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Thet sheered their cousins' tastes an'
sheered the sheep; They sez, “Be gin'rous, let 'em swear right
in, An', ef they backslide, let 'em swear ag'in; Jes' let 'em put on sheep - skins whilst
they ’re swearin'; To ask for more 'ould be beyond all bear
in'." “ Be gin'rous for yourselves, where you 're Thet 's the best prectice," sez a shepherd
gray; “ Ez for their oaths they wun't be wuth a
button, Long 'Z
don't cure 'em o' their taste for mutton; Th' ain't but one solid
howe'er you puzzle: Tell they ’re convarted, let 'em wear a
muzzle." (Cries of “Bully for you !"]
The winnin' horse is goin' to be Secesh; You might, las' spring, hev eas'ly walked
the course, 'fore we contrived to doctor th' Union
horse; Now we 're the ones to walk aroun' the
nex' track: Jest you take hol' an' read the follerin' ex
trac', Out of a letter I received last week From an ole frien' thet never sprung a
leak, A Nothun Dem'crat o' th' ole Jarsey blue, Born copper-sheathed an' copper-fastened
I've noticed thet each half-baked scheme's
abetters Are in the hebbit o' producin' letters Writ by all sorts o never-heared-on fel
lers, 'bout ez oridge'nal ez the wind in bellers; I 've noticed, tu, it 's the quack med'cine
gits (An' needs) the grettest heaps o'stiffykits;
(Two pothekeries goes out.] Now, sence I lef' off creepin' on all fours, I hain't ast no man to endorse my course; It 's full ez cheap to be your own endorser, An' ef I 've made a cup, I 'll fin' the
saucer; But I've some letters here from t'other side, An’them's the sort thet helps me to decide; Tell me for wut the copper-comp'nies
hanker, An' I'll tell you jest where it 's safe to anchor.
[Faint hiss.] Fus’ly the Hon'ble B. O. Sawin writes Thet for a spell he could n't sleep o'
nights, Puzzlin' which side wuz preudentest to pin
to, Which wuz th’ ole homestead, which the
temp’ry leanto; Et fust hé jedged 't would right-side-up To come out ez a 'ridge'nal Union man, “ But now,” he sez, “I ain't nut quite so
“ Afore the war your mod'rit men
[Groan from Deac'n G.)
“ Ask Mac ef tryin' to set the fence
(Three cheers for Grant and Sherman.) “Come peace, I sposed thet folks 'ould
But the drag 's broke, now slavery 's gone, An' there 's gret resk they 'll blunder on, Ef they ain't stopped, to real Democ'cy.
“We've gut an awful row to hoe
“ Jes' to hold on till Johnson 's thru
“ No white man sets in airth's broad aisle
« Oh, did it seem 'z ef Providunce
“ Wut is there lef? I'd like to know,
Thet tells the story! Thet 's wut we shall
git By tryin' squirtguns on the burnin' Pit; For the day never comes when it ’ll du To kick off Dooty like a worn-out shoe. I seem to hear a whisperin' in the air, A sighin' like, of unconsoled despair, Thet comes from nowhere an' from every
where, An' seems to say, “Why died we? warn't
it, then, To settle, once for all, thet men wuz men ? Oh, airth's sweet cup snetched from us
barely tasted, The grave's real chill is feelin' life wuz
wasted ! Oh, you we lef', long-lingerin' et the door, Lovin' you best, coz we loved Her the
more, Thet Death, not we, had conquered, we
should feel Ef she upon our memory turned her heel, An' unregretful throwed us all away To flaunt it in a Blind Man's Holiday !”
“So fur I'd writ an' could n' jedge
My frien's, I've talked nigh on to long
enough. I hain't no call to bore ye coz ye're tough; My lungs are sound, an' our own rice
delights Our ears, but even kebbige-heads hez
rights. It's the las' time thet I shell e'er address ye, But you 'll soon fin' some new tormentor:
! (Tumult'ous applause and cries of " Go on!" " Don't stop!”]
