by,

Says, "Tom can't crow, but he kin cry."

[49] 'Pore Pa! Pore Pa!' "Pore Pa! Pore Pa!"
[50]
[51]
[52]




LITTLE DICK AND THE CLOCK

When Dicky was sick

In the night, and the clock,

As he listened, said "Tick-

Atty—tick-atty—tock!"

He said that it said,

Every time it said "Tick,"

It said "Sick," instead,

And he heard it say "Sick!"

And when it said "Tick-

Atty—tick-atty—tock,"

He said it said "Sick-

Atty—sick-atty—sock!"

And he tried to see then,

But the light was too dim,

Yet he heard it again—

And't was talking to him!

And then it said "Sick-

Atty—sick-atty—sick

You poor little Dick-

Atty—Dick-atty—Dick!—

Have you got the hick-

Atties? Hi! send for Doc"

[53]

To hurry up quick

Atty—quick-atty—quock,

And heat a hot brick-

Atty—brick-atty—brock,

And rikle-ty wrap it

And clickle-ty clap it

Against his cold feet-

Al-ty—weep-aty—eepaty—

There he goes, slapit-

Ty—slippaty—sleepaty!"

[54]




FOOL-YOUNGENS

Me an' Bert an' Minnie-Belle

Knows a joke, an' we won't tell!

No, we don't—'cause we don't know

Why we got to laughin' so;

But we got to laughin' so,

"We ist kep' a-laughin'.

Wind wuz blowin' in the tree—

An' wuz only ist us three

Playin' there; an' ever' one

Ketched each other, like we done,

Squintin' up there at the sun

Like we wuz a-laughin'.

Nothin' funny anyway;

But I laughed, an' so did they—

An' we all three laughed, an' nen

Squint' our eyes an' laugh' again:

Ner we didn't ist p'ten'

We wuz shore-'nough laughin'.

[55] 'Squint' our eyes an' laugh' again' "Squint' our eyes an' laugh' again"
[56]
[57]

"We ist laugh' an' laugh', tel Bert

Say he can't quit an' it hurt.

Nen I howl, an' Minnie-Belle

She tear up the grass a spell

An' ist stop her yeers an' yell

Like she'd die a-laughin'.

Never sich fool-youngens yit!

Nothin' funny,—not a bit!—

But we laugh' so; tel we whoop'

Purt'-nigh like we have the croup—

All so hoarse we'd wheeze an' whoop

An' ist choke a-laughin'.

[58]




THE KATYDIDS

Sometimes I keep

From going to sleep,

To hear the katydids "cheep-cheep!"

And think they say

Their prayers that way;

But katydids don't have to pray!

I listen when

They cheep again

And so, I think, they're singing then!

But, no; I'm wrong,—

The sound's too long

And all-alike to be a song!

I think, "Well, there!

I do declare,

If it is neither song nor prayer,

It's talk—and quite

Too vain and light

For me to listen to all night!"

[59]

And so, I smile,

And think,—"Now I'll

Not listen for a little while!"—

Then, sweet and clear,

Next "cheep" I hear

'S a kiss.... Good morning, Mommy dear!

[60]




BILLY AND HIS DRUM

Ho! it's come, kids, come!

"With a bim! bam! bum!

Here's little Billy bangin' on his big bass drum!

He's a-marchin' round the room,

With his feather-duster plume

A-noddin' an' a-bobbin' with his bim! bom! boom!

Looky, little Jane an' Jim!

Will you only look at him,

A-humpin' an' a-thumpin' with his bam! bom! bim!

Has the Day o' Judgment come

Er the New Mi-len-nee-um?

Er is it only Billy with his bim! bam! bim!

[61] 'He's A-marchin' Round the Room.' "He's a-marchin' round the room."
[62]
[63]

I 'm a-comin'; yes, I am—

Jim an' Sis, an' Jane an' Sam!

We'll all march off with Billy an' his bom! bim! bam!

Come hurrawin' as you come,

Er they'll think you're deef-an'-dumb

Ef you don't hear little Billy an' his big bass drum!

[64]




THE NOBLE OLD ELM

O big old tree, so tall an' fine,

Where all us childern swings an' plays,

Though neighbers says you're on the line

Between Pa's house an' Mr. Gray's,—

Us childern used to almost fuss,

Old Tree, about you when we 'd play.—

We'd argy you belonged to us,

An' them Gray-kids the other way!

Till Elsie, one time she wuz here

An' playin' wiv us—Don't you mind,

Old Mister Tree?—an' purty near

She scolded us the hardest kind

Fer quar'llin' 'bout you thataway,

An' say she'll find—ef we'll keep still—

Whose tree you air fer shore, she say,

An' settle it fer good, she will!

[65] 'The Old Tree Says He's All Our Tree.' "The old tree says he's all our tree."
[66]
[67]

So all keep still: An' nen she gone

An' pat the Old Tree, an' says she,—

"Whose air you, Tree?" an' nen let on

Like she's a-list'nin' to the Tree,—

An' nen she say, "It's settled,—'cause

The Old Tree says he's all our tree—

His trunk belongs to bofe your Pas,

But shade belongs to you an' me."

