I drew aside the Future's veil
And saw upon his bier
The poet Whitman. Loud the wail
And damp the falling tear.
'He's dead-he is no more!' one cried,
With sobs of sorrow crammed;
'No more? He's this much more,' replied
Another: 'he is damned!'
The Division Superintendent
Baffled he stands upon the track
The automatic switches clack.
Where'er he turns his solemn eyes
The interlocking signals rise.
The trains, before his visage pale,
Glide smoothly by, nor leave the rail.
No splinter-spitted victim he
Hears uttering the note high C.
In sorrow deep he hangs his head,
A-weary-would that he were dead.
Now suddenly his spirits rise
A great thought kindles in his eyes.
Hope, like a headlight's vivid glare,
Splendors the path of his despair.
His genius shines, the clouds roll back
'I'll place obstructions on the track!'
The Unfallen Brave
Not all in sorrow and in tears,
To pay of gratitude's arrears
The yearly sum
Not prompted, wholly by the pride
Of those for whom their friends have died,
To-day we come.
Another aim we have in view
Than for the buried boys in blue
To dropp a tear:
Memorial Day revives the chin
Of Barnes, and Salomon chimes in
That's why we're here.
And when in after-ages they
Shall pass, like mortal men, away,
Their war-song sung,
Then fame will tell the tale anew
Of how intrepidly they drew
The deadly tongue.
Then cull white lilies for the graves
Of Liberty's loquacious braves,
And roses red.
Those represent their livers, these
The blood that in unmeasured seas
They did not shed.
Dull were the days and sober,
The mountains were brown and bare,
For the season was sad October
And a dirge was in the air.
The mated starlings flew over
To the isles of the southern sea.
She wept for her warrior lover
Wept and exclaimed: 'Ah, me!
'Long years have I mourned my darling
In his battle-bed at rest;
And it's O, to be a starling,
With a mate to share my nest!'
The angels pitied her sorrow,
Restoring her warrior's life;
And he came to her arms on the morrow
To claim her and take her to wife.
An aged lover-a portly,
Bald lover, a trifle too stiff,
With manners that would have been courtly,
And would have been graceful, if
If the angels had only restored him
Without the additional years
That had passed since the enemy bored him
To death with their long, sharp spears.
As it was, he bored her, and she rambled
Away with her father's young groom,
And the old lover smiled as he ambled
Contentedly back to the tomb.
Death-poet Pickering sat at his desk,
Wrapped in appropriate gloom;
His posture was pensive and picturesque,
Like a raven charming a tomb.
Enter a party a-drinking the cup
Of sorrow-and likewise of woe:
'Some harrowing poetry, Mister, whack up,
All wrote in the key of O.
'For the angels has called my old woman hence
From the strife (where she fit mighty free).
It's a nickel a line? Cond-n the expense!
For wealth is now little to me.'
The Bard of Mortality looked him through
In the piercingest sort of a way:
'It is much to me though it's little to you
I've _taken_ a wife to-day.'
So he twisted the tail of his mental cow
And made her give down her flow.
The grief of that bard was long-winded, somehow-
There was reams and reamses of woe.
The widower man which had buried his wife
Grew lily-like round each gill,
For she turned in her grave and came back to life
Then he cruel ignored the bill!
Then Sorrow she opened her gates a-wide,
As likewise did also Woe,
And the death-poet's song, as is heard inside,
Is sang in the key of O.
The Wise And Good
'O father, I saw at the church as I passed
The populace gathered in numbers so vast
That they couldn't get in; and their voices were low,
And they looked as if suffering terrible woe.'
''Twas the funeral, child, of a gentleman dead
For whom the great heart of humanity bled.'
'What made it bleed, father, for every day
Somebody passes forever away?
Do the newspaper men print a column or more
Of every person whose troubles are o'er?'
'O, no; they could never do that-and indeed,
Though printers might print it, no reader would read.
To the sepulcher all, soon or late, must be borne,
But 'tis only the Wise and the Good that all mourn.'
'That's right, father dear, but how can our eyes
Distinguish in dead men the Good and the Wise?'
'That's easy enough to the stupidest mind:
They're poor, and in dying leave nothing behind.'
'Seest thou in mine eye, father, anything green?
And takest thy son for a gaping marine?
Go tell thy fine tale of the Wise and the Good
Who are poor and lamented to babes in the wood.'
And that horrible youth as I hastened away
Was building a wink that affronted the day.
Tut! Moody, do not try to show
To gentlemen and ladies
That if they have not 'Faith,' they'll go
Headlong to Hades.
Faith is belief; and how can I
Have that by being willing?
This dime I cannot, though I try,
Believe a shilling.
Perhaps you can. If so, pray do-
Believe you own it, also.
But what seems evidence to you
I may not call so.
Heaven knows I'd like the Faith to think
This little vessel's contents
Are liquid gold. I see 'tis ink
For writing nonsense.
