Serious, Sentimental, Patriotic,
JOHN BLAIR, Jun.
PRINTED BY W. MEEK, BOOK AND JOB PRINTER.
Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada, in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five, by JOHN BLAIR, in the office of the Minister of Agriculture. [unnumbered page]
It was not (originally) my intention to have my poems (if they be worthy of the name) placed before the public in the form of a book; but a number of my most zealous friends have urged me to such a pitch that I have consented to have them printed. I confess that I feel almost in the position of an intruder in attempting it, knowing the unmerciful criticism to which they will be exposed if they should at all be distributed. To those critically inclined, I would ask the following favors, viz: Be fair and be truthful; do not condemn without a thought, or belittle just for the sake of gratifying that selfish spirit that exists in us all. If, in criticising my book, such criticism is governed by a desire to do good, and a feeling of good-will is predominant, I will promise, for my part, to try and reconcile myself to it and be profited therefrom. My book will most probably be noted for its want of precise and flowery language, but for this defect I have what I hope may be an acceptable excuse, viz: I have not had the opportunity of attending to my educational wants, being kept almost constantly employed at hard labor; but I have the consolation of knowing that, however plainly and coarsely they may have been put together, they are for the most part founded on some truthful basis, though it would be impossible for any person laying the smallest claim to the poetic, to entirely rid him or herself of the imaginative. The part of my rhythmical productions [unnumbered page] relating to, or connected with the political arena of this day, is where (most likely) the fault will be found of being too free with names of persons, and where my want of decorum will be easily discerned; but I hope to find a way out in this wise, viz: The names are those of great political luminaries, whose time is almost altogether taken up with great questions of state, and who will not likely have time to spare to pursue the book into which their names have been placed without authority or permission; is case their eyes should chance to scan its contents, and they find anything therein contained which does not agree with their political faith, I hope my humble position in life will be a fitting security against any revengeful thoughts that may cross their brain. The rest of my book is composed of serious, sentimental, panegyric and humorous pieces, and I place them before you unceremoniously, in a plain and simple manner, having no desire to gain a living or make money with it, only hoping to clear myself and friends in the effort, and to find the book over which I have passed many anxious and pleasant hours, not a cause of obstruction or a detriment to me. If, beyond that, I shall have succeeded in helping any of my fellow travellers through this vale of woe to a buoyant and pleasant hour, or assisted them in forming happy ideas, I will consider myself well repaid. As near as I can recall, (where it is necessary,) I will give you the origin of different pieces at their heading, to assist you in catching the meaning. Every poem in my book (except where another name is given or explained beforehand) can be depended on as purely and entirely of my own composing. I should be sorry if any doubts as to the originality of my poems were entertained, and I here invite any of the readers of [page 4] this book who may hear the doubt expressed about any verse contained therein (which is not explained as aforesaid,) to come to me for explanation. I do not make the above statement with a spirit of overbearing pride in the contents, for, although I love my pieces for that they are, I am perfectly aware of what they are not. I am more encouraged in this attempt, believing in the spirit of fairness which seems to rule at the present day, and the encouragement simple and uneducated men receive from places whence, at one time, it were useless to expect it; believing, also, that we are approaching a time when common sense will rule; and that our educational system will be simplified to a great extent, when those we look to for instruction will engage their brain with the task of finding something naturally useful and easy to learn, instead of trying to puzzle us with something almost entirely useless. I will just say, in conclusion, that I scarcely expect this book to take a place among the literature of Canada, but hoping it may be received and read with a spirit of forgiveness for the wrong contained, and any that may be considered worthy will receive a fair share of credit, I now uncover my pieces before you, and remain
JOHN BLAIR, Jr. [page 5]
This book which now I offer you, Is full of incidents, all true; Though it may want a poet’s powers, ’Twill pass you many pleasant hours. We canvass first my native place; My book, accepted with good grace Or found within the smallest worth, Then, I am not in vain on earth. I don’t remember; I have been thinking, If such attempt was made in Lincoln. But, from the sapling springs the tree; Some one must start it: why not me? Of course, I’m nothing great, you know; Born, down at the old Port below. That I have had to work and hammer; Had not much time to study grammar. Still, those defects you’ll overlook, And take good care of my first book. Read carefully, each line and column, While I get out another volume.
J. B. [unnumbered page]
Canada! the land that gave me birth, Scenes of friendship, love and mirth Through thee abound. Thy like to me is not defined, Though there will others more refined On earth be found. My pride is centred in thy lakes. I’ve often sung of the land o’cakes, But now to you: I love thy rustic plains and hills, Thy mountains my heart with rapture fills, As them I view. Thy rivers, great and murmuring streams, Where lovers linger and commerce steams, Are all adored By me, thy poor and humble bard, Whom fortune deals with sometimes hard, Still can afford To spare an hour or two of time To praise thee in the form of rhyme, And all well-meant; So, if thou see’st fit, accept the same; Though thou may never know his name, He’ll be content. I’ve heard at times thou’st been missed, And by our statesmen been abused, For love of power; Yet, thou hast prospered through it all, [page 7] And witnessed them in their downfall, And saw them cower. When the invaders to themselves presented, Thy courage then was represented In General Brock, And the brave men then with him found, Who, when outnumbered, stood their ground, Firm as a rock. They fought like heroes, and did prevail, But thou had’st cause then to bewail;— The patriot fell. His memory with thee will always last, His name is printed, strong and fast, On yonder hill. Later, while memory yet was damp, Traitors were found within the camp, And growing bold. Watchful sons of honor, soon astir, Proclaimed to them you surely were Not to be sold. Your statesmen bravely stood their post, And drove the traitors from your coast;— Them I respect. If it should happen again in time, I’ll help to drive them ’cross the line, Or them dissect. Not long ago, the Fenian pack, With ugly varmints at their back, Thought to intrude; [page 8] But they were told, and understood, That you were not in humor good, Nor trifling mood. O Canada! may I love thee ever. Should I have cause from thee to sever, I’ll think of thee. I wish, as this verse now I seal, That you may ne’er be made to feel Ashamed of me. [page 9]
Have you ever thought of childhood’s days, Of the many loves, and joys, and plays? For even now my fancy strays To scenes well back, When stories were told that would amaze Most any pack. When boys, sitting on the green at night, Each one bragging of his own kite, The largest would the smallest fright Into submission. And though the smallest were often right, Found but derision. Sometimes, I think ’tis the same to-day, Only, rich and poor take sides and play. The rich must have all their own way; The poor, humble man, Must pass unheeded, have little to say, And bear as he can. But brighter thoughts go back to school, Where all are taught by the same rule, Where all sit on one kind of stool; That’s where to find No partiality,—the wise and the fool Depends on his mind. I ask you, come with me up a few years, Just when you begin to notice the dears, When, may be, you’re full of doubts and fears About some one’s sister; [page 10] Been telling her something,—I see some tears, And guess you’ve kissed her. It is just like you; and she’s not mad; She acts just now as though she’s glad; She knows well enough there’s more to be had By just pretending She’s sorry, or else by playing off sad, Or a little offending. The chances are, when she gets long dresses, You are dragged in closer among the meshes; Your heart, your bosom continually threshes, May-be, all in vain; Some other young man will admire her tresses, With plug hat and cane. She likes you, but yet is so full of conceit; You’ve told her so often she’s pretty and neat, And her boots enclose such lovely feet, She makes up her mind With a handsome man she’d look real sweet,— So you are behind. But the wound she left you will likely heal; You wonder soon after it ever was real; To some other damsel begin to feel Very much the same. This time you manage the bargain to seal,— She takes your name. Now, when you think you’ve things your own way, This damsel of yours has something to say. Most likely, she’s anxious about your pay. [page 11] Don’t have a row. Tell her you’ve purchased a load of hay For the horse or cow. If she wants to know why it’s not here, Or acts with you somewhat severe, Don’t tell her you’ve been buying beer, Or other drink; Address her kindly, “my sweet dear,”— It will make her think. Then praise her a little,—she’ll get quite vain. And you had better from drink refrain,— It will make you both feel young again, And enjoy your time; You’ll not so soon need crutch or cane. Excuse my rhyme. [page 12]
I was wild a boy as ever you saw, When I was young and foolish; But I’ve had reason to change my mind,— In fact, I feel quite coolish. I used to escort the girls around. They were a great attraction. What little cash I could command Was soon brought into action. Ri, tu, ra, lur. When I arrived at seventeen, I went to learn to cooper. The boys that happened mates with me, Would take a glass or two, sir! We had a habit of going up town On Saturday, towards evening, And when the time came to go home, We would not care about leaving,—CHOR. We’d have a rich old time, you bet. I tell you, we went in fast. But one morning, after a spree, I thought,— [page 13] “Young chicken, this won’t last.” So I tried the temperance pledge awhile. I found that very trying. I let them all pay in their dues,— It’s beer that I’d be buying.—CHOR. I said in my mind, “I’ll take a drink, When I get dry in my throttle; And if I cannot get a glass, I’ll take it out the bottle. The consequence is, when we boys meet, We have a drink together. We’re not particular on what day, Nor yet what kind of weather.—CHOR. When we are together, look out for sport, And enough you’re like to see; But, boys, it will not always last, With me there you’ll agree. So let’s take a drink or so, my boys; Be clever and be jolly; And don’t forget the days gone past, Or dear old smoky hollow.—CHOR. [page 14]
DO SOMETHING, QUICK.
Written at the time of the Pacific Scandal.
Come now, John A., why don’t you say The bribe you did not handle? Or, if it’s so, why, let us know About this Railway Scandal. They’ve said enough, and ’twill go tough If you don’t hold up your “maulers,” So it can be seen they’re really “clean,” Unstained by Allan’s dollars. The people, sir, are all astir; You must do something soon. To shirk you’ll try, because you’re sly, And cunning as any coon. They fear you’ll wait till ’tis too late, It’s enough to make them sullen; Come, John, just say you took no pay, And they won’t believe McMullen. But then—Oh brother! there’s another, There will be no abatement. What will we do? For there are two, With Foster’s cruel statement. Besides, old Hugh did not go through So squarely with the charter. The letters he sent, and the money spent, Make out a case of barter. A good many think Sir Francis Hincks Is the cause of this disaster [page 15] By taking you in; but that’s too thin, For ain’t you the old boy’s master? He’s lost his ardor, and seeks now a harbor; Fifty thousand would make him a nice ’un, And then he must have, for his son, you perceive, A two thousand-a-year situation. There’s Langevin, too, held up to view; The picture is not inviting. They say he’s in, clear up to his chin, Helping Hugh Allan to lighten. But, Mac., it’s not right, a man to fight When he’s got no ground to stand on; So give him a chance to sharpen his lance, And find a soft spot to land on. Now, John, if its true—and things look blue— We can’t trust you with our charters. It’s no use to whine, you’ll have to resign, And we hope you’ll all bear it like martyrs. We never can stand with such a band, And we’re coming to this opinion, Our all we will stake with McKenzie and Blake, At the head of our great Dominion. [page 16]
PADDLE YOUR OWN CANOE, REVISED.
If you have friends that you can trust Believing they’ll prove true, Stay with them till it comes to worst Then paddle your own canoe. The very best friends that you can have, Are your health and a dollar or two:— Then never encumber yourself, but strive To paddle your own canoe. CHORUS.—Then boys, while we together strive This world to go honorably through, Let us help each other, yet always try To paddle our own canoe. We often have our little trials, And some of us not a few, but we know, while tramping weary miles, We are paddling our own canoe. I do not say, in all the world wide There is not a friend that’s true; But, to make yourself safe on every side, You paddle your own canoe.—CHOR. If your little barque is sailing smooth, And you have not much to do, Assist your neighbor but don’t forget To paddle your own canoe. If any one interferes in your plans As often they’re apt to do, Give them to know you think you’re a man That can paddle your own canoe.—CHOR. [page 17]
John A., you’re a brick, you did it slick,— I mean that prorogation. You may well feel good,—you could not have stood The awful denunciation That was being prepared. No wonder you’re scared. It surely must have descended On you in your place, had you not found grace In having proceedings amended. What makes me wonder, you scarcely blunder. Your views I must concur in: A friend in need, is a friend indeed, As found in the case of Lord Dufferin. But things are mixed, so get them fixed, No need of much of a hurry, Excitement may lessen,—which alone is a blessing,— And members get over their flurry. Then the commission, must suit your position. Be ready to receive instruction As how to proceed, so you may be freed, And thus put an end to this ruction. But you look, Sit John, my advice may be wrong. You might not do as you’d like to; For Holton and Blake are wide awake,— The chances are they will thwart you. So be careful my boy. I wish you much joy, Whenever you’re clear of this muddle. You rarely can claim the right to the name Of the smartest toad in the puddle. [page 18] But if you consent, that in Parliament The members can pass their opinion, Then good-bye John, you can’t stay long At the head of our Dominion.