[68]




THE PENALTY OF GENIUS

"When little 'Pollus Morton he's

A-go' to speak a piece, w'y, nen

[69]

The Teacher smiles an' says 'at she's

Most proud, of all her little men

An' women in her school—'cause 'Poll

He allus speaks the best of all.

An' nen she'll pat him on the cheek,

An' hold her finger up at you

Before he speak'; an' when he speak'

It's ist some piece she learn' him to!

'Cause he's her favorite.... An' she

Ain't pop'lar as she ust to be!

When 'Pollus Morton speaks, w'y, nen

Ist all the other childern knows

They're smart as him an' smart-again!—

Ef they can't speak an' got fine clo'es,

Their Parunts loves 'em more 'n 'Poll-

Us Morton, Teacher, speech, an' all!

[70]




EVENSONG

Lay away the story,—

Though the theme is sweet,

There's a lack of something yet,

Leaves it incomplete:—

There's a nameless yearning—

Strangely undefined—

For a story sweeter still

Than the written kind.

Therefore read no longer—

I've no heart to hear

But just something you make up,

O my mother dear.—

With your arms around me,

Hold me, folded-eyed,—

Only let your voice go on—

I'll be satisfied.

[71] 'Therefore Read No Longer.' "Therefore read no longer."
[72]
[73] The Twins




"IGO AND AGO"

We're The Twins from Aunt Marinn's,

Igo and Ago.

When Dad comes, the show begins!—

Iram, coram, dago.

Dad he says he named us two

Igo and Ago

For a poem he always knew,

Iram, coram, dago.

Then he was a braw Scotchman—

Igo and Ago.—

Now he's Scotch-Amer-i-can.

Iram, coram, dago.

"Hey!" he cries, and pats his knee,

"Igo and Ago,

My twin bairnies, ride wi' me—

Iram, coram, dago!"

[74]

"Here," he laughs, "ye've each a leg,

Igo and Ago,

Gleg as Tam O'Shanter's 'Meg'!

Iram, coram, dago!"

[75]

Then we mount, with shrieks of mirth—

Igo and Ago,—

The two gladdest twins on earth!

Iram, coram, dago.

Wade and Silas-Walker cry,—

"Igo and Ago—

Annie's kissin' 'em 'good-bye'!"—

Iram, coram, dago.

Aunty waves us fond farewells.—

"Igo and Ago,"

Granny pipes, "tak care yersels!"

Iram, coram, dago.





[76]

THE LITTLE LADY

O The Little Lady's dainty

As the picture in a book,

And her hands are creamy-whiter

Than the water-lilies look;

Her laugh's the undrown'd music

Of the maddest meadow-brook.—

Yet all in vain I praise The Little Lady!

Her eyes are blue and dewy

As the glimmering Summer-dawn,—

Her face is like the eglantine

Before the dew is gone;

And were that honied mouth of hers

A bee's to feast upon,

He'd be a bee bewildered, Little Lady!

Her brow makes light look sallow;

And the sunshine, I declare,

Is but a yellow jealousy

Awakened by her hair—

For O the dazzling glint of it

Nor sight nor soul can bear,—

So Love goes groping for The Little Lady.

[77] 'She's But a Racing School-girl.' "She's but a racing school-girl."
[78]
[79]

And yet she's neither Nymph nor Fay,

Nor yet of Angelkind:—

She's but a racing school-girl, with

Her hair blown out behind

And tremblingly unbraided by

The fingers of the Wind,

As it wildly swoops upon The Little Lady.

[80]





"COMPANY MANNERS"

When Bess gave her Dollies a Tea, said she,—

"It's unpolite, when they's Company,

To say you've drinked two cups, you see,—

But say you've drinked a couple of tea."

[81]





IN FERVENT PRAISE OF PICNICS

Picnics is fun 'at's purty hard to beat.

I purt'-nigh ruther go to them than eat.

I purt'-nigh ruther go to them than go

With our Charlotty to the Trick-Dog Show.

[82]





THE GOOD, OLD-FASHIONED PEOPLE

When we hear Uncle Sidney tell

About the long-ago

An' old, old friends he loved so well

When he was young—My-oh!—

Us childern all wish we'd 'a' bin

A-livin' then with Uncle,—so

We could a-kindo' happened in

On them old friends he used to know!—

The good, old-fashioned people—

The hale, hard-working people—

The kindly country people

'At Uncle used to know!

They was God's people, Uncle says,

An' gloried in His name,

An' worked, without no selfishness,

An' loved their neighbers same

As they was kin: An' when they biled

Their tree-molasses, in the Spring,

Er butchered in the Fall, they smiled

An' sheered with all jist ever'thing!—

[83] 'They Was God's People.' "They was god's people."
[84]
[85]

The good, old-fashioned people—

The hale, hard-working people—

The kindly country people

'At Uncle used to know!

He tells about 'em, lots o' times,

Till we'd all ruther hear

About 'em than the Nurs'ry Rhymes

Er Fairies—mighty near!—

Only sometimes he stops so long

An' then talks on so low an' slow,

It's purt'-nigh sad as any song

To listen to him talkin' so

Of the good, old-fashioned people—

The hale, hard-working people—

The kindly country people

'At Uncle used to know!

[86]





THE BEST TIMES

When Old Folks they wuz young like us

An' little as you an' me,—

Them wuz the best times ever wuz

Er ever goin' to be!