Minds prone to Faith, however, may
Come now and then to sorrow:
They put their trust in truth to-day,
In lies to-morrow.
No doubt the happiness is great
To think as one would wish to;
But not to swallow every bait,
As certain fish do.
To think a snake a cord, I hope,
Would bolden and delight me;
But some day I might think a rope
Would chase and bite me.
'Curst Reason! Faith forever blest!'
You're crying all the season.
Well, who decides that Faith is best?
Why, Mr. Reason.
He's right or wrong; he answers you
According to your folly,
And says what you have taught him to,
Like any polly.
The moon in the field of the keel-plowed main
Was watching the growing tide:
A luminous peasant was driving his wain,
And he offered my soul a ride.
But I nourished a sorrow uncommonly tall,
And I fixed him fast with mine eye.
'O, peasant,' I sang with a dying fall,
'Go leave me to sing and die.'
The water was weltering round my feet,
As prone on the beach they lay.
I chanted my death-song loud and sweet;
'Kioodle, ioodle, iay!'
Then I heard the swish of erecting ears
Which caught that enchanted strain.
The ocean was swollen with storms of tears
That fell from the shining swain.
'O, poet,' leapt he to the soaken sand,
'That ravishing song would make
The devil a saint.' He held out his hand
And solemnly added: 'Shake.'
We shook. 'I crave a victim, you see,'
He said-'you came hither to die.'
The Angel of Death, 't was he! 't was he!
And the victim he crove was I!
'T was I, Fred Emerson Brooks, the bard;
And he knocked me on the head.
O Lord! I thought it exceedingly hard,
For I didn't want to be dead.
'You'll sing no worser for that,' said he,
And he drove with my soul away,
O, death-song singers, be warned by me,
Kioodle, ioodle, iay!
The Free Trader's Lament
Oft from a trading-boat I purchased spice
And shells and corals, brought for my inspection
From the fair tropics-paid a Christian price
And was content in my fool's paradise,
Where never had been heard the word 'Protection.'
'T was my sole island; there I dwelt alone
No customs-house, collector nor collection,
But a man came, who, in a pious tone
Condoled with me that I had never known
The manifest advantage of Protection.
So, when the trading-boat arrived one day,
He threw a stink-pot into its mid-section.
The traders paddled for their lives away,
Nor came again into that haunted bay,
The blessed home thereafter of Protection.
Then down he sat, that philanthropic man,
And spat upon some mud of his selection,
And worked it, with his knuckles in a pan,
To shapes of shells and coral things, and span
A thread of song in glory of Protection.
He baked them in the sun. His air devout
Enchanted me. I made a genuflexion:
'God help you, gentle sir,' I said. 'No doubt,'
He answered gravely, 'I'll get on without
Assistance now that we have got Protection.'
Thenceforth I bought his wares-at what a price
For shells and corals of such imperfection!
'Ah, now,' said he, 'your lot is truly nice.'
But still in all that isle there was no spice
To season to my taste that dish, Protection.
The Man Born Blind
A man born blind received his sight
By a painful operation;
And these are things he saw in the light
Of an infant observation.
He saw a merchant, good and wise.
And greatly, too, respected,
Who looked, to those imperfect eyes,
Like a swindler undetected.
He saw a patriot address
A noisy public meeting.
And said: 'Why, that's a calf. I guess.
That for the teat is bleating.'
A doctor stood beside a bed
And shook his summit sadly.
'O see that foul assassin!' said
The man who saw so badly.
He saw a lawyer pleading for
A thief whom they'd been jailing,
And said: 'That's an accomplice, or
My sight again is failing.'
Upon the Bench a Justice sat,
With nothing to restrain him;
''Tis strange,' said the observer, 'that
They ventured to unchain him.'
With theologic works supplied,
He saw a solemn preacher;
'A burglar with his kit,' he cried,
'To rob a fellow creature.'
A bluff old farmer next he saw
Sell produce in a village,
And said: 'What, what! is there no law
To punish men for pillage?'
A dame, tall, fair and stately, passed,
Who many charms united;
He thanked his stars his lot was cast
Where sepulchers were whited.
He saw a soldier stiff and stern,
'Full of strange oaths' and toddy;
But was unable to discern
A wound upon his body.
Ten square leagues of rolling ground
To one great man belonging,
Looked like one little grassy mound
With worms beneath it thronging.
A palace's well-carven stones,
Where Dives dwelt contented,
Seemed built throughout of human bones
With human blood cemented.
He watched the yellow shining thread
A silk-worm was a-spinning;
'That creature's coining gold.' he said,
'To pay some girl for sinning.'
His eyes were so untrained and dim
All politics, religions,
Arts, sciences, appeared to him
But modes of plucking pigeons.
And so he drew his final breath,
And thought he saw with sorrow
Some persons weeping for his death
Who'd be all smiles to-morrow.