AFTER BRANT ELECTION.
Alas! where is bold Hawkins now? He thought he had a starter, When he got clear of E. B. Wood, And help from Lawder the martyr. He started with great confidence, To do battle against Reform The look of all his followers now, Is exceedingly forlorn. They made a very grand mistake, In getting up that supper. All said, made things but even worse Than McKenzie does for Tupper. They tried to speculate some, on On the Honorable A. McKellar, The fact was this, they drank too free Of what was in the cellar. Their heads grew light, they could not see, Their cause was surely sinking; But what could you expect from such As the M. P. P. from Lincoln. [page 19] He boasted till he made them believe, Their star was in the ascendant; ’T’was thought if he’d been left alone, He’d moved another amendment. They tried to make a political spec, Out of direct taxation, And fancied they saw Hawkin go in, Elected by acclamation. But while they were doing their sporting, And trying Reform to supplant, Young Hardy was active and working, And now he’s elected for Brant. [page 20]
BETWEEN YOU AND I.
This represents Jno. A., letting out the state of his feelings to a friend about the close of the last and general election for the House of Commons.
What selfish people those Grits are; They won’t give a fellow a show. Let’s go have a smile at the bar, It is no use to talk and blow. Against Mac. and the rest of his party, My eloquence don’t seem to take, And it makes me feel kind of smarty, Whenever I fall in with Blake. He’s a tickler, there is no use of talking; And he seems so much respected. I thought one time he was baulking, But he didn’t turn out as expected. Who thought, now, McKenzie’d succeed? It never once entered my mind. I was sure I had the boy treed, Or else I’d not have resigned. But then, I suppose I’d have had to, For many I trusted had left me; I tell you, I felt awful mad, too, To see how my friends had bereft me. And now, just look! the elections Going on throughout the nation; Why, in quite a number of sections, They elect them by acclamation. I’d like to have beaten that Cartwright; And did all I could for Hooper, [page 21] But he did not make as good a fight As a common flour-barrel cooper. Well, let’s have a swig of good brandy; And say, we’ll get up a petition To have some placed where it’s handy,— For it’s cold when in Opposition. You may laugh, but it makes me shiver. You’ll find it is something terrific. We might as well be at Red River, Or coasting out on the Pacific. But then, we will have it to stand. By all I can hear, it is true That McKenzie has the command,— Now, I pity poor old Hugh. Though if it were not for his gold, Which I was too keen to handle, The contract would not have been sold, And we’d have been rid of this Scandal. [page 22]
A VOICE FROM TORONTO; OR, COMING TO REPENTANCE.
What is this we hear from Toronto West? Are they true, those wonderful stories? Or only some fables got up to test The patience of life-long Tories? They say that Moss is put in as Boss Over the western division; And is going to saddle McKenzie’s hoss,— That’s surely a strange decision. For we know that he is no friend of ours, He don’t care a snap for John A.; He’s smart, too; if needed, can talk for hours. We can make up our mind ’t won’t pay. I can’t see, for my part, how in the world Poor Bickford got left in the lurch. They say he’s good looking, hair nicely curled, And attends very reg’lar the church. He is rich, and sports a nice carriage team, Takes pride in his necktie and collars, He’s free with his cash, and not a bit mean, And is out about ten thousand dollars. That is too much to lose just on an election; But of course he expected to win; He never once thought he’d get the rejection,— That is sure to follow such sin. I’m sorry for Bickford, poor fellow; but then, I’ve nothing to give him but pity. [page 23] If he could have gulled the working-men, He’d have represented the city. Between you and I, John A. is a damage,— He’s a sinner, and one of the worst. I’m going to try, and if I can manage, Get in with the Canada First. By what I can hear, they are rather mixed. I’m afraid they’re not the right cast. And one thing sure, when McKenzie is fixed, He will not place Canada last. Take things all around, we’d better be found With the strength of public opinion; If I am a judge, McKenzie is sound, And will take good care the Dominion. [page 24]
How anxious some folks seems to be To pryingly enquire of me. They’d better mind Their own affairs, and not pretend To be anxious about their friends, Or so inclined. If he has failings, as it would seem, Give him a chance, he’ll them redeem,— Or least will try. Over others’ sins they seem to gloat; Fools! see they not the beam or mote In their own eye? If he has sinned beyond forgiveness, As some declare by their decisiveness, Then what’s the use Of raking up past history, And exulting in his misery? Does it them amuse? If so, that’s not the kind of teaching, Or what I’ve heard the Saviour preaching, Thro’ the good book. He bade the dying thief to live, And freely did his sins forgive With word and look. [page 25] Then I wish it distinctly understood, To those that are so dreadful good, Self-estimation, That they’ll oblige their humble bard, If they of him, know some things hard. Stop proclamation. And if they still meanly persist To hinder instead of assist Their fellow mortal, There will be sorrow here, and peradventure They will find it hard at last to enter Heaven’s portal. Heaven loves a man that can condescend To encourage and aid an erring friend, As I understand. And the woman, too, heaven will bless her, That can stoop to raise a fallen sister, With a helping hand. Then, fellow neighbors, one and all, Let none of us see a brother fall; Or, if he should, Lend him a helping hand to rise, Lead thou his mind beyond the skies, Among the good. [page 26]
A NEAT LADY.
We have a lady in our little city, And though it’s small, why more’s the pity, So I’ll just inform you, in this ditty, ’Beut her clean house. She’ll not allow a dog or kitty, Much less a mouse. You will always find it trim and neat, And if you happen down that street, Just take a notion to go in and see it; But before you do, See all the dirt from off your feet, Or it you’ll rue. Be careful, and not leave a spot, When you retire from that fair cot. Your curiosity’s dearly bought, If by mistake There is one there, and she has seen it,— Your neck she’ll break. If you smoke or chew, stay out in the hall, Swallow tobacco, juice and all. For goodness’ sake! don’t ever call For a spittoon; Or, if you forget, and do, don’t bawl,— She’d think you a loon. Or, if by chance she turns her back, Don’t think to hide the spit in a crack; When it struck, it would make a kind of thwack, That she would hear; And the chances are you’d get a smack About your ear [page 27] That would lift you clear up from your seat. In making your exit, would’nt you look neat? ’Specially if you happened to have big feet; You’d feel dejected, And come to conclusion it wasn’t so sweet As you expected. If your cow should happen in her yard, And, by mistake should, leave her card, With her, you wager it would go hard; Her bones’d be sore; She’d likely go home with her beauty marred, And return no more. But if, as I hope your luck would be better, You’d be used like a gentleman up to the letter, And be proud of the day that you first met her And her good man, He pays his own way, is a worker and sweater, A very good plan. If you sit down to their really nice table You’re welcome to eat and drink all you’re able, When I say this to you, I tell you no fable Or any such trash, Tho’ your belly was long as the Atlantic cable, You may fill it with hash. You’ll find knives, forks and spoons, just as bright As the stars on a clear and frosty night, And her bread, dear me! it is just as white As the falling snow. Her cakes and pies are delicious and light, And that’s all I know. [page 28]
My coffee mate was learning to skate, and was soon to be married.
All hail! thou beautiful Christmas morn; Momentous day when Christ was born, Accept our thanks for a day so nice, And such a splendid pond if ice. And, Lord, while we do this day skate, Do thou assist my humble mate; While he is doing his best to learn, Keep him, we pray, from every harm. If he should fall, please help him rise, May his mind be often in the skies; If in his mind thoughts come that are sweet, May it not cause him to lose his feet. And O, may we never forget what is right, And Him who watches us through night, And while we sing, and skate and play, Help us remember it is Christmas Day. [page 29]
It is sometimes found that women think men fools, Once in, they are their most subservient tools. Those are the lessons I have been taught. By what I have seen, studied, and received of late, I will take good care, and hope that shall not be the fate To which I may at length be brought. Success attends their efforts oft, in winning him that’s weak, With fashionable airs, and plenty of well-worn cheek, To them amusement, and only to destroy The hopes that they’ve succeeded, thus far, well to raise In hearts devotional filled with rapture, all ablaze, Mingled with feat and love and joy. Lives there a woman, false must be, that cannot, if she study, With superfluous hair and cheeks, by artificial paint made ruddy, That does not with her wicked wiles ensnare, Some poor, deluded, weak-minded, and wretched man, Though always exception, it is only such she’ll find she can. Then woman take advice and have a care. Give me the faithful, non-betraying one, who loves a man For what he is, and not for what he seems or what he can Assume or show himself at times to be. Pearls are found at bottom, while scum is often at the top. Waste not time in winning a self conceited showy fop; The truth is sometimes very hard to see. [page 30]
Old Santa Claus was out last night, To every house in town, Dressed up in rags, and such a sight! He looked just like a clown. He stalked around like some wild man, But looked more like a bear, He runs like a deer; catch him, who can! You might as well chase a Hare. Sometimes he is running, other times walking; Sometimes he whistles or sings; Sometimes he is thinking, then again talking; Sometimes he spreads his wings. He flies around to all of the houses; If you see him please say nothing, Keep quiet, lay as still as a mouse; He will drop it into your stocking. He is a kind soul is our old Santa; He likes all children good, Even in old rags he seems real jaunty, And has given all he could. Some little girls have got the candy; Others a little dolly, Whatever he thought would be most handy, And make them good and jolly. [page 31] He did not forget the little boys, Nor did he treat them cool; They’ve gotten their share of sweets and toys, He hopes they’ll mind the school. Then children be good, he will come around Once a year if he has cause; If you mind your parents, I’ll be bound You’ll be loved by Santa Claus.
Twice welcome Christmas! thou’rt as fair as ever; Since last we saw thee there are some who never Now will enjoy thee with those they love; They are happier far in the bright home above. And as we look down on relations dear, I hope they look over what is wrong in us here, Remembering, though precious, we are only mortal, And welcome us lastly at Heaven’s bright portal. Then adieu, merry Christmas, we are loth to part With thee, but carry the hope in our heart To meet thee again with friends we hold dear. Farewell, merry Christmas, till another year. [page 32]
DEPARTING OLD YEAR—1873.
Farewell, old year, thou’rt gliding away; There are some now lying beneath the clay, Will cause us to mind thee while our life lasts; Thou hast swept them away with they chilly blasts. Throughout three hours of sorrow we’ve traced, Thy beauties have somewhat been defaced; But, we are thankful as you are drifting away, We are left to welcome the New Year’s Day. Then farewell, old year, your die is cast, You are counted now among the past; Farewell again, we say to thee, We’ll remember 1873!
Could I a privileged person be, Could go where mind directed, Without being asked for pedigree, Or ever being suspected,— I’d go where honor reigns supreme, Suspicious people never seen, Where neighbour mingle and agree, And judge not harsh of what they see. [page 33] Dear lady, trust me always, ever; Let not a tear bedim your eye; My promise to you, broken never,— I love, that is the reason why. You think that what the world may say, Will make my love degenerate? No; only with you, that power can lay, That turns my love for you, to hate. Now, have I erred in blaming one So true that she could give Her life, my happiness to have won? But live, dear lady, live,— For know that such a sacrifice,— A fearful one, ’tis true,— Could not my happiness realise, For I would still lack you. Tell me, madam, must you go, And leaveme chained behind? The bitter cup doth overflow,— The world is so unkind. Ever-patient lady! hearken: Tender thoughts will follow thee; Though remorse my pathway darken, Yet thy memory sweet shall be. I’ll peruse your welcome letter, Grasping for an hour of pleasure, Learn to know thee always, better [page 34] Than the world may ever measure. I will miss your kindly smile, Less to cheer my rugged way; Still in thought my hours I’ll while; Pondering ever, day to day. I kissed her by the gate, and fain would linger yet To gaze on that fair face and form I never can forget; Her eyes were full of love and traced were sorrowing tears, Revelling in their simple beauty, dispelling doubtful fears. For sad we felt the parting near, we soon must bid adieu; I pressed her to my bosom oft, t’was vowed we’d both be true; Her hair upon her shoulders fell, and shone as bright as gold, Our hands were clasped in one, while we, the old, old story told. Dear one, what charms are those you bring That makes my heart with music ring? My memory doth me chide full sore, In bringing back those days of yore. When looking in those eyes so clear, I see a love, remembered, dear, A love that time can not erase, Nor trials, nor sorrows e’er deface. [page 35] Fate, ever cruel, perchance may dim To outward view; but yet within Fond thoughts remind me oft of thee, Could I but hope you think of me. I feel that I do not deserve The love that once you did preserve For me alone; still may I yet Hope you’ll forgive, but not forget. What though another claim me now, And I am bound by marriage vow, Still may we ever love. Commandment: Love ye one another, Then let me be to you a brother, Until we meet above. [page 36]
LESSONS CONTAINED IN A PACK OF CARDS.