[87] 'Them Wuz the Best Times Ever Wuz.' "Them wuz the best times ever wuz."
[88]

[89]





"HIK-TEE-DIK!"

THE WAR-CRY OF BILLY AND BUDDY

When two little boys—renowned but for noise—

Hik-tee-dik! Billy and Buddy!—

May hurt a whole school, and the head it employs,

Hik-tee-dik! Billy and Buddy!

Such loud and hilarious pupils indeed

Need learning—and yet something further they need,

Though fond hearts that love them may sorrow and bleed.

Hik-tee-dik! Billy and Buddy!

O the schoolmarm was cool, and in no wise a fool;

Hik-tee-dik! Billy and Buddy!

And in ruling her ranks it was her rule to rule;

Hik-tee-dik! Billy and Buddy!

[90]

So when these two pupils conspired, every day,

Some mad piece of mischief, with whoop and hoo-ray,

That hurt yet defied her,—how happy were they!—

Hik-tee-dik! Billy and Buddy!

At the ring of the bell they 'd rush in with a yell—

Hik-tee-dik! Billy and Buddy!

And they'd bang the school-door till the plastering fell,

Hik-tee-dik! Billy and Buddy!

They'd clinch as they came, and pretend not to see

As they knocked her desk over—then, My! and O-me!

How awfully sorry they'd both seem to be!

Hik-tee-dik! Billy and Buddy!

[91]

This trick seemed so neat and so safe a conceit,—

Hik-tee-dik! Billy and Buddy!—

They played it three times—though the third they were beat;

Hik-tee-dik! Billy and Buddy!

For the teacher, she righted her desk—raised the lid

And folded and packed away each little kid—

Closed the incident so—yes, and locked it, she did—

Hik-tee-dik! Billy and Buddy!

[92]





A CHRISTMAS MEMORY

Pa he bringed me here to stay

'Til my Ma she's well.—An' nen

He's go' hitch up, Chris'mus-day,

An' come take me back again

Wher' my Ma's at! Won't I be

Tickled when he comes fer me!

My Ma an' my A'nty they

'Uz each-uvver's sisters. Pa—

A'nty telled me, th' other day,—

He comed here an' married Ma....

A'nty said nen, "Go run play,

I must work now!" ... An' I saw,

When she turn' her face away,

She 'uz cryin'.—An' nen I

'Tend-like I "run play"—an' cry.

This-here house o' A'nty's wher'

They 'uz borned—my Ma an' her!—

An' her Ma 'uz my Ma's Ma,

An' her Pa 'uz my Ma's Pa—

[93] 'He's Go' Hitch Up, Chris'mus-day, An' Come Take Me Back Again.' "He's go' hitch up, Chris'mus-day, an' come take me back again."
[94]
[95]

Ain't that funny?—An' they're dead:

An' this-here's "th' ole Homestead."—

An' my A'nty said, an' cried,

It's mine, too, ef my Ma died—

Don't know what she mean—'cause my

Ma she's nuvver go' to die!

[96]

When Pa bringed me here 't 'uz night—

'Way dark night! An' A'nty spread

Me a piece—an' light the light

An' say I must go to bed.—

I cry not to—-but Pa said,

"Be good boy now, like you telled

Mommy 'at you're go' to be!"

An', when he 'uz kissin' me

My good night, his cheeks' all wet

An' taste salty.—An' he held

Wite close to me an' rocked some

An' langhed-like—'til A'nty come

Git me while he's rockin' yet.

A'nty he'p me, 'til I be

Purt'-nigh strip-pud—nen hug me

In bofe arms an' lif' me 'way

Up in her high bed—an' pray

Wiv me,—'bout my Ma—an' Pa—

An' ole Santy Claus—an' Sleigh—

An' Reindeers an' little Drum—

Yes, an' Picture-books, "Tom Thumb,"

An' "Three Bears," an' ole "Fee-Faw"—

[97]

Yes, an' "Tweedle-Dee" an' "Dum,"

An' "White Knight" an' "Squidjicum,"

An' most things you ever saw!—

An' when A'nty kissed me, she

'Uz all cryin' over me!

Don't want Santy Claus—ner things

Any kind he ever brings!—

Don't want A'nty!—Don't want Pa!—

I ist only want my Ma!

[98]





"OLD BOB WHITE"

Old Bob White's a funny bird!—

Funniest you ever heard!—

Hear him whistle,—"Old—Bob—White!"

You can hear him, clean from where

He's 'way 'crosst the wheat-field there,

Whistlin' like he didn't care—

"Old-Bob-White!"

[99] When We Drove to Harmony "When we drove to harmony"
[100]
[101]




OLD BOB WHITE

Whistles alluz ist the same—

So's we won't fergit his name!—

Hear him say it?—"Old—Bob—White!"

There! he's whizzed off down the lane—

Gone back where his folks is stayin'—

Hear him?—There he goes again,—

"Old—Bob—White!"

When boys ever tries to git

Clos't to him—how quick he'll quit

Whistlin' his "Old-Bob—White!"

"Whoo-rhoo-rhoo!" he's up an' flew,

Ist a-purt'-nigh skeerin' you

Into fits!—'At's what he'll do.—

"Old-Bob—White!"