George A. Knight
Attorney Knight, it happens so sometimes
That lawyers, justifying cut-throats' crimes
For hire-calumniating, too, for gold,
The dead, dumb victims cruelly unsouled
Speak, through the press, to a tribunal far
More honorable than their Honors are,
A court that sits not with assenting smile
While living rogues dead gentleman revile,
A court where scoundrel ethics of your trade
Confuse no judgment and no cheating aid,
The Court of Honest Souls, where you in vain
May plead your right to falsify for gain,
Sternly reminded if a man engage
To serve assassins for the liar's wage,
His mouth with vilifying falsehoods crammed,
He's twice detestable and doubly damned!
Attorney Knight, defending Powell, you,
To earn your fee, so energetic grew
(So like a hound, the pride of all the pack,
Clapping your nose upon the dead man's track
To run his faults to earth-at least proclaim
At vacant holes the overtaken game)
That men who marked you nourishing the tongue,
And saw your arms so vigorously swung,
All marveled how so light a breeze could stir
So great a windmill to so great a whirr!
Little they knew, or surely they had grinned,
The mill was laboring to raise the wind.
Ralph Smith a 'shoulder-striker'! God, O hear
This hardy man's description of thy dear
Dead child, the gentlest soul, save only One,
E'er born in any land beneath the sun.
All silent benefactions still he wrought:
High deed and gracious speech and noble thought,
Kept all thy law, and, seeking still the right,
Upon his blameless breast received the light.
'Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints,' he cried
Whose wrath was deep as his comparison wide
Milton, thy servant. Nay, thy will be done:
To smite or spare-to me it all is one.
Can vengeance bring my sorrow to an end,
Or justice give me back my buried friend?
But if some Milton vainly now implore,
And Powell prosper as he did before,
Yet 'twere too much that, making no ado,
Thy saints be slaughtered and be slandered too.
So, Lord, make Knight his weapon keep in sheath,
Or do Thou wrest it from between his teeth!
An Offer Of Marriage
Once I 'dipt into the future far as human eye could see,'
And saw-it was not Sandow, nor John Sullivan, but she
The Emancipated Woman, who was weeping as she ran
Here and there for the discovery of Expurgated Man.
But the sun of Evolution ever rose and ever set,
And that tardiest of mortals hadn't evoluted yet.
Hence the tears that she cascaded, hence the sighs that tore apart
All the tendinous connections of her indurated heart.
Cried Emancipated Woman, as she wearied of the search:
'In Advancing I have left myself distinctly in the lurch!
Seeking still a worthy partner, from the land of brutes and dudes
I have penetrated rashly into manless solitudes.
Now without a mate of any kind where am I?-that's to say,
Where shall I be to-morrow?-where exert my rightful sway
And the purifying strength of my emancipated mind?
Can solitude be lifted up, vacuity refined?
Calling, calling from the shadows in the rear of my Advance
From the Region of Unprogress in the Dark Domain of Chance
Long I heard the Unevolvable beseeching my return
To share the degradation he's reluctant to unlearn.
But I fancy I detected-though I pray it wasn't that
A low reverberation, like an echo in a hat.
So I've held my way regardless, evoluting year by year,
Till I'm what you now behold me-or would if you were here
A condensed Emancipation and a Purifier proud
An Independent Entity appropriately loud!
Independent? Yes, in spirit, but (O, woful, woful state!)
Doomed to premature extinction by privation of a mate
To extinction or reversion, for Unexpurgated Man
Still awaits me in the backward if I sicken of the van.
O the horrible dilemma!-to be odiously linked
With an Undeveloped Species, or become a Type Extinct!'
As Emancipated Woman wailed her sorrow to the air,
Stalking out of desolation came a being strange and rare
Plato's Man!-bipedal, featherless from mandible to rump,
Its wings two quilless flippers and its tail a plumeless stump.
First it scratched and then it clucked, as if in hospitable terms
It invited her to banquet on imaginary worms.
Then it strutted up before her with a lifting of the head,
And in accents of affection and of sympathy it said:
'My estate is some 'at 'umble, but I'm qualified to draw
Near the hymeneal altar and whack up my heart and claw
To Emancipated Anything as walks upon the earth;
And them things is at your service for whatever they are worth.
I'm sure to be congenial, marm, nor e'er deserve a scowl
I'm Emancipated Rooster, I am Expurgated Fowl!'
From the future and its wonders I withdrew my gaze, and then
Wrote this wild unfestive prophecy about the Coming Hen.
A Ballad Of Pikeville
Down in Southern Arizona where the Gila monster thrives,
And the 'Mescalero,' gifted with a hundred thousand lives,
Every hour renounces one of them by drinking liquid flame
The assassinating wassail that has given him his name;
Where the enterprising dealer in Caucasian hair is seen
To hold his harvest festival upon his village-green,
While the late lamented tenderfoot upon the plain is spread
With a sanguinary circle on the summit of his head;
Where the cactuses (or cacti) lift their lances in the sun,
And incautious jackass-rabbits come to sorrow as they run,
Lived a colony of settlers-old Missouri was the State
Where they formerly resided at a prehistoric date.