A nobleman who kept a great number of servants reposed confidence in one of them, which excited the jealousy of the others, who, in order to prejudice the master against him, accused him of being a notorious gamester. Jack was called up and closely interrogated,
but he denied the fact, at the same time declaring he never played a card in his life. To be more fully convinced, the gentleman ordered him to be searched, when behold! a pack of cards were found in his pocket. Highly incensed at Jack’s want of veracity, the nobleman demanded in a rage how he dared to persist in an untruth. “My lord,” said he “I certainly do not know the meaning of a card. The bundle in my pocket is my almanac.” “Your almanac, indeed, then I desire you to prove it such.” “Well, sir, I will begin: There are four suits in the pack, that intimate to me the four quarters of they ear; as there are thirteen cards in the suit, there are thirteen weeks in a quarter; as there fifty-two cards in a pack, there are fifty-two weeks in the year; examine them you will find 365 spots, as many as there are days in the year. Thus, sir, I have convinced you it is my almanac. I will now prove it is my prayer book: The four suits represent the four prevailing religions, Christianity, Judaism, Mahometanism, and Paganism; the twelve court cards remind me of the 12 Patriarchs, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles, 12 articles of Christian faith; the king, of allegiance to his majesty; the queen, of allegiance to her majesty; 10, the 10 cities of the plains of Sodom and Gomorrah, 10 plagues [page 37] of Egypt; 10 Commandments, and the 10 tribes; the 9, of the 9 noble orders among men; the 8, of the 8 beauties, 8 persons saved in the Ark, 8 persons released from death to life; the 7, of the seven ministering spirits that stand by the throne of God, 7 liberal arts and sciences given by God for the instruction of man, the 7 wonders of the world; the 6, the 6 petitions on the Lord’s prayer; the 5, of the 5 senses given by God to man; the 4, of the 4 evangelists, 4 seasons of the year; the 3, of the Trinity, 3 hours of our Saviour on the cross, 3 days He lay interred; the 2, of the 2 Testaments, 2 principles—Virtue and Vice; the ace of the only true God, one truth to practice, one Master to obey.” “So far is very well,” said the nobleman, “but I believe you have omitted one card, the knave.” “True, my lord,” replied Jack, “the knave reminds me of your lordship’s informer.” There is scarcely any necessity of saying the nobleman was more pleased with Jack than before the information was laid, raised his wages and discharged his informer.
MORAL.—No matter how strong circumstantial evidence is against, or how strengthened the reports are about, never condemn a person without a just enquiry and a fair hearing. [page 88]
NOW IS THE TIME.
Reformers, now bring out a man That can defy the Tory clan, And bid defiance. Don’t give them a chance to go for us; On such a man as Captain Norris We can place reliance. At any rate, do try and ferret Somebody out to beat that Merritt, And redeem our county. Throughout our land their cause is sinking; Why then not now reclaim old Lincoln, And receive our bounty.
(Composed about the time of the great Temperance Crusade carried on by the women of the neighboring States.)
The women are up on their ears just now; They are bound for to swim or to sink; Their platform is broad, and this they avow, Never to marry a man that’ll drink. Old maids at present will not go at par; Now what will they be, do you think, If they are determined to go as far Not to marry a man that will drink? For the boys won’t stand a dose like that, Especially those that are frisky; They love the young ladies, both lean and fat, [page 39] But they love, too, a drop of good whiskey. Then ladies give in, and don’t be so cruel As to crowd a man over the brink; Be he bright as a lark or dull as a mule, You can’t beat him out of his drink. Sometimes it requires a little good wine To give a man courage, ’tis said, To pop you the question both clearly and fine, Or else you might be an old maid. Then what more punishment would you require; You would surely go lacking of chink; Get up in the morning and build your own fire, If you would not allow us to drink. Would you be surprised if we would turn round, Intending to give you a tussle, For showing up busts you know are not sound, And twisting that fanciful bustle? Tempting with hair, you know its not fair; You ought to be under restraint. If you would be honest, you’d see less of care; Your cheeks wouldn’t need any paint. We want to be firm: don’t wish to offend; Then, ladies, don’t battle with man. If you love him, stay by him, but never pretend To put on his pants, if you can. Then let’s go together, discourage a wrong, From duty we’ll try not to shrink; I’ll just make a wish, as I finish my song— We never may want for a drink. [page 40]
WHO I PITY.
I pity a man that can’t look back With pleasure on an evening’s crack, That probably he’s enjoyed before; Or think with delight on scenes of yore. I pity the man that has never enjoyed The friends of his youth, but has been decoyed By them into acts which I’ll not name; But causes him hang his head in shame. I pity him who, by companions wild, Is led by temptation, as meek as a child; Who has no opinion or mind of his own, But into bad habits has gradually grown. I pity him more, when, after he knows He is wrong and will still be led by the nose Into a state of real desperation, And finally, loses his reputation. I pity the men that encourage such; If they find enjoyment it is not much. And now my pity is turned to scorn, When the same men reject and leave him forlorn. I pity a man that cannot refuse A glass, or accept it as he choose; Or neglects his business on account of drink: If encouraged is that he will surely sink. I pity the fellow, a girl having tilted, Has just by her been suddenly jilted; Although I hope it’ll not him bother, For if he keeps straight he’ll soon find another. [page 41] I pity the rake, though, worse than a thief, For among the lassies he causes mischief; But when the time comes he’ll have to defend, He will find that his is a bitter end. I pity the fop, so full of conceit; Imagines himself so handsome and neat; Fancies he’s admired from every hand: Poor fellow, but he’s a wonderful man. I pity the envious, small-souled sinner, That’s angry because his neighbor is winner Of more than he thinks himself has got; With such a man better have no lot. I pity the rich that become purse proud, For leaving this world all they take is a shroud; Their money in life sometimes proves a curse, And when they are gone who gets the purse? I pity the miser who, counting his gold, Don’t stop to think he’ll never grow cold In death, or, if he should happen to think, Is sorry he can’t carry his bags of chink. [page 42]
WHAT I LOVE.
I love to think of my childhood’s days, And comrades, some of whom now lays Beneath the waters or cold green sod, Their soul returned to their Maker—God. I love to dwell on my earlier joys, When playing among the other boys, When the world to me was ever so fair, No meaning was found to the dread word, care. I love to remember my parents, dear, And the only one of them now is here, For death stepped in and did them sever; Still her memory shall live as fresh as ever. I love to think of my brother’s affection, And, when it was needed, a brother’s protection, And who, at odd times, we each other offended, Which was but seldom and was fully amended. I loved my companions as older I grew, And assure you, if counted, they were not few; Even now, as my mind runs back with glee, I wish that they may remember me. I loved the lassies with whom I did mingle, And vowed to myself I’d not live single,— At least not be far advanced in life Before I’d be loved by a dear little wife. I love to see an honorable man, No matter what country or yet what clan He claims to belong, it don’t matter to me; If honor he has that’s all I see. [page 43] I love to see a man that’s wealthy; If he be robust, strong and healthy All the better; but let him be sure Not to forget the unfortunate poor. I love to see a man of decision, Over his mind have supervision; Tho’ he may have his failings to fight, Generally come out on the side of right. I love to meet with the humble man, Poor, but struggling as best he can; Hard is his lot, but his hope is above, And even on earth he has some to love. And lastly, I love the old and infirm; Their light on earth does but dimly burn. If you’ve a kind feeling, for them do it save, And brighten their pathway down to the grave. [page 44]
The Tories are beginning to look real sour, They are afraid of Norris’ coal and flour; The fact of it is, they know they are beaten, And want to make out it is done by cheating. That slip they got about taxes and wheat, Has just been discovered to be a big cheat; They fancied they had found a good tool, But now they find out a farmer’s no fool. The Journal gave Norris such a good recommend; Didn’t think at the time, but now they pretend At first they thought him an Independent; And now its too late to try to mend it. He is out for Reform. He’ll stay by his flag. All the Tories combined cannot make him lag. They can slander as much as they like, but mind, We are bound that Norris will not be behind.
Eyes of richest, rarest hue,— Proof direct her heart is true,— Sparkling, dancing, luring, meaning, Full of love and passion gleaming, Listless, dreamy,—worth a crown; Favorite color, beautiful brown. Tresses wondrous dark and glowing, Loosely hanging, tossing, flowing, Chignons slighting, ribbons spurning, [page 45] Glossy, wavy, hearts upturning, Shading features, classical, fair; Admirable ringlets, beautiful hair. Face expressive, smiling, cheering, Winning, loving, all-endearing; With bad passion never shrouded; Lines of care, yet not o’er-clouded; Encouraging, drawing, unresisting, Happy, real, true, bewitching. Form, while slight, erect in bearing; Step elastic, heart ensnaring, Carriage firm, yet unassuming, Still unconscious rivals dooming; Careless, reckless glances throwing, Not intentional, discord sowing. Mind and spirit lofty, strong, Upholding right, forgiving wrong; Hopeful, high, ambitious, yearning, Always watchful, ever learning, Struggling in the path of duty,— Peerless lady, matchless beauty. [page 46]
I am sorry to deserve the scorn, From one I’d hoped but to receive Respect at least; but now, forlorn, I find that I am sad, bereaved. Of heartlessness! I stand accused. Ah! if she knew the power it took To resist attraction she has chosen To show in every word and look. If I the truth to her would tell, She would at least, me pity give. Remember how old Adam fell, And choose to die instead of live. Or if to feelings I’d give way, And not my passions try subdue, O’er me, a woman’s charms would sway,— ’T’were not so hard if she were true. Then fair one, listen while this I say: I may be cold, but this I claim,— A woman I can ne’r betray, Nor show her to the world in shame. I’d not this cruel world content, By blazing what I may have learned; If what you said was that you meant, You wrong me, for I’ve not it earned. [page 47]
Dear old Christmas! welcome here, Merriest day in all the year,— Recollections fondly bringing, Sounds of joy and gladness ringing; Reminding us of love divine, Closer human hearts entwine. Friends, relations, neighbors, meet, Fathers, mothers, their children greet, Brothers and sisters, once more mingle, Hearth and home with music jingle, Lovers, too, bless thy returning, Sacred feelings dear hearts burning. Thoughts of future bring to mind. Once a saviour humble, kind, Peace proclaimed to all the world, Banner of good-will unfurled, Strength on high, and hope above, Memorious day! so full of love. [page 48]
POLITICAL AND MEDICAL.
There’s excitement now boys in old Lincoln, We have set the Tories all a thinking,— They are going for us. They say that it was all a plan, To bring out such a popular man, As Captain Norris. They make out they’re quite surprised, And as something they had not surmised, They were in the dark. So in desperation, as they sometimes will, The are going to swallow a big round pill Prescribed by Clark. If that ain’t the worst pill they ever took! We’ll put it down in the old scrap-book, What time they take it, So as to be sure there is no deception, If it don’t act we will try injection, And that will make it. Then after that, if we have it handy, We’ll give them a drop or two of Brandy Just to revive Their strength, and help their drooping spirit. There is no danger, O! no don’t fear it, For they’ll contrive To recover, and with good nourishment, Try send the Doctor to Parliament, There to prescribe. [page 49] He’ll be welcome there, too, I dare say, And find a good patient in John A., For he’ll imbibe Sometimes too much for his constitution, And it operates on his elocution, So that he can’t Express himself as his friends would wish; In that case Doc., give him salt fish, And consult with Grant: He is better acquainted with his interior, Though you may not be his inferior. You know the old saying— Two heads are always better than one, Tho’ both as big dunces are under the sun. But this is not paying! So I’ll just finish up with a wish, that you Be left where you have prospered and grown, With your profession, And Norris be elected to go down below; To ’tend to our interest, which we all know Is required next session. [page 50]
THE BATTLE SPOKEN OF IN THE ST. CATHARINES JOURNAL—IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT.