Wunst our Hired Man an' me,

When we drove to Harmony,

Saw one, whistlin' "Old—Bob—White!"

An' we drove wite clos't, an' I

Saw him an' he didn't fly,—

Birds likes horses, an' that's why.

"Old—Bob—White!"

One time, Uncle Sidney says,

Wunst he rob' a Bob White's nes'

Of the eggs of "Old Bob White";

[102]

Nen he hatched 'em wiv a hen

An' her little chicks, an' nen

They ist all flewed off again!

"Old—Bob—White!"

[103]





A SESSION WITH UNCLE SIDNEY

[1869]

I

ONE OF HIS ANIMAL STORIES

Now, Tudens, you sit on this knee—and 'scuse

It having no side-saddle on;—and, Jeems,

You sit on this—and don't you wobble so

And chug my old shins with your coppertoes;—

And, all the rest of you, range round someway,—

Ride on the rockers and hang to the arms

Of our old-time splint-bottom carryall!—

Do anything but squabble for a place,

Or push or shove or scrouge, or breathe out loud,

Or chew wet, or knead taffy in my beard!—

Do anything almost—act anyway,—

Only keep still, so I can hear myself

Trying to tell you "just one story more!"

One winter afternoon my father, with

A whistle to our dog, a shout to us—

His two boys—six and eight years old we were,—

Started off to the woods, a half a mile

From home, where he was chopping wood. We raced,

[104]

We slipped and slid; reaching, at last, the north

Side of Tharp's corn-field.—There we struck what seemed

To be a coon-track—so we all agreed:

And father, who was not a hunter, to

Our glad surprise, proposed we follow it.

The snow was quite five inches deep; and we,

Keen on the trail, were soon far in the woods.

Our old dog, "Ring," ran nosing the fresh track

With whimpering delight, far on ahead.

After following the trail more than a mile

To northward, through the thickest winter woods

We boys had ever seen,—all suddenly

He seemed to strike another trail; and then

Our joyful attention was drawn to

Old "Ring"—leaping to this side, then to that,

Of a big, hollow, old oak-tree, which had

Been blown down by a storm some years before.

There—all at once—out leapt a lean old fox

From the black hollow of a big bent limb,—

Hey! how he scudded!—but with our old "Ring"

Sharp after him—and father after "Ring"—

We after father, near as we could hold!

And father noticed that the fox kept just

About four feet ahead of "Ring"—just that

No farther, and no nearer! Then he said:—

"There are young foxes in that tree back there,

[105] 'A Big, Hollow, Old Oak-tree, Which Had Been Blown Down By a Storm.' "A big, hollow, old oak-tree, which had been blown down by a storm."
[106]
[107]

And the mother-fox is drawing 'Ring' and us

Away from their nest there!" "Oh, le' 's go back!—

Do le' 's go back!" we little vandals cried,—

"Le' 's go back, quick, and find the little things—

Please, father!—Yes, and take 'em home for pets—

'Cause 'Ring' he'll kill the old fox anyway!"

So father turned at last, and back we went,

And father chopped a hole in the old tree

About ten feet below the limb from which

The old fox ran, and—Bless their little lives!—

There, in the hollow of the old tree-trunk—

There, on a bed of warm dry leaves and moss—

There, snug as any bug in any rug—

We found—one—two—three—four, and, yes-sir, five

Wee, weenty-teenty baby-foxes, with

Their eyes just barely opened—Cute?—my-oh!—

The cutest—the most cunning little things

Two boys ever saw, in all their lives!

"Raw weather for the little fellows now!"

Said father, as though talking to himself,—

"Raw weather, and no home now!"—And off came

His warm old "waumus"; and in that he wrapped

The helpless little animals, and held

Them soft and warm against him as he could,—

And home we happy children followed him.—

Old "Ring" did not reach home till nearly dusk:

The mother-fox had led him a long chase—

[108]

"Yes, and a fool's chase, too!" he seemed to say,

And looked ashamed to hear us praising him.

But, mother—well, we could not understand

Her acting as she did—and we so pleased!

I can see yet the look of pained surprise

And deep compassion of her troubled face

When father very gently laid his coat,

With the young foxes in it, on the hearth

Beside her, as she brightened up the fire.

She urged—for the old fox's sake and theirs—

That they be taken back to the old tree;

But father—for our wistful sakes, no doubt—

Said we would keep them, and would try our best

To raise them. And at once he set about

Building a snug home for the little things

Out of an old big bushel-basket, with

Its fractured handle and its stoven ribs:

So, lining and padding this all cosily,

He snuggled in its little tenants, and

Called in John Wesley Thomas, our hired man,

And gave him in full charge, with much advice

Regarding the just care and sustenance of

Young foxes.—"John," he said, "you feed 'em milk

Warm milk, John Wesley! Yes, and keep 'em by

The stove—and keep your stove a-roarin', too,

Both night and day!—And keep 'em covered up—

Not smothered, John, but snug and comfortable.—

[109] 'The Young Foxes in It, on the Hearth Beside Her.' "The young foxes in it, on the hearth beside her."
[110]
[111]

And now, John Wesley Thomas, first and last,—

You feed 'em milkfresh milk—and always warm

Say five or six or seven times a day—

Of course we'll grade that by the way they thrive."