Now, the spot that had been chosen for this colonizing scheme
Was as waterless, believe me, as an Arizona stream.
The soil was naught but ashes, by the breezes driven free,
And an acre and a quarter were required to sprout a pea.
So agriculture languished, for the land would not produce,
And for lack of water, whisky was the beverage in use-
Costly whisky, hauled in wagons many a weary, weary day,
Mostly needed by the drivers to sustain them on their way.
Wicked whisky! King of Evils! Why, O, why did God create
Such a curse and thrust it on us in our inoffensive state?
Once a parson came among them, and a holy man was he;
With his ailing stomach whisky wouldn't anywise agree;
So he knelt upon the _mesa_ and he prayed with all his chin
That the Lord would send them water or incline their hearts to gin.
Scarcely was the prayer concluded ere an earthquake shook the land,
And with copious effusion springs burst out on every hand!
Merrily the waters gurgled, and the shock which gave them birth
Fitly was by some declared a temperance movement of the earth.
Astounded by the miracle, the people met that night
To celebrate it properly by some religious rite;
And 'tis truthfully recorded that before the moon had sunk
Every man and every woman was devotionally drunk.
A half a standard gallon (says history) per head
Of the best Kentucky prime was at that ceremony shed.
O, the glory of that country! O, the happy, happy folk.
By the might of prayer delivered from Nature's broken yoke!
Lo! the plains to the horizon all are yellowing with rye,
And the corn upon the hill-top lifts its banners to the sky!
Gone the wagons, gone the drivers, and the road is grown to grass,
Over which the incalescent Bourbon did aforetime pass.
Pikeville (that's the name they've given, in their wild, romantic way,
To that irrigation district) now distills, statistics say,
Something like a hundred gallons, out of each recurrent crop,
To the head of population-and consumes it, every drop!
The Passing Of 'Boss' Shepherd
The sullen church-bell's intermittent moan,
The dirge's melancholy monotone,
The measured march, the drooping flags, attest
A great man's progress to his place of rest.
Along broad avenues himself decreed
To serve his fellow men's disputed need
Past parks he raped away from robbers' thrift
And gave to poverty, wherein to lift
Its voice to curse the giver and the gift
Past noble structures that he reared for men
To meet in and revile him, tongue and pen,
Draws the long retinue of death to show
The fit credentials of a proper woe.
'Boss' Shepherd, you are dead. Your hand no more
Throws largess to the mobs that ramp and roar
For blood of benefactors who disdain
Their purity of purpose to explain,
Their righteous motive and their scorn of gain.
Your period of dream-'twas but a breath
Is closed in the indifference of death.
Sealed in your silences, to you alike
If hands are lifted to applaud or strike.
No more to your dull, inattentive ear
Praise of to-day than curse of yesteryear.
From the same lips the honied phrases fall
That still are bitter from cascades of gall.
We note the shame; you in your depth of dark
The red-writ testimony cannot mark
On every honest cheek; your senses all
Locked, _incommunicado_, in your pall,
Know not who sit and blush, who stand and bawl.
'Seven Grecian cities claim great Homer dead,
Through which the living Homer begged his
So sang, as if the thought had been his own,
An unknown bard, improving on a known.
'Neglected genius!'-that is sad indeed,
But malice better would ignore than heed,
And Shepherd's soul, we rightly may suspect,
Prayed often for the mercy of neglect
When hardly did he dare to leave his door
Without a guard behind him and before
To save him from the gentlemen that now
In cheap and easy reparation bow
Their corrigible heads above his corse
To counterfeit a grief that's half remorse.
The pageant passes and the exile sleeps,
And well his tongue the solemn secret keeps
Of the great peace he found afar, until,
Death's writ of extradition to fulfill,
They brought him, helpless, from that friendly zone
To be a show and pastime in his own
A final opportunity to those
Who fling with equal aim the stone and rose;
That at the living till his soul is freed,
This at the body to conceal the deed!
Lone on his hill he's lying to await
What added honors may befit his state
The monument, the statue, or the arch
(Where knaves may come to weep and dupes to march)
Builded by clowns to brutalize the scenes
His genius beautified. To get the means,
His newly good traducers all are dunned
For contributions to the conscience fund.
If each subscribe (and pay) one cent 'twill rear
A structure taller than their tallest ear.
Mr. Fink's Debating Donkey
Of a person known as Peters I will humbly crave your leave
An unusual adventure into narrative to weave
Mr. William Perry Peters, of the town of Muscatel,
A public educator and an orator as well.
Mr. Peters had a weakness which, 'tis painful to relate,
Was a strong predisposition to the pleasures of debate.
He would foster disputation wheresoever he might be;
In polygonal contention none so happy was as he.
'Twas observable, however, that the exercises ran
Into monologue by Peters, that rhetorical young man.
And the Muscatelian rustics who assisted at the show,
By involuntary silence testified their overthrow-
Mr. Peters, all unheedful of their silence and their grief,
Still effacing every vestige of erroneous belief.
