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The barb'ry droops its strings o' golden flowers, Whose shrinkin' hearts the schoolgals love to try With pins,
they'll worry yourn so, boys, bimeby! But I don't love your cat'logue style, - do you?
Ez ef to sell off Natur' by vendoo; One word with blood in't's ez twice ez good ez two: 'Nuff sed, June's bridesman, poet o' the year, Gladness on wings, the bobolink, is here; Half-hid in tip-top apple-blooms he swings,
Or climbs aginst the breeze with quiverin' wings, Or, givin' way to't in a mock despair,
Runs down, a brook o' laughter, thru the air.
I ollus feel the sap start in my veins In Spring, with curus heats an' prickly pains,
Thet drive me, when I git a chance, to walk
Off by myself to hev a privit talk With a queer critter thet can't seem to 'gree
Along o' me like most folks, - Mister Me.
Ther' is times when I'm unsoshle ez a stone,
An' sort o' suffocate to be alone, I'm crowded jes' to think thet folks are nigh,
An' can't bear nothin' closer than the sky;
Now the wind's full ez shifty in the mind
Ez wut it is ou'-doors, ef I ain't blind,
An, sometimes, in the fairest souwest weather,
My inward vane pints east for weeks together,
My natur' gits all goose-flesh, an' my sins
Come drizzlin' on sharp ez pins: Wal, et sech times I jes' slip out o'
An' take it out in a fair stan' up fight With the one cuss I can't lay on the shelf,
The crook'dest stick in all the heap,-myself.
To gret men, some on 'em an' deacons, tu;
'Tain't used no longer, coz the town hez gut
A high-school, where they teach the
We thriv' ez wal on jes' two stories less,
For it strikes me ther's sech a thing ez sinnin'
By overloadin' children's underpinnin':
Wal, here it wuz I larned my A, B, C, An' it's a kind o' favorite spot with
We're curus critters: Now ain't jes' the minute That ever fits us easy while we're in it; Long ez 'twuz futur', 'twould be perfect bliss,
Soon ez it's past, thet time's wuth ten o' this;
An' yit there ain't a man thet need be told Thet Now's the only bird lays eggs o' gold.
A knee-high lad, I used to plot an' plan
An' think 'twuz life's cap-sheaf to be a man;
Now, gittin' gray, there's nothin' I enjoy
Like dreamin' back along into a boy:
So the ole school'us' is a place I choose
Afore all others, ef I want to muse; I set down where I used to set, an' git My boyhood back, an' better things with it,
Faith, Hope, an' sunthin', ef it isn't Cherrity,
It's want o' guile, an' thet's ez gret a rerrity.
Now, 'fore I knowed, thet Sabbath
Thinkin' o' nothin', I've heerd ole folks say,
Is a hard kind o' dooty in its way: It's thinkin' every thin' you ever knew,
Or ever hearn, to make your feelins blue.
I sot there tryin' thet on for a spell: I thought o' the Rebellion, then o' Hell,
Which some folks tell ye now is jes' a metterfor,
(A the'ry, p'raps, it wun't feel none the better for);
I thought o' Reconstruction, wut we'd win
Patchin' our patent self-blow-up agin:
I thought of this 'ere milkin' o' the wits, So
much a month, warn't givin' Natur' fits,
Thet I sot out to tramp myself in tune,
I found me in the school'us' on my seat, Drummin' the march to No-wheres with my feet.
But now I'm gittin' on in life, I find It's a sight harder to make up my mind, Nor I don't often try tu, when events
Will du it for me free of all expense. The moral question's ollus plain enough,
It's jes' the human-natur' side thet's tough;
Wut's best to think mayn't puzzle me nor you,
The pinch comes in decidin' wut to du;
Ef you read History, all runs smooth ez grease,
Coz there the men ain't nothin' more'n idees, —
But come to make it, ez we must today,
Th' idees hev arms an' legs, an' stop the way: It's easy fixin' things in facts an' figgers, They can't resist, nor warn't brought up with niggers;
But come to try your the'ry on,why, then
"Smite 'em hip
Your facts an' figgers change to ign'ant men Actin' ez ugly" an' thigh!" Sez gran'ther, "an' let every manchild die!
Oh for three weeks o' Crommle an' the Lord!
Up, Isr'el, to your tents an' grind the sword!"
"Thet kind o' thing worked wal in ole Judee,
But you forgit how long it's ben
A thing," sez I, "wun't cover soul nor body;
I like the plain all-wool o' common
ain't to punish only, but to keep,
An' the cure's gut to go a cent'ry deep." "Wal, milk-an'-water ain't the best o' glue,'
Sez he, an' so you'll find before you're thru;
Ef reshness venters sunthin', shillyshally
Lozes ez often wut's ten times the vally.
Thet exe of ourn, when Charles's neck gut split,
Opened a gap thet ain't bridged over yit:
Thet warms ye now, an' will a twelvemonth hence.
You took to follerin' where the Prophets beckoned,
An,' fust you knowed on, back come Charles the Second;
Now wut I want's to hev all we gain
stick, An' not to start Millennium too quick;
Slav'ry's your Charles, the Lord hez gin the exe"
"Our Charles," sez I, "hez gut eight million necks.
The hardest question ain't the black man's right,
The trouble is to 'mancipate the white;
One's chained in body an' can be sot free,
But t'other's chained in soul to an idee:
It's a long job, but we shall worry thru it;
Ef bag'nets fail, the spellin'-book must du it." "Hosee," sez he, "I think you're goin' to fail:
The rettlesnake ain't dangerous in the tail;
This 'ere rebellion's nothin' but the rettle,
You'll stomp on thet an' think you've won the bettle;
Slavery thet's the fangs an' thinkin' head,
ef you want selvation, cresh it dead,
cresh it suddin, or you'll larn by waitin' Thet Chance wun't stop to listen to debatin'!"God's truth!' sez 1, "an' ef I held the club,
An' knowed jes' where to strike, but there's the rub!” "Strike soon," sez he, “or you'll be deadly ailin', Folks thet's afeared to fail are sure o' failin';
God hates your sneakin' creturs thet