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- Old Spookses' Pass - 30/37 -

He saved his soul and saved his pork, With old time preservation; He did not hold with creosote, Or new plans of salvation; He said that "Works would show the man," "The smoke-house tell upon the ham!"

He didn't, when he sunk a well, Inspect the stuns and gravel; To prove that Moses was a dunce, Unfit for furrin travel; He marvell'd at them works of God-- An' broke 'em up to mend the road!

And when the Circus come around, He hitch'd his sleek old horses; And in his rattling wagon took His dimpl'd household forces-- The boys to wonder at the Clown, And think his fate Life's highest crown.

He wondered at the zebras wild, Nor knew 'em painted donkeys; An' when he gave the boys a dime For cakes to feed the monkeys, He never thought, in any shape, He had descended from an ape!

And when he saw some shallow-pate, With smallest brain possession, He uttered no filosofy On Nature's retrogression. To ancient types, by Darwin's rule, He simply said, "Wal, darn a fool."

He never had an enemy, But once a year to meetin', When he and Deacon Maybee fought On questions of free seatin'; Or which should be the one t' rebuke Pastor for kissin' sister Luke.

His farm was well enough, but stones Kind of stern, ruthless facts is; An' he jest made out to save a mite, An' pay his righteous taxes, An' mebbe tote some flour an' pork To poor old critters past their work.

But on the neatest thing he hed Around the place or dwellin', I guess he never paid a red Of taxes. No mush melon Was rounder, sweeter, pinker than The old Man's daughter, Minta Ann.

I've been at Philadelfy's show An' other similar fusses, An' seen a mighty sight of stone, Minarveys and Venusses; An' Sikeys clad in flowers an' wings, But not much show of factory things.

I've seen the hull entire crowd Of Jove's female relations, An' I feel to make a solemn swear On them thar "Lamentations," That as a sort of general plan I'd rather spark with Minta Ann!

You'd ought to see her dimpled chin, With one red freckle on it, Her brown eyes glancing underneath Her tilted shaker bonnet. I vow, I often did desire, They'd set the plaguey thing a-fire!

You'd ought to hear that gal sing On Sabbath, up to meetin', You'd kind of feel high lifted up, Your soul for Heaven fleetin'. And then--came supper, down she'd tie You to this earth with pumpkin pie!

I tell you, stranger, 'twas a sight For poetry and speeches, To see her sittin' on the stoop, A-peelin' scarlet peaches, Inter the kettle at her feet,-- I tell you, 'twas a show complete!

Drip, droppin' thro' the rustlin' vine, The sunbeams came a flittin'; An' sort of danced upon the floor, Chas'd by the tabby kitten; Losh! to see the critter's big surprise, When them beams slipped into Minta's eyes!

An' down her brow her pretty hair Cum curlin', crinklin', creepin', In leetle, yaller mites of rings, Inter them bright eyes, peepin', Es run the tendrils of the vine, To whar the merry sunbeams shine.

But losh! her smile was dreadful shy, An' kept her white lids under; Jest as when darkens up the sky An' growls away the thunder; Them skeery speckled trout will hide Beneath them white pond lilies' pride!

An' then her heart, 'twas made clar through Of Californy metal, Chock full of things es sugar sweet Es a presarvin' kettle. The beaux went crazed fur menny a mile When I got thet kettle on the bile.

The good old deacon's gone to whar Thar ain't no wild contentions On Buildin' Funds' Committees and No taxes nor exemptions. Yet still I sort of feel he preaches, And Minta Ann preserves my peaches.


"O soft, small cloud, the dim, sweet dawn adorning, Swan-like a-sailing on its tender grey; Why dost thou, dost thou float, So high, the wing'd, wild note Of silver lamentation from my dark and pulsing throat May never reach thee, Tho' every note beseech thee To bend thy white wings downward thro' the smiling of the morning, And by the black wires of my prison lightly stray?

"O dear, small cloud, when all blue morn is ringing With sweet notes piped from other throats than mine; If those glad singers please The tall and nodding trees-- If to them dance the pennants of the swaying columbine, If to their songs are set The dance of daffodil and trembling violet-- Will they pursue thee With tireless wings as free and bold as thine? Will they woo thee With love throbs in the music of their singing? Ah, nay! fair Cloud, ah, nay! Their hearts and wings will stay With yellow bud of primrose and soft blush of the May; Their songs will thrill and die, Tranc'd in the perfume of the rose's breast. While I must see thee fly With white, broad, lonely pinions down the sky.

"O fair, small cloud, unheeding o'er me straying, Jewell'd with topaz light of fading stars; Thy downy edges red As the great eagle of the Dawn sails high And sets his fire-bright head And wind-blown pinions towards thy snowy breast; And thou canst blush while I Must pierce myself with song and die On the bald sod behind my prison bars; Nor feel upon my crest Thy soft, sunn'd touches delicately playing!

"O fair, small cloud, grown small as lily flow'r! Even while I smite the bars to see thee fade; The wind shall bring thee The strain I sing thee-- I, in wired prison stay'd, Worse than the breathless primrose glade. That in my morn, I shrilly sang to scorn; I'll burst my heart up to thee in this hour!

"O fair, small cloud, float nearer yet and hear me! A prison'd lark once lov'd a snowy cloud, Nor did the Day With sapphire lips, and kiss Of summery bliss, Draw all her soul away; Vainly the fervent East Deck'd her with roses for their bridal feast; She would not rest In his red arms, but slipp'd adown the air And wan and fair, Her light foot touch'd a purple mountain crest, And touching, turn'd Into swift rain, that like to jewels burn'd; In the great, wondering azure of the sky; And while a rainbow spread

Old Spookses' Pass - 30/37

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