But, for all sanguine hope, and care, as well,

The little fellows did not thrive at all.—

Indeed, with all our care and vigilance,

By the third day of their captivity

The last survivor of the fated five

Squeaked, like some battered little rubber toy

Just clean worn out.—And that's just what it was!

And—nights,—the cry of the mother-fox for her young

Was heard, with awe, for long weeks afterward.

And we boys, every night, would go to the door

And, peering out in the darkness, listening,

Could hear the poor fox in the black bleak woods

Still calling for her little ones in vain.

As, all mutely, we returned to the warm fireside,

Mother would say: "How would you like for me

To be out there, this dark night, in the cold woods,

Calling for my children?"

[112]

II

UNCLE BRIGHTENS UP—

Uncle he says 'at 'way down in the sea

Ever'thing's ist like it used to be:—

He says they's mermaids, an' mermens, too,

An' little merchildern, like me an' you—

Little merboys, with tops an' balls,

An' little mergirls, with little merdolls.

Uncle Sidney's vurry proud

Of little Leslie-Janey,

'Cause she's so smart, an' goes to school

Clean 'way in Pennsylvany!

[113] 'An' All Be Poets An' All Recite.' "An' all be poets an' all recite."
[114]
[115]

She print' an' sent a postul-card

To Uncle Sidney, telling

How glad he'll be to hear that she

"Toock the onners in Speling."

Uncle he learns us to rhyme an' write

An' all be poets an' all recite:

His little-est poet's his little-est niece,

An' this is her little-est poetry-piece.

[116]

III

SINGS A "WINKY-TOODEN" SONG—

O here's a little rhyme for the Spring- or Summer-time—

An a-ho-winky-tooden-an-a-ho!—

Just a little bit o' tune you can twitter, May or June,

An a-ho-winky-tooden-an-a-ho!

It's a song that soars and sings,

As the birds that twang their wings

Or the katydids and things

Thus and so, don't you know,

An a-ho-winky-tooden-an-a-ho!

[117]

It's a song just broken loose, with no reason or excuse—

An a-ho-winky-tooden-an-a-ho!

You can sing along with it—or it matters not a bit—

An a-ho-winky-tooden-an-a-ho!

It's a lovely little thing

That 'most any one could sing

With a ringle-dingle-ding,

Soft and low, don't you know,

An a-ho-winky-tooden-an-a-ho!

[118]

IV

AND MAKES NURSERY RHYMES

1

THE DINERS IN THE KITCHEN

Our dog Fred

Et the bread.

Our dog Dash

Et the hash.

[119]

Our dog Pete

Et the meat.

Our dog Davy

Et the gravy.

Our dog Toffy

Et the coffee.

[120]

Our dog Jake

Et the cake.

Our dog Trip

Et the dip.

And—the worst,

From the first,—

Our dog Fido

Et the pie-dough.

[121]

2

THE IMPERIOUS ANGLER

Miss Medairy Dory-Ann

Cast her line and caught a man,

But when he looked so pleased, alack!

She unhooked and plunked him back.—

"I never like to catch what I can,"

Said Miss Medairy Dory-Ann.

[122]

3

THE GATHERING OF THE CLANS

[Voice from behind high board-fence.]

"Where's the crowd that dares to go

Where I dare to lead?—you know!"

"Well, here's one!"

Shouts Ezry Dunn.

[123]

"Count me two!"

Yells Cootsy Drew.

"Here's yer three!"

Sings Babe Magee.

"Score me four!"

Roars Leech-hole Moore.

[124]

"Tally—five!"

Howls Jamesy Clive.

"I make six!"

Chirps Herbert Dix.

"Punctchul!—seven!"

Pipes Runt Replevin.

[125]

"Mark me eight!"

Grunts Mealbag Nate.

"I'm yet nine!"

Growls "Lud'rick" Stein.

"Hi! here's ten!"

Whoops Catfish Ben.

[126]

"And now we march, in daring line,

For the banks of Brandywine!"

[127]

4

"IT"

A wee little worm in a hickory-nut

Sang, happy as he could be,—

"O I live in the heart of the whole round world,

And it all belongs to me!"

[128]

5

THE DARING PRINCE

A daring prince, of the realm Rangg Dhune,

Once went up in a big balloon

[129]

That caught and stuck on the horns of the moon,

And he hung up there till next day noon—

When all at once he exclaimed, "Hoot-toot!"

And then came down in his parachute.

[130]





A DUBIOUS "OLD KRISS"

Us-folks is purty pore—but Ma

She's waitin'—two years more—tel Pa

He serve his term out. Our Pa he—

He's in the Penitenchurrie!

Now don't you never tell!—'cause Sis,

The baby, she don't know he is.—

'Cause she wuz only four, you know,

He kissed her last an' hat to go!

Pa alluz liked Sis best of all

Us childern.—'Spect it's 'cause she fall

"When she'uz ist a child, one day—

An' make her back look thataway.

[131]

Pa—'fore he be a burglar—he's

A locksmiff, an' maked locks, an' keys,

An' knobs you pull fer bells to ring,

An' he could ist make anything!—

'Cause our Ma say he can!—An' this

Here little pair o' crutches Sis

Skips round on—Pa maked them—yes-sir!—

An' silivur-plate-name here fer her!

