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I love Old October so, I can't bear to see her go-- Seems to me like losin' some Old-home relative er chum-- 'Pears like sorto' settin' by Some old friend 'at sigh by sigh Was a-pa.s.sin' out o' sight Into everlastin' night!
Hickernuts a feller hears Rattlin' down is more like tears Drappin' on the leaves below-- I love Old October so!
Can't tell what it is about Old October knock me out--!
I sleep well enough at night-- And the blamedest appet.i.te Ever mortal man possessed--, Last thing et, it tastes the best--!
Warnuts, b.u.t.ternuts, pawpaws, 'Iles and limbers up my jaws Fer raal service, sich as new Pork, spareribs, and sausage, too--.
Yit fer all, they's somepin' 'bout Old October knocks me out!
He was jes a plain ever'-day, all-round kind of a jour., Consumpted-Iookin'-- but la!
The jokeiest, wittiest, story-tellin', song-singin', laughin'est, jolliest Feller you ever saw!
Worked at jes coa.r.s.e work, but you kin bet he was fine enough in his talk, And his feelin's too!
Lordy! Ef he was on'y back on his bench ag'in to-day, a- carryin' on Like he ust to do!
Any shopmate'll tell you there never was, on top o' dirt, A better feller'n Jim!
You want a favor, and couldn't git it anywheres else-- You could git it o' him!
Most free-heartedest man thataway in the world, I guess!
Give up ever' nickel he's worth-- And ef you'd a-wanted it, and named it to him, and it was his, He'd a-give you the earth!
Allus a reachin' out, Jim was, and a-he'ppin' some Pore feller onto his feet-- He'd a-never a-keered how hungry he was hisse'f, So's the feller got somepin' to eat!
Didn't make no differ'nce at all to him how he was dressed, He ust to say to me--, "You togg out a tramp purty comfortable in winter-time, a huntin' a job, And he'll git along!" says he.
Jim didn't have, ner never could git ahead, so overly much O' this world's goods at a time--.
'Fore now I've saw him, more'n onc't, lend a dollar, and haf to, more'n likely, Turn round and borry a dime!
Mebby laugh and joke about it hisse'f fer awhile-- then jerk his coat, And kindo' square his chin, Tie on his apern, and squat hisse'f on his old shoe-bench, And go to peggin' ag'in!
Patientest feller too, I reckon, 'at ever jes natchurly Coughed hisse'f to death!
Long enough after his voice was lost he'd laugh in a whisper and say He could git ever'thing but his breath-- "You fellers," he'd sorto' twinkle his eyes and say, "Is a-pilin' onto me A mighty big debt fer that-air little weak-chested ghost o' mine to pack Through all Eternity!"
Now there was a man 'at jes 'peared-like, to me, 'At ortn't a-never a-died!
"But death hain't a-showin' no favors," the old boss said-- "On'y to Jim!" and cried: And Wigger, who puts up the best sewed-work in the shop-- Er the whole blame neighborhood--, He says, "When G.o.d made Jim, I bet you He didn't do anything else that day But jes set around and feel good!"
_To Robert Burns_
Sweet Singer that I loe the maist O' ony, sin' wi' eager haste I smacket bairn-lips ower the taste O' hinnied sang, I hail thee, though a blessed ghaist In Heaven lang!
For weel I ken, nae cantie phrase, Nor courtly airs, nor lairdly ways, Could gar me freer blame, or praise, Or proffer hand, Where "Rantin' Robbie" and his lays Thegither stand.
And sae these hamely lines I send, Wi' jinglin' words at ilka end, In echo o' the sangs that wend Frae thee to me Like simmer-brooks, wi mony a bend O' wimplin' glee.
In fancy, as wi' dewy een, I part the clouds aboon the scene Where thou wast born, and peer atween, I see nae spot In a' the Hielands half sae green And unforgot?
I see nae storied castle-hall, Wi' banners flauntin' ower the wall And serf and page in ready call, Sae grand to me As ane puir cotter's hut, wi' all Its poverty.
There where the simple daisy grew Sae bonnie sweet, and modest too, Thy liltin' filled its wee head fu'
O' sic a grace, It aye is weepin' tears o' dew Wi' droopit face.
Frae where the heather bluebells fling Their sangs o' fragrance to the Spring, To where the lavrock soars to sing, Still lives thy strain, For' a' the birds are twittering Sangs like thine ain.
And aye, by light o' sun or moon, By banks o' Ayr, or Bonnie Doon, The waters lilt nae tender tune But sweeter seems Because they poured their limpid rune Through a' thy dreams.
Wi' brimmin' lip, and laughin' ee, Thou shookest even Grief wi' glee, Yet had nae n.i.g.g.art sympathy Where Sorrow bowed, But gavest a' thy tears as free As a' thy gowd.