O, he was a sore affliction to all heretics so bold
As to entertain opinions that he didn't care to hold.
One day-'t was in pursuance of a pedagogic plan
For the mental elevation of Uncultivated Man
Mr. Peters, to his pupils, in dismissing them, explained
That the Friday evening following (unless, indeed, it rained)
Would be signalized by holding in the schoolhouse a debate
Free to all who their opinions might desire to ventilate
On the question, 'Which is better, as a serviceable gift,
Speech or hearing, from barbarity the human mind to lift?'
The pupils told their fathers, who, forehanded always, met
At the barroom to discuss it every evening, dry or wet,
They argued it and argued it and spat upon the stove,
And the non-committal 'barkeep' on their differences throve.
And I state it as a maxim in a loosish kind of way:
You'll have the more to back your word the less you have to say.
Public interest was lively, but one Ebenezer Fink
Of the Rancho del Jackrabbit, only seemed to sit and think.
On the memorable evening all the men of Muscatel
Came to listen to the logic and the eloquence as well
All but William Perry Peters, whose attendance there, I fear.
Was to wreak his ready rhetoric upon the public ear,
And prove (whichever side he took) that hearing wouldn't lift
The human mind as ably as the other, greater gift.
The judges being chosen and the disputants enrolled,
The question he proceeded _in extenso_ to unfold:
'_Resolved_-The sense of hearing lifts the mind up out of reach
Of the fogs of error better than the faculty of speech.'
This simple proposition he expounded, word by word,
Until they best understood it who least perfectly had heard.
Even the judges comprehended as he ventured to explain
The impact of a spit-ball admonishing in vain.
Beginning at a period before Creation's morn,
He had reached the bounds of tolerance and Adam yet unborn.
As down the early centuries of pre-historic time
He tracked important principles and quoted striking rhyme,
And Whisky Bill, prosaic soul! proclaiming him a jay,
Had risen and like an earthquake, 'reeled unheededly away,'
And a late lamented cat, when opportunity should serve,
Was preparing to embark upon her parabolic curve,
A noise arose outside-the door was opened with a bang
And old Ebenezer Fink was heard ejaculating 'G'lang!'
Straight into that assembly gravely marched without a wink
An ancient ass-the property it was of Mr. Fink.
Its ears depressed and beating time to its infestive tread,
Silent through silence moved amain that stately quadruped!
It stopped before the orator, and in the lamplight thrown
Upon its tail they saw that member weighted with a stone.
Then spake old Ebenezer: 'Gents, I heern o' this debate
On w'ether v'ice or y'ears is best the mind to elevate.
Now 'yer's a bird ken throw some light uponto that tough theme:
He has 'em both, I'm free to say, oncommonly extreme.
He wa'n't invited for to speak, but he will not refuse
(If t'other gentleman ken wait) to exposay his views.'
Ere merriment or anger o'er amazement could prevail;
He cut the string that held the stone on that canary's tail.
Freed from the weight, that member made a gesture of delight,
Then rose until its rigid length was horizontal quite.
With lifted head and level ears along his withers laid,
Jack sighed, refilled his lungs and then-to put it mildly-brayed!
He brayed until the stones were stirred in circumjacent hills,
And sleeping women rose and fled, in divers kinds of frills.
'T is said that awful bugle-blast-to make the story brief-
Wafted William Perry Peters through the window, like a leaf!
Such is the tale. If anything additional occurred
'Tis not set down, though, truly, I remember to have heard
That a gentleman named Peters, now residing at Soquel,
A considerable distance from the town of Muscatel,
Is opposed to education, and to rhetoric, as well.
A Wreath Of Immortelles
Here rests a writer, great but not immense,
Born destitute of feeling and of sense.
No power he but o'er his brain desired
How not to suffer it to be inspired.
Ideas unto him were all unknown,
Proud of the words which, only, were his own.
So unreflecting, so confused his mind,
Torpid in error, indolently blind,
A fever Heaven, to quicken him, applied,
But, rather than revive, the sluggard died.
* * * * *
Pause, stranger-whence you lightly tread
Bill Carr's immoral part has fled.
For him no heart of woman burned,
But all the rivers' heads he turned.
Alas! he now lifts up his eyes
In torment and for water cries,
Entreating that he may procure
One dropp to cool his parched McClure!
* * * * *
Here's crowbait!-ravens, too, and daws
Flock hither to advance their caws,
And, with a sudden courage armed,
Devour the foe who once alarmed-
In life and death a fair deceit:
Nor strong to harm nor good to eat.
King bogey of the scarecrow host,
When known the least affrighting most,
Though light his hand (his mind was dark)
He left on earth a straw Berry mark.
* * * * *
THE REV. JOSEPH
He preached that sickness he could floor
By prayer and by commanding;
When sick himself he sent for four
Physicians in good standing.