Pa's out o' work when Chris'mus come

One time, an' stay away from home,

An' 's drunk an' 'buse our Ma, an' swear

They ain't no "Old Kriss" anywhere!

An' Sis she alluz say they wuz

A' Old Kriss—an' she alluz does.

But ef they is a' Old Kriss, why,

When's Chris'mus, Ma she alluz cry?

[132]

This Chris'mus now, we live here in

Where Ma's rent's alluz due ag'in—

An' she "ist slaves"—I heerd her say

She did—ist them words thataway!

An' th'other night, when all's so cold

An' stove's 'most out—our Ma she rolled

Us in th'old feather-bed an' said,

"To-morry's Chris'mus—go to bed,

[133]

"An' thank yer blessed stars fer this—

We don't 'spect nothin' from Old Kriss!"

An' cried, an' locked the door, an' prayed,

An' turned the lamp down.... An' I laid

There, thinkin' in the dark ag'in,

"Ef wuz Old Kriss, he can't git in,

'Cause ain't no chimbly here at all—

Ist old stovepipe stuck frue the wall!"

I sleeped nen.—An' wuz dreamin' some

When I waked up an' morning's come,—

Fer our Ma she wuz settin' square

Straight up in bed, a-readin' there

Some letter 'at she 'd read, an' quit,

An' nen hold like she's huggin' it.—

An' diamon' ear-rings she don't know

Wuz in her ears tel I say so—

An' wake the rest up. An' the sun

In frue the winder dazzle-un

Them eyes o' Sis's, wiv a sure-

Enough gold chain Old Kriss bringed to 'er!

[134]

An' all of us git gold things!—Sis,

Though, say she know it "ain't Old Kriss—

He kissed her, so she waked an' saw

Him skite out—an' it wuz her Pa."

[135]
[136] 'Along the Brink of Wild Brook-way.' "Along the brink of wild brook-way."

[137]





A SONG OF SINGING

Sing! gangling lad, along the brink

Of wild brook-ways of shoal and deep,

Where killdees dip, and cattle drink,

And glinting little minnows leap!

Sing! slimpsy lass who trips above

And sets the foot-log quivering!

Sing! bittern, bumble-bee, and dove—

Sing! Sing! Sing!

Sing as you will, O singers all

Who sing because you want to sing!

Sing! peacock on the orchard wall,

Or tree-toad by the trickling spring!

Sing! every bird on every bough—

Sing! every living, loving thing—

Sing any song, and anyhow,

But Sing! Sing! Sing!

[138]





THE JAYBIRD

The Jaybird he's my favorite

Of all the birds they is!

I think he's quite a stylish sight

In that blue suit of his:

An' when he' lights an' shuts his wings,

His coat's a "cutaway"—

I guess it's only when he sings

You'd know he wuz a jay.

I like to watch him when he's lit

In top of any tree,

'Cause all birds git wite out of it

When he 'lights, an' they see

How proud he act', an' swell an' spread

His chest out more an' more,

An' raise the feathers on his head

Like it's cut pompadore!

[139] 'I Like to Watch Him.' "I like to watch him."
[140]

[141]





A BEAR FAMILY

Wunst, 'way West in Illinoise,

Wuz two Bears an' their two boys:

An' the two boys' names, you know,

Wuz—like ours is,—Jim an' Jo;

An' their parunts' names wuz same's,

All big grown-up people's names,—

Ist Miz Bear, the neighbers call

'Em, an' Mister Bear—'at's all.

Yes—an' Miz Bear scold him, too,

Ist like grown folks shouldn't do!

Wuz a grea'-big river there,

An', 'crosst that, 's a mountain where

Old Bear said some day he'd go,

Ef she don't quit scoldin'so!

So, one day when he been down

The river, fishin', 'most to town,

An' come back 'thout no fish a-tall,

An' Jim an' Jo they run an' bawl

[142]

An' tell their ma their pa hain't fetch'

No fish,—she scold again an' ketch

Her old broom up an' biff him, too.—

An' he ist cry, an' say, "Boo-hoo!

I told you what I 'd do some day'."

An' he ist turned an' runned away

To where's the grea'-big river there,

An' ist splunged in an' swum to where

The mountain's at, 'way th'other side,

An' clumbed up there. An' Miz Bear cried

An' little Jo an' little Jim—

Ist like their ma—bofe cried fer him!—

But he clumbed on, clean out o' sight,

He wuz so mad!—An' served 'em right!

[143]

Nen—when the Bear got 'way on top

The mountain, he heerd somepin' flop

Its wings—an' somepin' else he heerd

A-rattlin'-like.—An' he wuz skeerd,

An' looked 'way up, an'—Mercy sake!

It wuz a' Eagul an' a SNAKE!

An'-sir! the Snake, he bite an' kill'

The Eagul, an' they bofe fall till

They strike the ground—k'spang-k'spat!

Wite where the Bear wuz standin' at!