I saw an account of a battle hot, Between Free Trade and Protection, fought On the Raging Ganawl. Near the Mills they call the Farmer’s Delight, They say took place, this bloody fight, With sword, shot and ball. Free Trade it seems, was a frigate bold, Manned by as many Grits as she’d hold, And plenty of brandy. With Scotchmen too, the trader was manned, Norris and Lawrie with sword in hand, Were seen quite handy. It seems Protection was playing real cunning, Did not commence her firing and bumming, Till the Trader got near. Then, if you believe it, the shot must have flew, The destruction it made among the Grit crew, Was fearful severe. It seems that Norris, Protection did board, Not to fight, tho’, only deliver his sword To Commodore Clark. They way it is told, Free Trader was sinking, Clark saw a good chance to represent Lincoln, But he’ll miss his mark. [page 51] For I’ve been enquiring about that great battle, And find it is nothing but scandal and prattle By some Tory invented. They can spout, but Norris can handle his sword; I imagine that he will Protection board. They can’t prevent it. Even now he is cutting them down like hay, Into their ranks is spreading dismay, They will have to surrender. The Tories now making such empty display, Will find in this month a 29th day They will likely remember. [page 52]
I have been requested by Mr. Jas. Keating, If Norris by Clark receives a good beating, To make a few verses. Although it is rather against my feeling, You will see it is just a matter of dealing, So spare me your curses. I am Reformer, but as we couldn’t win, I don’t consider it any great sin To compliment Clark. If he will accept it, or if he don’t choose, I hope it may some others amuse, If just for a lark. I’m in hopes the Doctor will do what is right, Not against measures that’s good will he fight, But draw his conclusions From his conscience. Then he need not fear; What tho’ be he met with speechless severe, And party effusions. He will bot be lured by any attraction, Nor side with obstruction, or mingle with faction,— He’s not of that stamp; At least I should judge not that way inclined. I think he’s a man, that over his mind No fiction can tramp. There are some will expect to find him quite mellow, Likely smile, and say he’s a jolly good fellow, Or something that way. [page 53] It’s a way they have his feelings to win, The Doctor will see it, and its too thin, Besides ’twon’t pay. They can make up their mind that he will have A share in debate, or rather palave; His mind he will speak, And give his opinion, if it comes his way. Most likely some old fogies will say He has plenty of cheek. What they say about him will make a little matter, He’s a right to take his share in the clatter, Or pass his opinion. Defend a right or ignore a bad cause, And help to adjust and frame good laws, For our Dominion. Now Doctor, since you’re for Lincoln selected, Just think how you’d feel if you were rejected, And in the back ground. Go for what’s right, condemning what’s wrong. I’ll just make a wish as I finish this song, May your judgment be sound. [page 54]
AFTER THE BATTLE.
Well and bravely done old Lincoln! Now arm in arm again you’re linking, With good Reform. The battle was stormy, hard and keen, But we are glad that you again are seen Safe out the storm. Our Captain was always at his post, Cutting and slashing the Tory host, Through daylight and dark. Our rival is left a dismal wreck. Not one can be seen thro’ cabin or deck: Where’s Commodore Clark? It is likely we’ll find him down the hold, Lamenting the cause of his ship’s being sold To pay expenses. With Free Trade shot we gave them injection, They found they’d not enough Protection, Or other defences. They found the Bug Scotchman a hard one to handle, With such a load of Pacific Scandal, Strapped on their back. Their broadsides were very badly directed, The effect was not as bad as expected, For such a big crack. I feared for Protection when manned with a crew That takes such a deuced ignorant view Of their situation. [page 55] They seemed to be all of different mind, Which accounts for their coming out behind Their expectation. If they had tried to look things in the face, They’d have known very well they couldn’t keep pace With our old ship. We call her Reform; they call her Free Trader, That can be settled by them that made her, And sailed her this trip. Their’s was a good ship, but badly commanded; And now since the crew has Protection abandoned, We’ll care of her take. If worth it, repair her, some day she’ll come good, We’ll place where Hinck’s and Jno. A. stood, McKenzie and Blake. If they can’t manage, ’tis no use of another Trying their hand, because they’ll find bother Among the worst kind; For Mac. is a man his duty won’t shrink, And Blake is a man gets through lots of work. Please, bear this in mind. [page 56]
THE HORTICULTURAL SUPPER.
In February month, the 11th day, At Jordan station a grand display Was made, and that without delay Or much pretension. The supper was served from off a tray Of large dimension. When tea-time came, it was quite a treat,— Waiters had things fixed up real neat; The pies and cakes were tasty and sweet, As you’ve supposed. In the language, dear me! a nice bit of meat Was found enclosed. But before the supper,—I forgot to tell: Some singing was done, and ’twas done well; The music was sweet as a deep-toned bell; It was more than charming. If I could make music as good, I’d sell My stock and quit farming. They say it’s all in appreciation, Coupled with a lively imagination. I believe it lies in the fabrication, And some are gifted. I tried, and with all my amalgamation I could not sift it. The evening was pleasant, and not too cold; The hall was full as it would hold; The ladies appeared in the buffaloes rolled; It was chilly riding. Landlords were happy when liquor was sold And glasses were sliding. [page 57] The speeches delivered were full of feeling; What they lacked was in the manner of dealing; When finished, they didn’t need much sealing,— They were open expression. There was nobody drunk,—not even reeling; Don’t that have impression.
THE SELF RIGHTEOUS.
Is it not strange, men will persist In arguing with their clenched fist? Almost declares— That only such as they may hope, And they alone are fit to cope With Satan’s snares. To hear them preach and prophecy, There’ll be no hope for you and I, And such nonsense. Except you do as they believe, A blessing you will not receive, Not recompense. Who bids them speak such an untruth? Have we not souls like they, forsooth? Formed by the Same? If we adore Him who bids us live, And freely him our reverence give, We’ll find out gain. [page 58] And not be bound by any form,— As well as they we’ll stand the storm, And reach the shore. As snug as they, though they may taunt For not being just so trim and jaunt, And others bore. If we should search the world around, Not two alike would there be found: It’s not intended That we should all be of one caste; It is God’s law, and it will last,— We can’t amend it. He knows the struggle in man’s heart, For he himself has taken a part,— Been sorely tempted. The trials of some, he knows are hard; “Verily, they’ll have their reward,” He said, and meant it. It’s not for man, then, to devise A plan by which to reach the skies. Better be content To fight against sins that are our own, Than strive to fathom secrets known To Omnipotent. There’re some that even further go, Than to condemn those here below, And often criticise Loved ones departed or gone before: They tell you they’re lost for evermore, Or else, immortalise. [page 59] Though some may walk in pleasant ways, Others have trouble all their days, And find it hard To do what conscience tells is right, And with their carnal nature fight; So finds your bard. O mortal man! art though so vain? Hadst thou not better far refrain, For your own sake? Do not condemn they fellow soul. That is for Him who rules the whole, And did us make. [page 60]
HUNGRY LOVER’S SOLILOQUY AND APPEAL.
Could I my fateful love reveal, To her who caused this pain! But ’tis decreed, I must conceal, To her I fain would gain. Oh, cruel lady! heed’st thou not? They heart is cold as steel. Can’st not be won, or ever got, Proud one? Dost thou not feel? Can it be thee, to lure me on, Discard, or worse, destroy? Exulting when thy work is done? Such sacrificing joy! Can, in thy heart, be found one spot Where mercy could reside, I’d give my studying brain the plot, To try me there to hide. Refuse me not this last bequest; Give, O give, compassion! Or make, dear lady, this request: “Come in and get your ration.”
FALSE AS FAIR.
’Tis not thy beauty makes me love, Though thou art passing fair. ’Tis kindness finest feelings move,— For such, I do and dare. You ask why I should love so well, [page 61] I scorn to lie to thee; Though I offend, the truth I’ll tell,— I hoped thou lovedst me. O! have I guessed the truth? forgive For speaking out thus plain; Or have I erred? now, as I live, I would not cause you pain. Is there not hope? Dear lady, speak, For one by fate oppressed. Must I forever after seek In vain a place of rest? Methinks you gave me courage, when I’ve met thee heretofore. Couldst thou not see my passion then, And left my heart less sore? Or can it be? but no; and yet, The spell I cannot break. Didst win me only to forget? Can you such pleasure take? I judged thee far above thy kind, Couldst never brook deceit. but, lady, bear me well in mind, You’ll yet your conqueror meet; And when your love is not returned, You’ll feel what now I bear, Remembering how a true heart yearned For one as false as fair. [page 62]
O! was it fate decreed that I Should be her slave? How can I else but sigh? For love, I madly crave. Is it for this thou lured me on, while in thy inmost heart, Knew’st well the end, and yet didst play the wretched part; Give me back my heart as free As ’twas the day I first saw thee, And I’ll adore Thee evermore. O! might I not have knew Treachery lurking there? But I believed her true. So false, and yet, so fair! Dost find pleasure thus? despoiling one who loves you better Than all the world beside? Seek not further me to fetter; Let loose thy wicked, syren’s spell; Nor seek to make for me a hell. Yet, I’ll forgive, And hope to live. [page 63]
You all have heard of Jordan town, Though you may not have seen; Well, take the country all around, There’s always some that’s green. The Western took a notion to Put in the telegraph, So I was sent the work to do; ’Twould often make you laugh, To see the green ones standing by, Or in my office door, Mouths wide open, and anxious eye, Expecting something more. Some one would ask, what makes it tick I’d answer, that is writing. By gosh! he’d say, it’s awful slick; And don’t it go a kitten? How soon will you be sending one? Another would want to know, Adding, he’d like to hear the fun, And see the darn’d thing go. One day a fellow I’d never seen, Walked in and took the chair, Said he, as cool! how have you been, Nice day this; Mr. Blair. I said I’m well; a real nice day; But I can’t recall your phis, Besides I find you in my way, I want to tend to biz. [page 64] He got right up, himself excused, As well as he was able; I was both vexed and amused, When he sat on top my table. Once in a while; a curious one Would finger as well as talk; I sometimes managed, just for fun, To give him a light shock. He’d rub his fingers some, you bet; And ask me to explain; I’d say, your fingers must been wet, Or else its going to rain. I had not time, you know, of course, To explain altogether; I’d tell them either to study Morse, Or lay it to the weather. They did not seem to care a bit; Come in chewing a cud, Dob on my floor tobacco spit, Sit down with boots all mud. It got so thick, at last, I thought I’d stop it if I could. I’d speak quite cool, and say they ought To carry in the wood. They did not seem to mind that much! I thought they would, you know; So I had to give another touch, Invite them to shovel snow. [page 65] The wood and snow plan did not work; The wanted another rub; Soon, one by one, began to shirk, They couldn’t bear to scrub. I guess they thought me rather rough, But I didn’t mean to be. Of course, I know ’twas somewhat tough, To chore and scrub for me. Still, I’m content, though lonesome oft. I miss their smiling face. Tobacco juice and mud so soft Do not my office grace. Now don’t you think because a few Are green, the rest are so. Ther’re people here, I tell you true, That I am proud to know. [page 66]
WHO IS A TRUE FRIEND?