He was struck dead despite their care,
For, fearing their dissension,
He secretly put up a prayer,
Thus drawing God's attention.
* * * * *
Cynic perforce from studying mankind
In the false volume of his single mind,
He damned his fellows for his own unworth,
And, bad himself, thought nothing good on earth.
Yet, still so judging and so erring still,
Observing well, but understanding ill,
His learning all was got by dint of sight,
And what he learned by day he lost by night.
When hired to flatter he would never cease
Till those who'd paid for praises paid for peace.
Not wholly miser and but half a knave,
He yearned to squander but he lived to save,
And did not, for he could not, cheat the grave.
_Hic jacet_ Pixley, scribe and muleteer:
Step lightly, stranger, anywhere but here.
* * * * *
McAllister, of talents rich and rare,
Lies at this spot at finish of his race.
Alike to him if it is here or there:
The one spot that he cared for was the ace.
* * * * *
Here lies Joseph Redding, who gave us the catfish.
He dined upon every fish except that fish.
'Twas touching to hear him expounding his fad
With a heart full of zeal and a mouth full of shad.
The catfish miaowed with unspeakable woe
When Death, the lone fisherman, landed their Jo.
* * * * *
Judge Sawyer, whom in vain the people tried
To push from power, here is laid aside.
Death only from the bench could ever start
The sluggish load of his immortal part.
* * * * *
John Irish went, one luckless day,
To loaf and fish at San Jose.
He got no loaf, he got no fish:
They brained him with an empty dish!
They laid him in this place asleep-
O come, ye crocodiles, and weep.
* * * * *
In Sacramento City here
This wooden monument we rear
In memory of Dr. May,
Whose smile even Death could not allay.
He's buried, Heaven alone knows where,
And only the hyenas care;
This May-pole merely marks the spot
Where, ere the wretch began to rot,
Fame's trumpet, with its brazen bray,
Bawled; 'Who (and why) was Dr. May?'
* * * * *
Dennis Spencer's mortal coil
Here is laid away to spoil-
Great riparian, who said
Not a stream should leave its bed.
Now his soul would like a river
Turned upon its parching liver.
* * * * *
For those this mausoleum is erected
Who Stanford to the Upper House elected.
Their luck is less or their promotion slower,
For, dead, they were elected to the Lower.
* * * * *
Beneath this stone lies Reuben Lloyd,
Of breath deprived, of sense devoid.
The Templars' Captain-General, he
So formidable seemed to be,
That had he not been on his back
Death ne'er had ventured to attack.
* * * * *
Here lies Barnes in all his glory-
Master he of oratOry.
When he died the people weeping,
(For they thought him only sleeping)
Cried: 'Although he now is quiet
And his tongue is not a riot,
Soon, the spell that binds him breaking,
He a motion will be making.
Then, alas, he'll rise and speak
In support of it a week.'
* * * * *
Rash mortal! stay thy feet and look around
This vacant tomb as yet is holy ground;
But soon, alas! Jim Fair will occupy
These premises-then, holiness, good-bye!
* * * * *
Here Salomon's body reposes;
Bring roses, ye rebels, bring roses.
Set all of your drumsticks a-rolling,
Discretion and Valor extrolling:
Discretion-he always retreated
And Valor-the dead he defeated.
Brings roses, ye loyal, bring roses:
As patriot here he re-poses.
* * * * *
When Waterman ended his bright career
He left his wet name to history here.
To carry it with him he did not care:
'Twould tantalize spirits of statesmen There.
* * * * *
Here lie the remains of Fred Emerson Brooks,
A poet, as every one knew by his looks
Who hadn't unluckily met with his books.
On civic occasions he sprang to the fore
With poems consisting of stanzas three score.
The men whom they deafened enjoyed them the more.
Of reason his fantasy knew not the check:
All forms of inharmony came at his beck.
The weight of his ignorance fractured his neck.
In this peaceful spot, so the grave-diggers say,
With pen, ink and paper they laid him away-
The Poet-elect of the Judgment Day.
* * * * *
George Perry here lies stiff and stark,
With stone at foot and stone at head.
His heart was dark, his mind was dark
'Ignorant ass!' the people said.
Not ignorant but skilled, alas,
In all the secrets of his trade:
He knew more ways to be an ass
Than any ass that ever brayed.
* * * * *
Here lies the last of Deacon Fitch,
Whose business was to melt the pitch.
Convenient to this sacred spot
Lies Sammy, who applied it, hot.
'Tis hard-so much alike they smell
One's grave from t'other's grave to tell,
But when his tomb the Deacon's burst
(Of two he'll always be the first)
He'll see by studying the stones
That he's obtained his proper bones,
Then, seeking Sammy's vault, unlock it,
And put that person in his pocket.
* * * * *
Beneath this stone O'Donnell's tongue's at rest
Our noses by his spirit still addressed.
Living or dead, he's equally Satanic
His noise a terror and his smell a panic.