An' when here come the Snake at him,

The Bear he think o' little Jim

[144]

An' Jo, he did—an' their ma, too,—

All safe at home; an' he ist flew

Back down the mountain—an' could hear

The old Snake rattlin', sharp an' clear,

Wite clos't behind!—An' Bear he's so

All tired out, by time, you know,

He git down to the river there,

He know' he can't swim back to where

His folks is at. But ist wite nen

He see a boat an' six big men

'At's been a-shootin' ducks: An' so

He skeerd them out the boat, you know,

An' ist jumped in—an' Snake he tried

To jump in, too, but failed outside

Where all the water wuz; an' so

The Bear grabs one the things you row

The boat wiv an' ist whacks the head

Of the old Snake an' kills him dead!—

[145]

An' when he's killed him dead, w'y, nen

The old Snake's drownded dead again!

Nen Bear set in the boat an' bowed

His back an' rowed—an' rowed—an' rowed—

Till he's safe home—so tired he can't

Do nothin' but lay there an' pant

An' tell his childern, "Bresh my coat!"

An' tell his wife, "Go chain my boat!"

An' they're so glad he's back, they say

"They knowed he's comin' thataway

To ist surprise the dear ones there!"

An' Jim an' Jo they dried his hair

An' pulled the burrs out; an' their ma

She ist set there an' helt his paw

Till he wuz sound asleep, an' nen

She tell' him she won't scold again—

Never—never—never—

Ferever an' ferever!

[146]





SOME SONGS AFTER MASTER SINGERS

I

SONG

[W.S.]

With a hey! and a hi! and a hey-ho rhyme!

O the shepherd lad

He is ne'er so glad

As when he pipes, in the blossom-time,

So rare!

While Kate picks by, yet looks not there.

So rare! so rare!

With a hey! and a hi! and a ho!

The grasses curdle where the daisies blow!

With a hey! and a hi! and a hey-ho vow!

Then he sips her face

At the sweetest place—

And ho! how white is the hawthorn now!—

So rare!—

And the daisied world rocks round them there.

So rare! so rare!

With a hey! and a hi! and a ho!

The grasses curdle where the daisies blow!

[147] 'While Kate Picks By, Yet Looks Not There.' "While kate picks by, yet looks not there."
[148]

[149]

II

TO THE CHILD JULIA

[R.H.]

Little Julia, since that we

May not as our elders be,

Let us blithely fill the days

Of our youth with pleasant plays.

First we'll up at earliest dawn,

While as yet the dew is on

The sooth'd grasses and the pied

Blossomings of morningtide;

Next, with rinsed cheeks that shine

As the enamell'd eglantine,

We will break our fast on bread

With both cream and honey spread;

Then, with many a challenge-call,

We will romp from house and hall,

Gypsying with the birds and bees

Of the green-tress'd garden trees.

In a bower of leaf and vine

Thou shalt be a lady fine

Held in duress by the great

Giant I shall personate.

[150]

Next, when many mimics more

Like to these we have played o'er,

[151]

We'll betake us home-along

Hand in hand at evensong.

III

THE DOLLY'S MOTHER

[W.W.]

A little maid, of summers four—

Did you compute her years,—

And yet how infinitely more

To me her age appears:

I mark the sweet child's serious air,

At her unplayful play,—

The tiny doll she mothers there

And lulls to sleep away,

[152]

Grows—'neath the grave similitude—

An infant real, to me,

And she a saint of motherhood

In hale maturity.

So, pausing in my lonely round,

And all unseen of her,

I stand uncovered—her profound

And abject worshipper.

[153] 'Lend Me the Breath of a Freshening Gale.' "Lend me the breath of a freshening gale."
[154]

[155]

IV

WIND OF THE SEA

[A.T.]

Wind of the Sea, come fill my sail—

Lend me the breath of a freshening gale

And bear my port-worn ship away!

For O the greed of the tedious town—

The shutters up and the shutters down!

Wind of the Sea, sweep over the bay

And bear me away!—away!

Whither you bear me, Wind of the Sea,

Matters never the least to me:

Give me your fogs, with the sails adrip,

Or the weltering path thro' the starless night—

On, somewhere, is a new daylight

And the cheery glint of another ship

As its colors dip and dip!

Wind of the Sea, sweep over the bay

And bear me away!—away!

[156]

V

SUBTLETY

[R.B.]

Whilst little Paul, convalescing, was staying

Close indoors, and his boisterous classmates paying

[157]

Him visits, with fresh school-notes and surprises,—

With nettling pride they sprung the word "Athletic,"

With much advice and urgings sympathetic

Anent "Athletic exercises." Wise as

Lad might look, quoth Paul: "I've pondered o'er that

'Athletic,' but I mean to take, before that,

Downstairic and outdooric exercises."

VI

BORN TO THE PURPLE

[W.M.]

Most-like it was this kingly lad

Spake out of the pure joy he had

In his child-heart of the wee maid

Whose eerie beauty sudden laid

A spell upon him, and his words

Burst as a song of any bird's:—

A peerless Princess thou shalt be,

Through wit of love's rare sorcery:

To crown the crown of thy gold hair

Thou shalt have rubies, bleeding there

Their crimson splendor midst the marred

Pulp of great pearls, and afterward

[158]

Leaking in fainter ruddy stains

Adown thy neck-and-armlet-chains

Of turquoise, chrysoprase, and mad

Light-frenzied diamonds, dartling glad

[159]

Swift spirts of shine that interfuse

As though with lucent crystal dews

That glance and glitter like split rays

Of sunshine, born of burgeoning Mays

When the first bee tilts down the lip

Of the first blossom, and the drip

Of blended dew and honey heaves

Him blinded midst the underleaves.