And sae it is we be thy name To see bleeze up wi' sic a flame, That a' pretentious stars o' fame Maun blink asklent, To see how simple worth may shame Their brightest glent.
_A New Year's Time at Willards's_
1 The Hired Man Talks
There's old man Willards; an' his wife; An' Marg'et-- S'repty's sister--; an'
There's me-- an' I'm the hired man; An' Tomps McClure, you better yer life!
Well now, old Willards hain't so bad, Considerin' the chance he's had.
Of course, he's rich, an' sleeps an' eats Whenever he's a mind to: Takes An' leans back in the Amen-seats An' thanks the Lord fer all he makes--.
That's purty much all folks has got Ag'inst the old man, like as not!
But there's his woman-- jes the turn Of them-air two wild girls o' hern-- Marg'et an' S'repty-- allus in Fer any cuttin'-up concern-- Church festibals, and foolishin'
Round Christmas-trees, an' New Year's sprees-- Set up to watch the Old Year go An' New Year come-- sich things as these; An' turkey-dinners, don't you know!
S'repty's younger, an' more gay, An' purtier, an' finer dressed Than Marg'et is-- but, lawzy-day!
She hain't the independentest!
"Take care!" old Willards used to say, "Take care--! Let Marg'et have her way, An' S'repty, you go off an' play On your melodeum--!" But, best Of all, comes Tomps! An' I'll be bound, Ef he hain't jes the beatin'est Young chap in all the country round!
Ef you knowed Tomps you'd like him, sh.o.r.e!
They hain't no man on top o' ground Walks into my affections more--!
An' all the Settlement'll say That Tomps was liked jes thataway By ever'body, till he tuk A shine to S'repty Willards--. Then You'd ort'o see the old man buck An' h'ist hisse'f, an' paw the dirt, An' hint that "common workin'-men That didn't want their feelin's hurt 'Ud better hunt fer 'comp'ny' where The folks was pore an' didn't care--!"
The pine-blank facts is--, the old man, Last Christmas was a year ago, Found out some presents Tomps had got Fer S'repty, an' hit made him hot-- Set down an' tuk his pen in hand An' writ to Tomps an' told him so On legal cap, in white an' black, An' give him jes to understand "No Christmas-gifts o' 'lily-white'
An' bear's-ile could fix matters right,"
An' wropped 'em up an' sent 'em back!
Well, S'repty cried an' snuffled round Consid'able. But Marg'et she Toed out another sock, an' wound Her knittin' up, an' drawed the tea, An' then set on the supper-things, An' went up in the loft an' dressed-- An' through it all you'd never guessed What she was up to! An' she brings Her best hat with her an her shawl, An' gloves, an' redicule, an' all, An' injirubbers, an' comes down An' tells 'em she's a-goin' to town To he'p the Christmas goin's-on Her Church got up. An' go she does-- The best hosswoman ever was!
"An" what'll We do while you're gone?"
The old man says, a-tryin' to be Agreeable. "Oh! You?" says she--, "You kin jaw S'repty, like you did, An' slander Tomps!" An' off she rid!
Now, this is all I'm goin' to tell Of this-here story-- that is, I Have done my very level best As fur as this, an' here I "dwell,"
As auctioneers says, winkin' sly: Hit's old man Willards tells the rest.
2 The Old Man Talks
Adzackly jes one year ago, This New Year's day, Tomps comes to me-- In my own house, an' whilse the folks Was gittin' dinner--, an' he pokes His nose right in, an' says, says he: "I got yer note-- an' read it slow!
You don't like me, ner I don't you,"
He says--, "we're even there, you know!
But you've said, furder that no gal Of yourn kin marry me, er shall, An' I'd best shet off comin', too!"
An' then he says--, "Well, them's Your views--; But havin' talked with S'repty, we Have both agreed to disagree With your peculiar notions-- some; An', that s the reason, I refuse To quit a-comin' here, but come-- Not fer to threat, ner raise no skeer An' spile yer turkey-dinner here--, But jes fer S'repty's sake, to sheer Yer New Year's. Shall I take a cheer?"
Well, blame-don! Ef I ever see Sich impidence! I couldn't say Not nary word! But Mother she Sot out a cheer fer Tomps, an' they Shuk hands an' turnt their back on me.
Then I riz-- mad as mad could be--!
But Marg'et says--, "Now, Pap! You set Right where you're settin'--! Don't you fret!
An' Tomps-- you warm yer feet!" says she, "An throw yer mitts an' comfert on The bed there! Where is S'repty gone!
The cabbage is a-scortchin'! Ma, Stop cryin' there an' stir the slaw!"