* * * * *
When Gabriel blows a dreadful blast
And swears that Time's forever past,
Days, weeks, months, years all one at last,
Then Asa Fiske, laid here, distressed,
Will beat (and skin his hand) his breast:
There'll be no rate of interest!
* * * * *
Step lightly, stranger: here Jerome B. Cox
Is for the second time in a bad box.
He killed a man-the labor party rose
And showed him by its love how killing goes.
* * * * *
When Vrooman here lay down to sleep,
The other dead awoke to weep.
'Since he no longer lives,' they said
'Small honor comes of being dead.'
* * * * *
Here Porter Ashe is laid to rest
Green grows the grass upon his breast.
This patron of the turf, I vow,
Ne'er served it half so well as now.
* * * * *
Like a cold fish escaping from its tank,
Hence fled the soul of Joe Russel, crank.
He cried: 'Cold water!' roaring like a beast.
'Twas thrown upon him and the music ceased.
* * * * *
Here Estee rests. He shook a basket,
When, like a jewel from its casket,
Fell Felton out. Said Estee, shouting
With mirth; 'I've given you an outing.'
Then told him to go back. He wouldn't.
Then tried to _put_ him back. He couldn't.
So Estee died (his blood congealing
In Felton's growing shadow) squealing.
* * * * *
Mourn here for one Bruner, called Elwood.
He doesn't-he never did-smell good
To noses of critics and scholars.
If now he'd an office to sell could
He sell it? O, no-where (in Hell) could
He find a cool four hundred dollars?
* * * * *
Here Stanford lies, who thought it odd
That he should go to meet his God.
He looked, until his eyes grew dim,
For God to hasten to meet him.
Ye Idyll Of Ye Hippopopotamus
With a Methodist hymn in his musical throat,
The Sun was emitting his ultimate note;
His quivering larynx enwrinkled the sea
Like an Ichthyosaurian blowing his tea;
When sweetly and pensively rattled and rang
This plaint which an Hippopopotamus sang:
'O, Camomile, Calabash, Cartilage-pie,
Spread for my spirit a peppermint fry;
Crown me with doughnuts, and drape me with cheese,
Settle my soul with a codliver sneeze.
Lo, how I stand on my head and repine-
Lollipop Lumpkin can never be mine!'
Down sank the Sun with a kick and a plunge,
Up from the wave rose the head of a Sponge;
Ropes in his ringlets, eggs in his eyes,
Tip-tilted nose in a way to surprise.
These the conundrums he flung to the breeze,
The answers that Echo returned to him these:
'Cobblestone, Cobblestone, why do you sigh-
Why do you turn on the tears?'
'My mother is crazy on strawberry jam,
And my father has petrified ears.'
'Liverwort, Liverwort, why do you droop-
Why do you snuffle and scowl?'
'My brother has cockle-burs into his eyes,
And my sister has married an owl.'
'Simia, Simia, why do you laugh-
Why do you cackle and quake?'
'My son has a pollywog stuck in his throat,
And my daughter has bitten a snake.'
Slow sank the head of the Sponge out of sight,
Soaken with sea-water-then it was night.
The Moon had now risen for dinner to dress,
When sweetly the Pachyderm sang from his nest;
He sang through a pestle of silvery shape,
Encrusted with custard-empurpled with crape;
And this was the burden he bore on his lips,
And blew to the listening Sturgeon that sips
From the fountain of opium under the lobes
Of the mountain whose summit in buffalo robes
The winter envelops, as Venus adorns
An elephant's trunk with a chaplet of thorns:
'Chasing mastodons through marshes upon stilts of light ratan,
Hunting spiders with a shotgun and mosquitoes with an axe,
Plucking peanuts ready roasted from the branches of the oak,
Waking echoes in the forest with our hymns of blessed bosh,
We roamed-my love and I.
By the margin of the fountain spouting thick with clabbered milk,
Under spreading boughs of bass-wood all alive with cooing toads,
Loafing listlessly on bowlders of octagonal design,
Standing gracefully inverted with our toes together knit,
We loved-my love and I.'
Hippopopotamus comforts his heart
Biting half-moons out of strawberry tart.
Epitaph on George Francis Train.
(Inscribed on a Pork-barrel.)
Beneath this casket rots unknown
A Thing that merits not a stone,
Save that by passing urchin cast;
Whose fame and virtues we express
By transient urn of emptiness,
With apt inscription (to its past
Relating-and to his): 'Prime Mess.'
No honour had this infidel,
That doth not appertain, as well,
To altered caitiff on the drop;
No wit that would not likewise pass
For wisdom in the famished ass
Who breaks his neck a weed to crop,
When tethered in the luscious grass.
And now, thank God, his hateful name
Shall never rescued be from shame,
Though seas of venal ink be shed;
No sophistry shall reconcile
With sympathy for Erin's Isle,
Or sorrow for her patriot dead,
The weeping of this crocodile.
Life's incongruity is past,
And dirt to dirt is seen at last,
The worm of worm afoul doth fall.