UNDER THE WILLOWS AND OTHER POEMS
“THE WILLows,” as was pointed out in the night I fairly ended my work.:.: I had deintroductory note to An Indian-Summer Rev- cided to put the “ June Idyl” in the forefront erie, was a clump of trees not far from Elm- and call it " A June Idyl, and Other Poems." wood. Lowell took a peculiar pleasure in their But Fields told me thaWhittier's new volume gnarled and umbrageous forms, and wrote to was to be called “A Summer Idyl ” - so I Fields while the volume which took its title was blocked there. Then I took “ Applefrom the trees was in press : “My heart was dore,” merely because it was a pretty name, almost broken yesterday by seeing nailed to though I did not wish to put that in the van. my willow a board with these words on it, So it was all settled for the second time. Then * These trees for sale. The wretch is going I was suddenly moved to finish my “ Voyage to peddle them for firewood! If I had the to Vinland,” . . . and, as I liked the poem, money, I would buy the piece of ground they thought no title so good as
The Voyage stand on to save them — the dear friends of a to Vinland, and Other Poems." But Fields lifetime. They would be a loss to the town. would not hear of it, and proposed that I But what can one do? They belong to a man should rechristen the Idyl "Elmwood,” and who values them by the cord. I wish Fenn name the book after that. But the more I had sketched them at least. One of them thought of it the less I liked it. It was throwI hope will stand a few years yet in my poem ing my sanctuary open and making a show
- but he might just as well have outlasted house of my hermitage. It was indecent. So me and my works, making his own green I fumed and worried. I was riled. Then it ode every summer.” Not all the trees have occurred to me that I had taken the name of been destroyed, for some yet remain, and it “June Idyl” as a pis-aller, because in my is a pleasure to record the refusal of a new haste I could think of nuthing else. Why not comer into the neighborhood to have one de- name it over ? So I hit upon “Under the stroyed which was inconveniently near thc site Willows," and that it is to be. ... But it is of the house she was to build. She changed, awfully depressing work. They call back so instead, the site.
many moods, and they are so bad. I think, The varying minds Lowell was in regarding though, there is a suggestion of something the title of the volume may be learned from good in them at least, and they are not silly. the following letter to C. E. Norton, dated But how much the public will stand! I some
times wonder they don't drive all us authors ELMWOOD, October 7, 1868.
into a corner and make a battue of the whole “The summer is past, the harvest is concern at once. ended," and I have not yet written to you ! Well, I was resolved I would not write till In making the collection, the first miscellanethe printers had in their hands all the copy of ous one since the Poems published in 1849, Lowmy new volume of old poems. And that has ell gathered not only those published meantaken longer than I expected. I have been while in magazines and other periodicals, but Marthaized by many small troubles. But last went back and recovered some earlier verses.
TO CHARLES ELIOT NORTON
We knew you child and youth and man,
times have you sat at gaze
“O dream - ship-builder! where are they Pipe blown through by the warm wild all,
breath of the West Your grand three-deckers, deep-chested Shepherding his soft droves of fleecy cloud, and tall,
Gladness of woods, skies, waters, all in That should crush the waves under canvas
The bobolink has come, and, like the soul And anchor at last by the Fortunate Isles ? Of the sweet season vocal in a bird, There's gray in your beard, the years turn Gurgles in ecstasy we know not what foes,
Save June ! Dear June! Now God be While you muse in your arm-chair, and praised for June. toast your toes.”
May is a pious fraud of the almanac, I sit and dream that I bear, as of yore, A ghastly parody of real Spring My Elmwood chimneys' deep-throated Shaped out of snow and breathed with roar ;
eastern wind; If much be gone, there is much remains ; Or if, o'er-confident, she trust the date, By the embers of loss I count my gains, And, with her handful of anemones, You and yours with the best, till the old Herself as shivery, steal into the sun, hope glows
The season need but turn his hour-glass In the fanciful flame, as I toast my toes.
And Winter suddenly, like crazy Lear, Instead of a fleet of broad-browed ships, Reels back, and brings the dead May in To send a child's armada of chips! Instead of the great guns, tier on tier, Her budding breasts and wan dislustred A freight of pebbles and grass - blades
With frosty streaks and drifts of bis white “ Well, maybe more love with the less gift
All overblown. Then, warmly walled with I growl, as, half moody, I toast my toes.
books, While my wood-fire supplies the sun's de
fect, UNDER THE WILLOWS Whispering old forest-sagas in its dreams,
I take my May down from the happy FRANK-HEARTED hostess of the field and
Where perch the world's rare song-birds in Gypsy, whose roof is every spreading tree,
a row, June is the pearl of our New England Waiting my choice to open with full breast, year.