There’re those who smile their sweetest smiles, And train to practice treacherous wiles, Only to suit some selfish end; We cannot count one such a friend. There’re some who shake you by the hand, With all the power at their command. Ask them if they have cash to lend, And find, if firm, your hearty friend. Others, a scheming, wakeful kind,— ’Tis gain that occupies their mind. They’d force you your last farthing rend; Yet they delight to call you friend. There are some above your earthly lot; With proud disdain they pass your cot. At special times they condescend, And for a time may call you friend. When fortune favors, you will find You’ve friends before and friends behind. Let want assail, who then will send Assistance to a luckless friend? Will it be those who smiled on you? The social, scheming, are they true? Those lofty ones, will they now bend, And recognize you as a friend? [page 67] This selfish world, traverse it round, Few that are true, within are found. A plenty are that will pretend, But seldom you can find a friend. Then how are we to know that best In all the world can be possessed? In this-wide: Right ’gainst wrong defend; Then you may claim at least a friend. [page 68]
TO HON. GEO. BROWN.
Now George while I’ve a little time, I’ll just make you my theme in rhyme, And you’ll forgive Me for my blast impertinence, Or blame it to my ignorance, Just as you leave. I know that you have been abused, For the opinions you have chosen, And dared defend. But for all, you are none the worse, Tho’ some have thought your name to curse. They little ken’d The curse would on themselves recoil, While you’d be honored for your toil In rightful cause; Or that you’ve had a deal to do, In keeping shame from them and you, And framing laws, By which we are all well defended; And George, tho’ you have well pretended Tobe confined To the Bow Park farm, or editorial. Still time will show you, I’d memorial Among your kind. I’ve heard it hinted, but it’s all botch, You can’t be trusted, because you are Scotch. Away such nonsense! Scots have been tried in days of yore, And found among the front and fore In self defense. [page 69] In education, science, and art, The Scotchman take no meanly part And will be found In our own Representive Hall Ready to argue, and stand or fall With opinions sound. You have a fault; I oft have tried To let it pass, but it’s me defied, And I cant mend it. It is just this,—excuse me now If I offend,—but this I trow, You are Independent. But after all, it’s easily forgiven; Better than that, slave-like, driven To combination. I am glad to hear of you in the Senate; I’ve no other way but just to pen it No degradation. The time I spoke of has about run out; But I still keep scribbling, I’m such a lout, Tho’ its unco hard. Now Geordie, tho’ many a hard battle you’ve fought Keep I’the same way, and you’ll not be forgot By your humble Bard. Long may you be spared, for all our sakes. What tho’ you sprung from the land o’cakes, You are no clown; But willing to listen to any behest Put forward for the cause of the oppressed— That’s you, Geo. Brown. [page 70]
Just now, I find nothing better to do Than to give you, in rhyme, a sceptical view Of the social tea-meeting I attended last night. I know there are some will say it’s not right; But I’m in a free country, and I offer no plea; To such, I would say, “why never mind me. If you don’t like it, forget it; the bad feeling smother, Let it enter one ear, and go out the other.” The first on the programme, is paying your cash; Walk in, bye and bye you’ll get plenty of hash. You hunt up a seat anywhere you can find it,— The folks are remarking, but you needn’t mind it. They amuse themselves that way; for instance, your hat Is a little too high, or a great deal too flat; Did you ever see such a doing up hair? Dear me! such a dress I never could wear. But now, their attention is drawn to the door,— They have heard the latch lift, and expecting more, They leave you to Fate, and, relieved, you’re content, Knowing, of all they were saying, little was meant. Your patience exhausted, you’re served now with tea. You’ve no place to set it, but just on your knee. But you must not complain. Your vanity fetter; You’re as good as your neighbour, but not any better. After you have eaten, you hand back your plate; Now, don’t be alarmed; it’s not very late; Sit still till the dishes are all stowed away, And make up your mind some longer to stay. [page 71] Here is the music; we’ll have something now. You’ve heard of the tune that killed the old cow? Well, listen! hello! that’s good! I’m surprised; To hear such good singing I never surmised. Since the music’s so good, I’ll show my good breeding By staying to hear the promised good reading. He says, a young man should always look higher; If he does, he’ll find it takes money to buy her. Here’ in a few words, I’ll give you the sequel: Young men, nowadays, cannot find an equal; So confounded careless, yet full of conceit,— All they ask of a lady, is to be trim and neat. Here’s the singers again; what they say, I don’t know; All the words I can hear are, “Whiter than Snow.” “The Murmuring Stream” is sweeter by far; But wait for the “Beautiful Gates Ajar.” The different religions are here represented: The Episcopalians, Presbyterians dissented; The Methodist, too, though given to stumble, Is here, and lo! the Disciple humble. The professions, too, are here distributed. The Parson’s opinion the squire has scooted; The School Missus acts as it happens to suit her; There’s the happy old Doctor and gentleman tutor. Now, I believe I have given you all the insight That I can, of the meeting we had last night. And it may not be using the people just right, To tell on them so. But some of them fly a mighty high kite, You very well know. [page 72]
A FROG IN JANUARY.
Such a home as thou hast, poor, wee, limping frog, Splattering through the muddy puddle, stream or bog; But for all I know, poor frog, you’re as happy as you can, With such a neighbour as thou hast in envious mortal man. You need not try to hide yourself among the leaves and dirt; It’s not my inclination to do you any hurt. They say your flesh is tender, and not inclined to stench; But rest yourself content, just not you’re not among the French. For all your useless hiding, I can see you plain as a stump, If you will not keep you still, let’s see you take a jump; There that will do, poor froggie; I’ll not your patience test; I see you’re tired and nervous; I’ll leave you to your rest. Though what brought you out to-day, to me is just a riddle. Do you not know the winter is almost near its middle? Go back into your nest, Sir Frog, I tell you I’m no joker; You may be frozen as stiff to-night, as any iron poker. [page 73]
TO A FRIEND.
Dear James, I sit me down, to-night, A promise to fulfill to to you. If what I pen is not quite right, I hope it will at least be true. ’Tis years since first I knew you, yet I cherish you in thought to-day; It’s not my wish to e’er forget Your kindly deeds and winning way. I have no fear for you, as through This world you travel wide; Only, temptations try subdue, In honor’s path you’ll stride. And though there are some may harshly speak Of things the’ve nought to do, Their efforts will be blindly weak, When you’re to duty true. You may find hard from friends to roam, At first, but you will find That friends are found in every home Where good-will rules the mind. I would not for the world believe That all the human race Are truthless, ready to deceive, Exulting through disgrace. I know there’re some that cannot rest, If scandal’s to be found; Their treacherous brain is at its best, When pulling a neighbor down. [page 74] But then, there’re others true as steel, Full of honor, humble, kind; Sir! I cannot help but feel, Such an one you’ve left behind. Excuse this verse, I must be plain. It’s likely you will not me thank; Do not disturb such love again As there existed. Am I not frank? If this do as a lesson fail, I hope it may you some amuse, My thoughts just now are hard to sail,— I pray you me at once excuse. May blessings choice attend you ever, And honor around you hover; The love between us never sever, But cling as to a brother. Dear James, accept this humble rhyme, From one who wishes you God-speed. May you be happy while in time, And happier yet when from it freed. [page 75]
She is missed; yes, missed; and not until now. Since her lips are so silent, so cold is her brow, What thoughts so distressing crowd over brain, Imploring her, calling her, yet all in vain. Gone from among us! Is it true? Can I believe One so young and strong no longer could live? Alas, too true! the answer comes; frail lump of human clay; Weak are our efforts here on earth; very short our stay. Missed by a father, and faithful, loving mother. God give them strength to bear now with one another. In this, their time of trial, assist them with they love, To meet the lost one after, in thy bright home above. Missed by a sister, darling, as far away you roam; She’ll cherish thoughts of thee, in humble earthly home; She’ll miss thy loving letter, and welcome as a prize The hope that she may meet thee far beyond the skies. Missed by thy brothers, true, affectionate, kind, sincere. May they have strength to bear affliction thus severe, And carry in their hearts the wish to meet thee on the shore, To float with thee to spirit home, to bright evermore. Missed by friends, relations, missed by neighbors all; Missed by them that knew thee. Thy memory we’ll recall. Yes, dear one, we’ll miss thee while we remain thus mortal, But hope to meet you lastly, at Heaven’s glorious portal. [page 76]
On Lake Ontario’s shores, one summer’s day, I strolled, to pass some idle hours away; And feelings sad Stole o’er me, as I watched the waters blue; Thoughts of old schoolmates, comrades true, With hearts once glad, Who’d left their native ville and quiet home, And chose a sailor’s life to lead and roam,— Now, ’neath the waves Have found their graves. I, so desponding, envied them their shroud. Of such a winding sheet I could be proud, Were I to die. And thought no artist from his hands had sent Such beauty or such lasting monument, In which to die. And thought no artist from his hands had sent Such beauty or such lasting monument, In which to lie. Have I been thinking wrong? and are they vain? Reversing thoughts now usher through my brain, And answering say,— Another day. A scandal hunter is as much to be shunned as a thief, and should receive less of pity and more of contempt. [page 77]
By some hooks and crooks, poor, plain Dr. Jukes, Has grown to be madly ambitious, By some slight of hand, he expects to command, The votes of the blind superstitious. He says from his heart, that for his own part, He has no ambition to rule, And would rather not roam, too far from his home, O, forsake his grand medicine school. He says he’s the man, and that only he can Redeem the Conservative Party; So he’ll sacrifice all; accepts the grand call, Assisted by Pat-riot McCarty. You will know for a fact, when I tell you that Mac. Don’t care much about Annexation, And Reciprocity too, he is bound to subdue, With a spirit of awful vexation. [page 78] His passions rose high, full of frenzy his eye, Like patriotism never was found, He rose from his seat, tore it small as mince meat, And stamped it fair into the floor. He don’t care to say, he will follow John A., Because he’s connected with Riel, That thousand he took, from the secret Bank Book, Is too much to try to conceal. He tries to amend it, and becomes Independent; Just now he is strong on Protection. The farmers he’ll right, Manufactors not slight:— Did ever man know such affection! He is going to lose money, the dutiful honey, By allowing M. P. to his name. But, his actions have said it, it’s due to his credit, To try get a share in the game. Just now he is strong on Protection. The farmers he’ll right, Manufactors not slight:— Did ever man know such affection! He is going to lose money, the dutiful honey, By allowing M. P. to his name. But, his actions have said it, it’s due to his credit, To try get a share in the game. When he is rejected, and Norris elected,— I don’t mean the Doctor’s a fool!— But he’ll see for himself, it’s a matter of pelf, And find he was used as a tool. For Doctor, as you’re a sinner, Norris will be the winner. No matter what just now is your opinion, We will rally for old Lincoln, and keep her head from sinking. Reform is what we want in this Dominion. [page 80]
The hot, sultry sun had sunk down out of view. The summer’s cool breezes refreshingly blew, And the beauties of Gloeman did wile me awa’, To see my true lover that night at Skatraw. I bent my way forward so cheery and gay, Admiring around me all sweets by the way; But Nature’s production were naething ava’, Whenever I thought on my dear at Skatraw. That place being distant from where I dwelt then, ’Twas late ere I got there; most all folks had gane To their beds for their slumbers, for sleep, rest and a’, And so had the lassies that night at Skatraw. Gaed seeking around till the door I drew, And tapit on it neighter cautions nor few; But all being bedded, no answer ava’,— Dumfounded then was I that night at Skatraw. At length, to a window I went, to look through, And Bogue being within, bawls out “who are you? Or what are you doing at this place ava? Be off, you disturber, this night, from Skatraw.” I said, “no disturbance or ill I intend; I only came here, sir, to visit a friend; Grant me my request, sir, then I’ll withdraw, And no more disturb you, this night at Skatraw.” I said, “no disturbance or ill I intend; I only came here, sir, to visit a friend; Grant me my request, sir, then I’ll withdraw, And no more disturb you, this night at Skatraw.” He said: “Your request, sir, you never need try; Your friend is quite well, sir; will that satisfy?” I said, “satisfaction it gives me but sma’, When I cannot see her this night at Skatraw.” [page 81] He opened the door in a rage, and came oot With a staff in his hand, twa dogs at his foot, Saying, “you vile-meaning blackguard, if you go not awa, At once I will slay you, this night at Skatraw.” I said, “such a name, sir,” applies not to me; But in justice, the public applies it to thee; And as for my name, sir, ’tis better than a The rogues or the Bogues such as you at Skatraw. While crazy with anger, he banged up his hand, And swore that he cared for none in the land; No, not for the greatest man ever he saw,— Far less for a ruffian like me at Skatraw. With his dogs and his stick he crowded me sore; He cursed and he floote, and threatened and swore; Saying, “with my loaded gun, sir, your brains I will blaw, If you come any nearer my house at Skatraw.” He went away bawling like some savage noote; I gently withdrew for to dander aboot. For a’o’ his swearing, and wild cursing jaw, I saw my true lover that night at Skatraw. Had it not been for fear that to spite she’d resort, And spread on my dear, some disgraceful report, Tho’ the dogs at his feet, and the oudgel his paw, I wad showed him a hero, that night at Skatraw. Now, all you that hear me, your voices upraise, And sing us some tale of your young, foolish days; For while I am living, or while breath I draw, I will never forget that sad night at Skatraw. Now, all you that hear me, your voices upraise, And sing us some tale of your young, foolish days; For while I am living, or while breath I draw, I will never forget that sad night at Skatraw.