For raiment, Fays shall weave for thee—

Out of the phosphor of the sea

And the frayed floss of starlight, spun

With counterwarp of the firm sun—

A vesture of such filmy sheen

As, through all ages, never queen

Therewith strove truly to make less

One fair line of her loveliness.

Thus gowned and crowned with gems and gold,

Thou shalt, through centuries untold,

Rule, ever young and ever fair,

As now thou rulest, smiling there.

[160]





OLD MAN WHISKERY-WHEE-KUM-WHEEZE

Old Man Whiskery-Whee-Kum-Wheeze

Lives 'way up in the leaves o' trees.

An' wunst I slipped up-stairs to play

In Aunty's room, while she 'uz away;

An' I clumbed up in her cushion-chair

An' ist peeked out o' the winder there;

An' there I saw—wite out in the trees—

Old Man Whiskery-Whee-Kum-Wheeze!

An' Old Man Whiskery-Whee-Kum-Wheeze

Would bow an' bow, with the leaves in the breeze,

An' waggle his whiskers an' raggledy hair,

An' bow to me in the winder there!

An' I 'd peek out, an' he'd peek in

An' waggle his whiskers an' bow ag'in,

Ist like the leaves'u'd wave in the breeze—

Old Man Whiskery-Whee-Kum-Wheeze!

[161] 'Bow to Me in the Winder There!' "Bow to me in the winder there!"
[162]
[163]

An' Old Man Whiskery-Whee-Kum-Wheeze,

Seem-like, says to me: "See my bees

A-bringin' my dinner? An' see my cup

O' locus'-blossoms they've plum' filled up?"

An' "Um-yum, honey!" wuz last he said,

An' waggled his whiskers an' bowed his head;

An' I yells, "Gimme some, won't you, please,

Old Man Whiskery-Whee-Kum-Wheeze?"

[164]





LITTLE-GIRL-TWO-LITTLE-GIRLS

I'm twins, I guess, 'cause my Ma say

I'm two little girls. An' one o' me

Is Good little girl; an' th'other 'n' she

Is Bad little girl as she can be!

An' Ma say so, 'most ever' day.

An' she's the funniest Ma! 'Cause when

My Doll won't mind, an' I ist cry,

W'y, nen my Ma she sob an' sigh,

An' say, "Dear Good little girl, good-bye!—

Bad little girl's comed here again!"

[165]

Last time 'at Ma act' thataway,

I cried all to myse'f awhile

Out on the steps, an' nen I smile,

An' git my Doll all fix' in style,

An' go in where Ma's at, an' say:

"Morning to you, Mommy dear!

Where's that Bad little girl wuz here?

Bad little girl's goned clean away,

An' Good little girl's comed back to stay."

[166]





A GUSTATORY ACHIEVEMENT

Last Thanksgivin'-dinner we

Et at Granny's house, an' she

[167]

Had—ist like she alluz does—

Most an' best pies ever wuz.

Canned black burry-pie an' goose

Burry, squshin'-full o' juice;

An' rozburry—yes, an' plum—

Yes, an' churry-pie—um-yum!

Peach an' punkin, too, you bet.

Lawzy! I kin taste 'em yet!

Yes, an' custard-pie, an' mince!


An'—I—ain't—et—no—pie—since!

[168]





CLIMATIC SORCERY

When frost's all on our winder, an' the snow's

All out-o'-doors, our "Old-Kriss"-milkman goes

A-drivin' round, ist purt'-nigh froze to death,

With his old white mustache froze full o' breath.

But when it's summer an' all warm ag'in,

He comes a-whistlin' an' a-drivin in

Our alley, 'thout no coat on, ner ain't cold,

Ner his mustache ain't white, ner he ain't old.

[169] 'Our 'Old-Kriss'-Milkman.' "Our 'Old-Kriss'-milkman."
[170]

[171]





A PARENT REPRIMANDED

Sometimes I think 'at Parents does

Things ist about as bad as us

[172]

Wite 'fore our vurry eyes, at that!

Fer one time Pa he scold' my Ma

'Cause he can't find his hat;

An' she ist cried, she did! An' I

Says, "Ef you scold my Ma

Ever again an' make her cry,

Wy, you sha'n't be my Pa!"

An' nen he laugh' an' find his hat

Ist wite where Ma she said it's at!

[173]
[174] 'The Childish Dreams in his Wise Old Head.' "The childish dreams in his wise old head."

[175]





THE TREASURE OF THE WISE MAN

O the night was dark and the night was late,

And the robbers came to rob him;

And they picked the locks of his palace-gate,

The robbers that came to rob him—

They picked the locks of his palace-gate,

Seized his jewels and gems of state,

His coffers of gold and his priceless plate,—

The robbers that came to rob him.

But loud laughed he in the morning red!—

For of what had the robbers robbed him?—

Ho! hidden safe, as he slept in bed,

When the robbers came to rob him,—

They robbed him not of a golden shred

Of the childish dreams in his wise old head—

"And they're welcome to all things else," he said,

When the robbers came to rob him.

[176]






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