And beg an alms of springtime, ne'er deStill a surprisal, though expected long,
nied Her coming startles. Long she lies in Indoors by vernal Chaucer, whose fresh wait,
woods Makes many a feint, peeps forth, draws Throb thick with merle and mavis all the coyly back,
year. Then, from some southern ambush in the sky,
July breathes hot, sallows the crispy fields, With one great gush of blossom storms the Curls up the wan leaves of the lilac-hedge, world.
And every eve cheats us with show of clouds A week ago the sparrow was divine; That braze the horizon's western rim, or The bluebird, shifting his light load of hang song
Motionless, with heaped canvas drooping From post to post along the cheerless idly, fence,
Like a dim fleet by starving men besieged, Was as a rhymer ere the poet come ; Conjectured half, and half descried afar, But now, ob rapture ! sunshine winged and Helpless of wind, and seeming to slip back voiced,
Adown the smooth curve of the oily sea.
But June is full of invitations sweet, A tree among my far progenitors, Forth from the chimney's yawn and thrice- Such sympathy is mine with all the race, read tomes
Such mutual recognition vaguely sweet To leisurely delights and sauntering There is between us. Surely there are thoughts
times That brook no ceiling narrower than the When they consent to own me of their blue.
kin, The cherry, drest for bridal, at my pane And condescend to me, and call me cousin, Brushes, then listens, Will he come? The Murmuring faint lullabies of eldest time, bee,
Forgotten, and yet dumbly felt with thrills All dusty as a miller, takes his toll
Moving the lips, though fruitless of all Of powdery gold, and grumbles. What a
And I have many a lifelong leafy friend, To sun me and do nothing! Nay, I think Never estranged nor careful of my soul, Merely to bask and ripen is sometimes That knows I hate the axe, and welcomes The student's wiser business ; the brain That forages all climes to line its cells, Within his tent as if I were a bird, Ranging both worlds on lightest wings of Or other free companion of the earth, wish,
Yet undegenerate to the shifts of men. Will not distil the juices it has sucked Among them one, an ancient willow, To the sweet substance of pellucid thought, spreads Except for him who hath the secret learned Eight balanced limbs, springing at once all To mix his blood with sunshine, and to
His deep-ridged trunk with upward slant The winds into his pulses. Hush! 't is diverse, he!
In outline like enormous beaker, fit My oriole, my glance of summer fire, For hand of Jotun, where mid snow and Is come at last, and, ever on the watch,
mist Twitches the packthread I had lightly He holds unwieldy revel. This tree, spared, wound
I know not by what grace, for in the About the bough to help his housekeep
Of our New World subduers lingers yet Twitches and scouts by turns, blessing his Hereditary feud with trees, they being luck,
(They and the red-man most) our fathers' Yet fearing me who laid it in his way,
foes, Nor, more than wiser we in our affairs, Is one of six, a willow Pleiades, Divines the providence that hides and helps. The seventh fallen, that lean along the Heave, ho! Heave, ho! he whistles as the
Where the steep upland dips into the marsh, Slackens its hold; once more, now! and a Their roots, like molten metal cooled in flash
flowing, Lightens across the sunlight to the elm Stiffened in coils and runnels down the Where his mate dangles at her cup of
The friend of all the winds, wide-armed he Nor all his booty is the thread; he trails
towers My loosened thought with it along the And glints his steely aglets in the sun, air,
Or whitens fitfully with sudden bloom And I must follow, would I ever find Of leaves breeze-lifted, much as when a The inward rhyme to all this wealth of
Of devions minnows wheel from where a
pike I care not how men trace their ancestry, Lurks balanced 'neath the lily-pads, and To ape or Adam: let them please their
A rood of silver bellies to the day. But I in June am midway to believe Alas! no acorn from the British oak