Written and sung by John Blair, Sr., in Scotland. [page 81]
I can’t remember, in Canada, A poet that ever made it pay. To poets, then, I’ll direct this lay, Just as I choose. Very likely they’ll have something to say, If it don’t amuse. My advice is, not to meddle your brain Till you get in such a troublesome strain, Don’t know whether crazy or just insane, For it’s of no use. More than likely, all you’ll get for your pains, Is plenty abuse. Don’t imagine, of you the world will care, Although your prospects are somewhat fair; It’s only delusion, or maybe a snare, Very easy seen through; At least, it’s the opinion of your friend Blair; And, ’tween he and you, I’ve had some experience, and I will show it; And tho’ I’m aware there are some don’t know it, Just let them try me, they’ll find I’ll go it Right straight along; I’ll prove to them that I’m a poet, And can sing a song. [page 82] But as I don’t wish to swagger, or blow, As the verse before this will plainly show, Still, I’d like them, one and all, to know, Abused we won’t be; Nor ever allow them over us to crow,— At least, that’s me. They tried our verses to repudiate, And when they couldn’t, to imitate. They are not able to appreciate The sentiment there. The next, they’ll try us to confiscate,— We’ll see how they fare. They have often tried to initiate; But find it is most too complicate. There’s too much for them to abreviate; They find the work hard. I hope, sometime they’ll commemorate An unfortunate bard. All we want, is a pencil and slate; Then we can go it at such a rate! ’Twould surprise critics to see such a gait As we delight in. If we were in a want of a stamp, would they pay it? No; not a sight in. But I hope that they will change their tune; It would suit me well, to do it soon. So you see, I’m rather a cunning coon, In my own opinion. We want some wild, poetical loon, In this Domination. [page 83] Now, for a while, let them do the thinking; We can enjoy in eating and drinking. If we try and keep our spirits from sinking, We’ll find, bye and bye, They’ll be glad for arm and arm to be linking With you and I. [page 84]
OUR GROCERY STORE.
Just come along with me, to-night, And we will do some scouting; I promise you a rustic sight; We’ll hear a plenty spouting. Not very far; you need not fear,— A hundreds yards or more. We have some wags I’d like you hear, At D. G.’s Grocery Store. The boys, cold nights, will gather round; May buy some little fixing. The first one there, I will be bound, He will be Alfred Nixon. Travelled? Yes, sir; can spin a yarn. Has visited Baltimore. His father owns that handsome farm Right opposite the store. The store is full of plenty of stuff, With the different styles. But wait. You now will hear a puff, For here comes Alson Miles. By Jinks! he’s chewing tobacco, too; Look out for a juicy floor. There’s fun to-night. You’ll never rue Your trip to the Grocery Store. You want to know who that one is, That’s only spoken twice? He’s waiting his turn; you’ll hear him fix; His name is Solomon Price. [page 85] He has come out to get a supply. You see that jug by the door? Hang on a while; you’ll see, bye and bye, He’s home in the Grocery Store. Ain’t that a good one Miles has told? Who beats it? chances are fair. Hello! here’s another out of the cold. Come in; stand up, Mr. Blair. That is the Agent lives over the way. He is known as a blower. It don’t matter who, all have a say When at the Grocery Store. Look, Nixon with a pot-metal knife, Whittling away like a trooper. I bet there’s another lonesome wife,— Yes! he supplies the country and town; Would sell a many more, But market is dull and prices down,— Enquires at the Grocery Store. That post-hole story is hard to beat, But Miles is going to try. He’ll get another that’s quite as neat. Good evening, Jonas High. (A farmer, his father has lots of land. You think he is a boor? O no! he’s a quiet and steady hand, To visit the Grocery Store,) [page 86] Well, let us scoot. What do you think Did I come up to promise? Pick out a chap that will take a drink: That’s right, come on Mr. Thomas. Hurrah! down the road, if we get fooled,— It’s often happened before,— We’ll just step over and see Mr. Goold; Adieu to the Grocery Store. [page 87]
A QUEER STICK.
There is a strange old customer here,— No use to tell his name. How he manoeuvers is somewhat queer, Though he is very tame. They say the old chap’s lots of stamps; However that may be, Of all the men that nowadays tramps, There’s none like him, you’ll see. Some say, he’s full of moneyed tricks, But he is firm on politics; Conservative in every feature; A quaint and very clannish creature. He don’t read much of history; Sees nothing now but misery; Says, if Reformers hold dominion, Rebellion sure in his opinion. He hates the sound of William Lyon; McKenzie’s name ought never shine; And, losing all of feelings fine, Goes in a passion; Declares that Mac. and all his kind Are the same fashion. His patriotism is keen and high; For Canada he’ll live and die. And look! says he, Ain’t Alec. to William Lyon a brother? And don’t they claim both the same mother? That won’t do me. [page 88] You see by this, the old man’s green, And you that live by telegraph, Will say it is the best you’ve seen; If you can help, now, don’t you laugh. One day, as he was roaming ’round, When passing by my station, He, hearing a kind of ticking sound, Exclaimed, “what in tarnation!” And straight home he went, so chock full of wonder, He told the folks there, that as true as there’s thunder, A message had arrived, he’d heard it a comin’; Then they smiled, he told them he was not a funnin’. “If you don’t believe,” says he, “come along; I’ll show you whether I am right or wrong. The worst of it is, there is nobody there; I’ve looked all around, and can’t find Blair.” It took some time to make it plain. Possessing an independent brain, He said he would see some time again About the matter; Right or wrong, he was not insane; So ended the clatter. For all, as far as I’m concerned, It don’t require much labor To recognize in this same chap A real good-hearted neighbor. [page 89]
BILL, THE PUMPER,—SONG.
You have heard of Billy the Piper, O! And, maybe, Bob the Hunter; But you’ve not heard of him we call Sandy Bill, the Pumper. It is he supplies the railroad trains, With all they want of water. He is honest; but to get a wife Robbed some man of his daughter. CHORUS—Then fill your glasses full to top, And give the boy a thumper; He loves his glass, and a bonnie lass Does Sandy Bill the Pumper. He runs an engine under the hill; It does not require much labor; But watchful he must always be, Or else we’d miss our neighbor. Smoking his pipe the whole day long, Once in a while a bumper; He is no dummy, but always funny, Is Sandy Bill, the Pumper.—CHOR. There is not a man in the whole town, That minds his business better; He knows what is wrong, can sing you a song, And truthful, to the letter. In slander, he will have no share. He is what we call a trumper. He is well to do, I tell you, too, Is Sandy Bill, the Pumper.—CHOR. [page 90]
DICK THE FISHERMAN.
Down at the Twenty Terminus, There is a sandy beach, It’s planted now with willow brush, ’Cause it will not grow peach. On that low beach there stands a cot, And few pass ’neath its door, That envy him his lonely lot, That lives upon the shore. A fisherman with nets and boat, Is now the resident, He is as proud when he’s afloat, As any President. He is not catching many fish, Just as the present time; But you may meet him when you wish, He’s always got a dime. He spins a yearn about as well, As any salt-sea tar; Especially when he’s fish to sell, That’s his best time by far. Of course his stories are always true, But then they seem so urging, If you wanted one, you’d sure buy two, And maybe one a sturgeon. He is so skilful at his trade, The fish by instinct taught. Of him are very much afraid, They don’t like to be caught. [page 91] And so most all of the best kind Have left the Twenty Pond. There’s few of those are left behind, Of whom the people’s fond. Now, Lake Ontario’s the scene of strife. The Salmon, Bass and White Are either scheming for this life, Or else they’ve taken flight. For the boat comes in day after day, With little for the pan. No one lives here could make it pay, Except that fisherman. One stormy day, his boat upset In a rough and rolling sea; And how he got out of the wet, Is still a mystery. He is here, though, trying to this date, To conjure up some plan To stop those fish before too late, Is Dick, the fisherman. [page 92]
The five following pieces of poetry are without the name of an author. I have clipped them from my scrap book, and think they are beautiful. They are not my composition.
FARMER DAVIS’S WIFE.
The work of the day has been faithfully done, Down in the West sinks the blood red sun; The farmer sits in the cottage door, His land and his stock he is thinking o’er, While his good wife toils at her busy round, Where early and late she is sure to be found. The fields are all planted, the waste slop laid down, The hands of the farmer are rugged and brown, He has toiled in the sun the long spring day, But now he is taking his rest on his way; And he smokes his pipe in the open door, Whilst he tells his plans for the morrow o’er. The good wife puts the last dish down, On her low, white brow you can see a frown; There is a basket of mending and many things more, That lightened must be from the morrow’s store, She would like the rest that she cannot know In the treadmill where she still must go. “I wonder why Jane has faded so fast?” The farmer’s eyes are opened at last; ‘I know she was hearty and hale years ago, Now what is the matter I’m sure I don’t know; We have both worked hard—‘tis a farmer’s life. And I’m sure I don’t know what ails my wife.’ The good wife is withered, and old, and gray, And the farmer keeps on in his old time way: [page 93] She toils at the diary, the kitchen and all The work of three men on her broad shoulders fall For reckoning the children, I’m sure they’d despair, If they had but a third of her labor and care. ’Tis a hard, troubled world, as most of us know, And early our dreams must put off their glow: But give us a little of charge and of rest, Who by burdens so many are sadly opprest— And a little thought for the work that is done, (And never is finished from sun to sun.) [page 94]
ALL EQUAL BEFORE GOD.
A Brahmin on a lotus-pod Once wrote the holy name of God: Then, planting it, he asked in prayer, For some new fruit, unknown and rare. A slave upon the dusty road, Fell fainting ’neath his heavy load; The Brahmin, thoughtless, straightway ran And lifted up the fallen man. The deed scarce done, he stood aghast At touching one beneath his caste. “Behold,” cried he, “I am unclean; My hands have clasped the vile and mean.” God saw the shadow on his face, And wrought a miracle of grace: And buried seed uprose from earth, And bloomed and blossomed into birth. Its leaves were marked with letters rare, And gladly read the Brahmin there These words: “Count all of equal caste; Then count thyself the least and last.” [page 95]
Lisette, at times your roguish eye, My silver locks, I note, survey In half surprise; and, by-the-bye, I see I’m growing very grey. Well, sweet Lisette, in loving you My heart goes back to twenty-two. For four and forty years, dear, learn, I’ve trod life’s footpath day by day; But love permits me to return And meet me sweet Lisette half way; For her its spring-time to renew, My heart goes back to twenty-two. And, bye and bye, when on my bier An immortelle you come to lay, Bedew the garland with a tear, And o’er your sleeping lover say, “His locks were silvery grey, ’tis true— His heart was only twenty-two.”
A sensitive person will often suffer more from the knowledge that he or she is suspicioned of doing a wrong if not guilty, than a careless person guilty of such wrong.
J. B. [page 96]
NEARING THE SHORE.
An old man sat in a worn arm-chair, White as snow is his thin, soft hair, Furrowed his cheek by time and care, And back and forth it sways; There’s a far-away form in his dum, dim eye, Which tells of thoughts of the long gone by, For he sits once more ’neath a cloudless sky, And in childhood merrily plays. He rests his cheek on the head of his cane, And happily smiling dreams over again Of that home, the brook, the meadow, the lane, Dreams all with a vision clear; The childhood yields into manhood’s place, And he looks once more in his bright, bright face, And down in the starry eyes he can trace A love remembered and dear. Then he wakes and sighs: “It seems but a dream, That comes to me now like a golden gleam, Or the shimmering glow of the sun’s last beam; But ’tis pleasant to think it o’er; That youth was so sweet, but now is past. Those days of love were too precious to last, But over yonder their pleasures are cast, And I am nearing that shore.” He is gliding on in his boat, O’er the calm, still water they peacefully float, But echo full oft brings a well-known note From the land he has left behind. [page 97] But time will row back for him no more, And he gazes away to that other shore, And knows when the voyage of life shall be o’er That his dream beyond he will find. The seeds of youth which we sow. Adown through the aisles of the future will glow And shed on age a beautiful glow, As they come in memory’s gleams. Loved faces will come to dimming sight; Sweet words will echo in day-dreams bright, And circle old age with their halos of light As they mingle in beautiful dreams.
Saw ye in yonder meadows A band of maidens fair, Dancing, and slinging perfume Upon the shining air? No, we saw not those maidens; Their dancing days have fled; The frosts are in the meadows,— The summer flowers are dead. [page 98]
WILL I BE REMEMBERED THEN?
I have often thought: when I leave this clay, And my spirit shall have winged its way To the unknown world, the eternal sphere, If I will be remembered here. If any of the many friends I claim, Will speak with due respect my name; And companions with whom I’ve had kind dealings— Will they think of me with kindly feelings? Perchance they may; I may hope they will, When my eyes are closed, and voice is still, When my body is lain beneath the sod, My soul returned to its giver, God. Will my relations, wherever they roam, Remember me, in my far-off home; Forgive what was wrong, acknowledge the right, When I am removed beyond their sight. Will my relations, wherever they roam, Remember me, in my far-off home; Forgive what was wrong, acknowledge the right, When I am removed beyond their sight. Will my brother miss me? O! the affection That binds us together, is beyond conception. As they onward go through this world of cares, May their path be peaceful, and void of snares. Will my father, if I should leave him behind, Allow thoughts of his son to enter his mind? O! yes; he can’t help; his faults he’ll forgive,— Hope he’s gone with his mother, in heaven to live. Shall I be remembered by my tender wife, Who has comforted me so often in life? Will her memory be true, after death do us part? Will she cherish sweet thoughts of me in her heart? [page 99] The answer is given, and proved in the past. Thoughts of me in her bosom always will last. No other may see it; but of this I am sure,— Affection once rooted, will forever endure. My dear little children, will they miss me? And think how they climbed upon my knee, To listen to stories, or to hear me sing, ’Till merry laughter would make our home ring. They’ll remember their father, as they grow in years, I hope the remembrance will not bring tears; Only as one who to them was given, To point them the way to a Father in heaven. Yes, I’ll be missed by friends here below; Thoughts of me will occur wherever they go. My family will miss me, but not for long, As we hope to meet in one happy throng. The friends of mine that before me have gone, I think of often, and sometimes long. And is it not cheering, to know we’ll be missed Here below, and welcomed among the blest. [page 100]
TO A FRIEND OF INFIDEL VIEWS.
Would that I could find power to crush Unhappy unbelief; Make cheering thoughts through spirits rush, Giving souls relief. Can anything that springs from Good, Ever die, or be no more? No! through this world its works have stood, And higher it will soar. There is a God above us all, complete, Uncomprehended still. At times our natures with him meet, We recognize Good-will. Our very thoughts, when Freedom’s given, Will leave this earth and rise; In seeking for their rest a haven, Are lodged beyond the skies. And wondrous happiness they find, Till nature, irksome ever, No longer can allow our mind From earthly things to sever. This proves to me, when nature fails, And Death life’s thread doth sever; Our souls will spread their blood-washed sails, And live, yes, live forever. [page 101]
QUESTION—Now, First of April, since you’re here, How many fools have you this year? That you’re a very foolish day, I’ve heard a many people say. ANSWER—Because they named me April First, Should I of fools be called the worst? I really do not like the name; Still, I’m content you know my fame. Since information you do ask, Let’s in the sun sit down and bask. A little while I’ll with you tarry. You want to know the fools I carry? Of fools, I have a many, true; I’ll mention, though, but just a few. I have not much to spare of time, And wish to put it into rhyme. Well, to begin: If to be poor Is foolish, you’re a fool, that’s sure. The rich man lives but to possess; Is not that, too, great foolishness? The bravest soldiers are but fools, ’Tis hard, yet truth I cannot smother. Would wise men murder one another? The greatest statesmen (much the same,) Are really only great in name. If they to higher thoughts ascend, The fools! they cannot comprehend. Philosophers are fools; and few That take a philosophic view, [page 102] Can understand the things they teach; The moral is beyond their reach. The orators with whom you meet Are wise, upheld by self conceit. They study sophistry, through schools, Create, destroy; they, too are fools. The wisest fools that I have met, Are those that never stop to fret; Accept this world as they may find, And for a higher train their mind. And after I’ve from you departed, Do not be cast down or disheartened, If fools you meet; for bear in mind, I’ll leave a lot of fools behind. Well, friend, of time I have no more To spare, for a must onward soar. If my delay gives you a lesson, I hope ’twill prove to you a blessing. Well, April First, since you must go, Adieu; but I’ll remember, though, Whole earthly wisdom holds its sway, We’ll all be fools, in our own way. [page 103]
MY FIRST FLIRTATION—AND WHAT CAME OF IT.
If I remember right, ’twas when I was fourteen years old, That first I saw the one who helps My story to unfold. ’Twas winter; first I’d went to school, Since moving on the farm. She sat just opposite, I never thought There could be any harm, When at evening or noon,—just now I cannot call to mind, On way home, asked if I might walk A little way behind. Offended direct, for two long years, She shunned me every chance; But when sixteen, she sudden changed Her manner at a dance. I heard, before I started for The dance that fatal night, She and her beau had lately quarrelled; The news gave me delight. For might she not now notice me, If but to aggravate? I made up my mind if she did, that I My story would relate. Well, sure enough; she smiled on me, I couldn’t believe it meant, But thought like this, “go on, you’ll find That love goes where it’s sent.” [page 104] I thought tee, she’d forget to count The years that I was older Than when she shunned me at the school, And turned me the cold shoulder. ’Twas getting about time to go home; I asked her, polite as I could, To dance a cotillion with me for a mate; She answered sweet, she would. I felt real good, but didn’t let on. The change about half done, I thought by the pressure of her hand, Her good-will I had won. I said I’d like to go with her home; She colored like vermilion, And said I might, if I liked, we’d start Right after this cotillion. Then promenade to seats was called, And I was glad as could be, For didn’t I want to talk to her? And didn’t she to me? I went with her home; she gave consent To have me call again; I knew very well she thought me young, Still I could not refrain. So I kept going, until at last, Her heart I did subdue. Her parents scolded, but all no use, To me she would be true. [page 105] Now, that same girl that I met at school, When she was ten and three, And thought me such a saucy cub, Is keeping house for me. She often says, she cannot tell, However in her life, She came to promise unto me, To be a loving wife. I tell her, ‘twas just a piece of luck, And little would she know Of me if they had never quarreled,— Herself and her old Beau.
Good Book, in truth you are abused By them for whom you’re given. Paths, without number, men have chosen, And each one right for Heaven. Men take your words to prove their creed, To suit their selfish whims, Their bias minds, will, as they read, Recall their neighbors’ sins. Some take from you, the right to lead Their fellow men, and try Condemn; have they not need Of pity from on high? It seems to me, if we would take A pattern from our Saviour, Love more each other, for his sake, There’d be more good behavior. [page 106]
LETTER TO A BROTHER.
You received my verses and sent them to print, For that, you will please accept thanks. Judging me by them, you would not once hint I was once so full of wild pranks. You say in reading them you felt affected; Now that really was not my intention. Only expression of thought, by being dissected, Make to what in them I mention. Don’t know as to “splendid,” but hope they are true; At least, they are not imitation. I think I’d do better, but ’tween me and you, It’s the lack of a good education. You say John Patterson is with you to learn, And is going to try telegraphing; I hope he’ll succeed, and the art soon discern, And not with the girls to be chaffing. There are two churches here, but not kept going As regular as might be expected; The preachers don’t care the seed to be sowing, When people won’t do as directed. I have no objection to the B. A. P.; In fact, I’m in need of good reading. If it’s not much trouble, you can send it to me; It may be just what I am needing. About Maggie, we’ll try and send her to you. If you manage to make her content, You can keep her a week, or maybe two, But longer I won’t give consent. [page 107] You ought to see Elsie; she creeps all around, And often climbs up by a chair; In cunning, you wager she’s all sound; But of course her father’s a Blair. Well, our love to all; Ill have to be quitting. It is tedious to write by rhyme: I am tired of thinking and so much sitting. Come down whenever you’ve time.
ON DROWNING OF W. V.
Another of those we loved has left This world, through higher flights to roam, And many saddened friends bereft, Will miss him in their earthly home. How fruitless all his study here. Where are those hopes that rose so high? His friendship young, to us so dear, But not too young or dear to die. Drowned! did they say, and near the spot, Where we have played and sported too? Then when we pass, awakened thought Will remind us of a heart that’s true. His sparkling eyes and merry ways, A generous heart with feelings fine, Will be remembered all our days, We’ll miss and mourn poor Willie Vine. [page 108]
BE CAREFUL, GRITS.
What are you up to now, ye Grits? You take some wonderful queer fits. You had better mind your peelers now, Or else you’ll get into a row. You know, in the last election law You passed, there’s found a many flaw; We will just give you until next session, To fix what’s now in your possession. Some of your followers feel a disgust. For such a law they have no trust. Let up a little, when you meet, For if you don’t, you will lose your feet. For such a man as Capt. Neelon, You know right well that we have feeling. He won the contest fair enough, If it wasn’t for your law so tough. You can punish the man who buys a vote; And him that sells! why, jail the bloat. The candidate, just for a treat Should not be made to lose his seat. And when you find your followers good, Like A. McKellar and E. B. Wood, What makes you shunt them out your sight? I don’t think that’s exactly right. You talk compulsion! It cannot stand While Canada remains free land. I hope you’ll all wear ragged coats, Before you force from men their votes. [page 109] Whoever brings that motion up, He will find it is a bitter cup. It is little short of tyranny, And certain, it is not liberty. So Grits, be careful in your power. Don’t mention things that so soon sour. You want, I know, room to expand; But keep our Canada free land.
AN IMAGINARY CONVERSATION
Between H. W. B. and an inquisitive Unknown, at the close of the great trial in Brooklyn.
UNKNOWN—Now, Mr. Beecher, what’s all this? They say that you’ve been doing What seems to me must be amiss,— I mean that little wooing. BEECHER—I thought that all the world had heard My feelings in that matter. You see, the whole proceeding’s blurred, ’Cause Beach made such a splatter. U.—O! yes, I know they’re kind of mixed, Yet all is plain to you; I’d like to know how you are fixed, Or, are the charges true? B.—Why, no! go read the evidence, And judge of what you see; Look up the proof, use common sense, You’ll say that I am free. [page 110] I read the most of that, but then, ’Tis hard to understand About that kiss; the where and when,— Was it her face or hand? B.—Saluting, a custom long in vogue, Will ever be abiding. That never will produce a rogue; ’Tis harmless as nest-hiding. U.—Well, how about the bed-room scene? It looks somewhat suspicious. I don’t see what those boquets mean; They were at least ludicrous. B.—Yes, that will do for those inclined, To think all was not right. If selfish passion ruled the mind, ’Twere surely a bad plight. U.—I understand your virtue’s tried, Allow for your profession. I see quite plainly, some have lied, Though you will own transgression. B.—O, certainly; I plainly see That I have been too bold. A winning lady! Mrs. T.,— I could not use her cold. U.—How people blame you, I can’t tell; They look in wrong directions. Not many, I think, would done so well, If they’d won her affections. [page 111] B.—Affection! yes, that made me feel To more myself reprove; ’Twas what I call an undue zeal, Or sympathetic love. U.—Why, to be sure! who could resist? But why did Tilton wait? I’m sure, if he’d told you, “desist,” He’d never lost his mate. B.—Ah! there is where his fault is plain,— Allowing the thing to run; Inviting me to call again, Until the mischief’s done. U.—There’s one more question I would ask; Don’t you believe that he In other’s smiles did wish to bask, And longed to be more free? B.—You have the secret, now, my friend: The cause of this last shove, From the beginning to the end, Was nothing but Free Love. [page 112]
FOR SOME WHO SNEER.
Sometimes it hurts the dignity Of educated men, If those who have not studied books, Dare take in hand the pen. They seem to think ’tis their sole right, To educate the mass; They may be right, but I contend, That nature has her class. And that is where I love to learn; Her studies I enjoy; If College learning makes the man, Then I’m content a boy. I know some learned professionals, Delight to publish prose; When I attempt to show my verse. They sneer and twist their nose. And all because I’ve not been taught, In what they call High School; They seem to think it is not my place, And say, “don’t be a fool.” To such I’d ask, what makes you mind A foolish boy like me? If my poor verses don’t attract, What makes it bother thee? But I’m glad there are only a few of those, And them we soon forget; For all their study, I do believe That they are ignorant yet. [page 113]
WARNING TO GREEN STATION MASTERS.
The tramps are very numerous now, You can see them most all times, There are some that are honest, I guess; but all Are wonderful lacking of dimes. One Saturday night, about three months ago, A man with a pitiful face, Came to me, politely inquired how far It was to be the next place. I asked him which way he wanted to go, And whether ’twas east or west; He said that Woodstock was his home, Once he was there, he would rest. Then he went on to tell me as how, He was robbed the night before, And wanted me to send a telegraph; For money he must have more. He said that his friends were respectable, And they would the charges pay. I told him that it was impossible, As he was too late in the day. I explained! the office must be closed, To-morrow would be Sunday, He would have to wait, I was positive, Until very late on Monday. The poor fellow didn’t know what to do. He heaved a monstrous sigh; I surely thought every minute, he would Burst out in a mournful cry. [page 114] So I felt sympathetic for him just then, Though I didn’t have much ahead; I offered if he would consent to stay, To give him his supper and bed. He thanked me, but thought of his family, And then he began to weep. No use of me staying, said he, I know I neither could eat not sleep. I felt so sorry, that I determined To make him a proposition; I give you my word, when I did, that I Expected no opposition. Said I, see here; If I send you home, By our No. Nine Express, Will you send me the money directly back? He answered, he couldn’t do less. I gave him a ticket to go to St. Kates, By No. Eight to meet Nine, Return to Jordan and one to Woodstock, Via the Great Western line. He thanked me so much, promised so oft; I told him to never mind talk, But do as he agreed, and I would for him Draw a big line with the chalk. I asked his directions, he gave them to me, And said he was staying at Dent’s; But he’s not to be found, I’ve lost it I’m sure, Two dollars and sixty cents. [page 115] So, you inexperienced, take warning by this, Don’t trust too much to tramps, Or you will find out some day you are beat Out of a few of your stamps. [page 116]
I’ll tell you of a person I know, They call him Deacon Burtch, It would do you no good to see the style, He takes inside the church, You would not think, to see him there, With stiffened front and collar, That aught was wrong; but don’t you tempt The old man with a dollar. He sits as far up toward the front As he could very well be; His visage stern, the aspect grave, Seldom a smile you’ll see. If it is a widow or maiden fair, He’d condescend for her; But then, don’t blame him just for that, ’Cause he is a widower. When the text is given out, he gets His spectacles on his nose; While turning the leaves of the good Book, His thoughts nobody knows. He generally listens attentively, To all the parson says; You see, by doing that, he gets Enough to last six days. I mean, if I’m a judge, he thinks If he keep straight on Sunday, Pays good attention to the church, Don’t matter much ’bout Monday. [page 117] The old chap’s well to-do; you know That most of deacon’s are; It’s better for the flock, and cash Will always go at par. When service is over, side by side The minister and he Make straight for home—his office must Provide the parson’s tea. The deacon’s manner, more or less Is always dignified; But if there is money in the way, He’ll let religion slide. The sisters gather ’round him, too; They seem to like him well; For what, I own I hardly know, And they will never tell. I do believe he is virtuous; However that may be, There are other graces he hasn’t got, And one is Charity. For those who happen to be in want, His contempt is too real; And any poor fellow that is hungering, He needn’t go there for a meal. This same old Deacon I’m telling about, Has many a place to rent; But if you were short, and asked him to lend, He’d charge all he could of per cent. And yet he is chock so full of conceit, He hopes to be saved through grace. But, though a poor devil, I wouldn’t for all He has got, be found in his place. [page 118]
THE MAID O’ER THE WAY.
The toils of the day resigned for rest; The sun’s last rays had sunk in the West, The blissful hour of the gray twilight, And gathering shadows of coming night. Sweet is the voice of the whippoorwill, All is unnoticed; the maid o’er the way, Is wooing in thought, her lover so gay. The wind is blowing an eastern gale; Out from Oswego port stands a sail; O’er the bulwark leaning, a sailor brave Is watching, as pass him, wave after wave. He heeds not the tempest, its gathering might No terror inspires, his heart it is right. He smilingly watches the dashing spray. Dreamlike he sees her—the maid o’er the way. It is Saturday night, the week’s work is o’er, And ’neath the tree by the kitchen door, She is watching the threatening clouds with care, Inwardly breathing an earnest prayer. She turns to the door with somewhat of sorrow, Dreading a lonesome day to-morrow, Provided it was not permitted that they Should meet, the sailor and maid o’er the way. Now Sunday eve, and the hour seemed blest, The pure azure sky and sun in the west, Seemed to smile, as looking in silence down, Prouder than wearer of worldly crown. [page 119] ’Twas a fitting time for lovers to meet. Hark! down the valley, the patter of feet Hurrying onward, the maid o’er the way Springs forward to meet him. I’ll never betray. Near a beautiful river, a cottage is seen, And children arep laying out on the green; Often at night, ere their head’s on the pillow, Stories are told of the bounding billow. Two that reside there, we’ve heard of before; One of them sails for a living no more; Any that know them, will remember always, The once reckless rover, and maid o’er the way. [page 120]
Smoky Hollow! Dear and jolly; Many days I’ve with thee spent. In thee, pleasure Without measure, To me not given,—only lent. Merry faces Were thy graces; Though they follies were not few; I can but love Thee far above All other land that’s met my view. For, did I not, In yonder cot Find her for whom my heart did long? Then all my days I will thee praise, With pen, in verse, and in the song. Just o’er the rill, Near yonder hill, My father tills his little farm. Many a prayer Offered there, Preserved me from a many harm. As thee I near, Hope yields to fear; Do all my dear old comrades still [page 121] Make thee their home? Or do some roam The spirit world. Why such cold thrill? Has death been here? Tyrant! severe, And robbed thee of some former joys? Of many a smile That did beguile? And where are all my neighbor boys? But such a task! Why do I ask? ’Twould cause us many hours of pain. Let’s think and rest,— It’s all for best, I pray we all may meet again. But Smoky hollow! While I follow That which brings me worldly worth; A thought for thee Will always be, As one dear spot to me, on earth. [page 122]
JUDGMENT AT LAST
The judgement has arrived at last, And Nelson is condemned to fast; For eight long years he has no voice; Song out, ye Tories, and rejoice. Let your tune be Auld Lang Syne; The words must honor Justice Gwynne; But while your voices high ascend, Look out for over-zealous friend. You yet may have some real hard knocks; Be shy the dangerous witness box. There’s always some that’s indiscreet; You’re lucky if you gain the seat. For though the trial has much revealed, Still, Neelon has, you know, appealed, Conscious that he is not to blame; And many think about the same. For my part, I believe that way, And don’t care what Reformers say. If they will pass such stringent laws, They ought to study more than cause. For the effect will be desertion. I’m caudid now in this assertion: The candidate, for others’ lies Is often made the sacrifice. He should not even be unseated. If justice were but rightly meted, Those friends that have so much of zeal, ’Tis them that should be made to real. [page 123] Buyer and seller,—two mean samples,— Ought to be made to all, examples. Freedom to all, and moderation, Are the main bulwarks of a nation. A social man with a spare dime Should not be bound election time. In Neelon’s case, blame him who can,— All know him as an honest man. Should he retire from politics, The party will be in a fix. There are others just as good as he,— But men now-a-days, love to be free. Of late, elections have been rife; Too much of real, unnatural strife. In election law there’s little beauty; Still, as it is, we’ll do our duty. Reform’s the motto; may it win. Let all steer clear, this time, of sin; Whoever the man that be elected, Let’s hope he’ll have the law dissected. [page 124] Creation! mighty work began, By an Almighty hand; ’Twas God himself conceived the plan, Could it be else but grand? At first, the Heavens and the Earth, So motionless and still, Were formed, but darkness, dismal, dearth, Did space and substance fill. God said, let there be light; behold! At once, he was obeyed; Darkness away from light was rolled, And day and night were made. The second day, the firmament The waters great divided; Each to their proper places sent, The earth was then provided. He said,—’twas done,—the earth must need Bring fruit after his kind; Trees, herbs must yield, and for its seed, Within itself must find. To give the world its glorious light, God had but to command The sun by day, the moon by night, With countless, starry band. God bade, that fowls fill the air, That fishes fill the sea, Let every living creature pair, And blessings on you be. [page 125] Man must in God’s own image shine, The crowning work of all, Superior to all other kind, And finished, good did call. God made man lord o’er all in sea, Over every living thing, The earth for man must fruitful be, For man its seeds shall bring. God sanctified the seventh day, And on that day did rest From work. So man and woman may Regard the day he blest. A luxurious garden, made to grow, With food it did abound, Beautiful rivers were made to flow, And golden stones were found. Adam,—the name God chose to give The first and only man, Was in the garden placed to live, Command: Eat all you can. A Tree of knowledge was reserved, Of which man must not try, For in the day he did, deserved, And must so surely die. A rib, God took from Adam’s side, And from it woman made. Alone, man never should abide, In plain words, He has said. [page 126] But now the serpent, subtle beast, Unto the woman came, And tempted, saying: “Why not feast From every tree the same?” The woman answered, “We may eat Of all expecting one.” The serpent, charming at her feet, And dazzling in the sun, Now cunning speaks: “If you would gain Some knowledge to you hidden; If you would learn, then you must fain Eat of the tree forbidden. The woman saw the tree was good, And pleasant to the eye; Disgraced the spot whereon she stood; She took; did eat and die. And not content to bear alone, Her partner she degraded; Their nakedness to both were known,— The earth by Sin, was shaded. God cursed the serpent from that hour, And to the reptile said; “Upon thy belly shalt thou cower,— Man’s seed shall bruise thy head.” Then fallen woman he addressed: “Of trouble, more thou’lt see; With sorrows thou shalt be possessed; And man shall rule o’er thee.” [page 127] Now, unto Adam the Almighty spoke; “By sweet, thy living earn; Cursed is the ground, for thine own sake, To dust shalt thou return.” He made them coats of skin to wear; Lest man should live forever, The Tree of Life was watched with care, Man must from Eden sever. Yet man, unto this very day, Will not regard, but disobey; From Adam will not take a lesson; Accepts a curse, discards a blessing. And woman,—causes of all our woe,— Can never tell the tempter go, Enraptured with the serpent’s voice,— More to repent, less to rejoice. While she in turn, like mother Eve, Does now, and ever will deceive; And so our race will ever be, Till time rolls round Eternity. [page 128]
We cannot be too guarded as to encouraging the acquaintance of a suspicious person, as such people misconstrue your every action, and imagine they see within some bad motive,
The talkative listen to no one, for they are ever speaking. And the first evil that attends those who know not how to be silent is that they hear nothing,
No man takes less pains than to hold his tongue. Hear much and speak little, for the tongue is the instrument of the greatest good and the greatest evil that is done in the world.
—Sir Walter Raleigh.
You need not tell all the truth unless to those who have a right to know it all. But let all you tell be truth,
If you see a man happy as the world goes—contented with himself, and contented with what is around him—such a man may be, and probably is, decent and respectable; but the highest is not in him, and the highest will not come out of him.
I give my most hearty welcome to every man, be he Roman Catholic or Protestant, who comes to bring the Gospel as God has manifested it to him; he is my brother, and I give him the heartiest welcome.
Brisk talkers are usually slow thinkers. There is indeed no wild beast more to be dreaded than a communicative person
If he draw you aside from your proper end, No enemy like a bosom friend. [page 129]