The sexton tolls his solemn bell
For scoundrel dead and gone to-well,
It matters not, it can't recall
This convict from his final cell.
Jerusalem, Old and New.
Didymus Dunkleton Doty Don John
Is a parson of high degree;
He holds forth of Sundays to marvelling crowds
Who wonder how vice can still be
When smitten so stoutly by Didymus Don-
Disciple of Calvin is he.
But sinners still laugh at his talk of the New
And biting their thumbs at the doughty Don-John
This parson of high degree-
They think of the streets of a village they know,
Where horses still sink to the knee,
Contrasting its muck with the pavement of gold
That's laid in the other citee.
They think of the sign that still swings, uneffaced
By winds from the salt, salt sea,
Which tells where he trafficked in tipple, of yore-
Don Dunkleton Johnny, D. D.
Didymus Dunkleton Doty Don John
Still plays on his fiddle-D. D.,
His lambkins still bleat in full psalmody sweet,
And the devil still pitches the key.
Communing with Nature.
One evening I sat on a heavenward hill,
The winds were asleep and all nature was still,
Wee children came round me to play at my knee,
As my mind floated rudderless over the sea.
I put out one hand to caress them, but held
With the other my nose, for these cherubim smelled.
I cast a few glances upon the old sun;
He was red in the face from the race he had run,
But he seemed to be doing, for aught I could see,
Quite well without any assistance from me.
And so I directed my wandering eye
Around to the opposite side of the sky,
And the rapture that ever with ecstasy thrills
Through the heart as the moon rises bright from the hills,
Would in this case have been most exceedingly rare,
Except for the fact that the moon was not there.
But the stars looked right lovingly down in the sea,
And, by Jupiter, Venus was winking at me!
The gas in the city was flaring up bright,
Montgomery Street was resplendent with light;
But I did not exactly appear to advance
A sentiment proper to that circumstance.
So it only remains to explain to the town
That a rainstorm came up before I could come down.
As the boots I had on were uncommonly thin
My fancy leaked out as the water leaked in.
Though dampened my ardour, though slackened my strain,
I'll 'strike the wild lyre' who sings the sweet rain!
Conservatism and Progress.
Old Zephyr, dawdling in the West,
Looked down upon the sea,
Which slept unfretted at his feet,
And balanced on its breast a fleet
That seemed almost to be
Suspended in the middle air,
As if a magnet held it there,
Eternally at rest.
Then, one by one, the ships released
Their folded sails, and strove
Against the empty calm to press
North, South, or West, or East,
In vain; the subtle nothingness
Was impotent to move.
Ten Zephyr laughed aloud to see:
'No vessel moves except by me,
And, heigh-ho! I shall sleep.'
But lo! from out the troubled North
A tempest strode impatient forth,
And trampled white the deep;
The sloping ships flew glad away,
Laving their heated sides in spray.
The West then turned him red with wrath,
And to the North he shouted:
'Hold there! How dare you cross my path,
As now you are about it?'
The North replied with laboured breath-
His speed no moment slowing:-
'My friend, you'll never have a path,
Unless you take to blowing.'
Inter Arma Silent Leges.
(An Election Incident.)
About the polls the freedmen drew,
To vote the freemen down;
And merrily their caps up-flew
As Grant rode through the town.
From votes to staves they next did turn,
And beat the freemen down;
Full bravely did their valour burn
As Grant rode through the town.
Then staves for muskets they forsook,
And shot the freemen down;
Right royally their banners shook
As Grant rode through the town.
Hail, final triumph of our cause!
Hail, chief of mute renown!
Grim Magistrate of Silent Laws,
A-riding freedom down!
'To produce these spicy paragraphs, which have been unsuccessfully imitated by every newspaper in the State, requires the combined efforts of five able-bodied persons associated on the editorial staff of this journal.'-New York Herald.
Sir Muscle speaks, and nations bend the ear:
'Hark ye these Notes-our wit quintuple hear;
Five able-bodied editors combine
Their strength prodigious in each laboured line!'
O wondrous vintner! hopeless seemed the task
To bung these drainings in a single cask;
The riddle's read-five leathern skins contain
The working juice, and scarcely feel the strain.
Saviours of Rome! will wonders never cease?
A ballad cackled by five tuneful geese!
Upon one Rosinante five stout knights
Ride fiercely into visionary fights!
A cap and bells five sturdy fools adorn,
Five porkers battle for a grain of corn,
Five donkeys squeeze into a narrow stall,
Five tumble-bugs propel a single ball!
Dawns dread and red the fateful morn
Lo, Resurrection's Day is born!
The striding sea no longer strides,
No longer knows the trick of tides;
The land is breathless, winds relent,
All nature waits the dread event.
From wassail rising rather late,
Awarding Jove arrives in state;
O'er yawning graves looks many a league,
Then yawns himself from sheer fatigue.
Lifting its finger to the sky,
A marble shaft arrests his eye
This epitaph, in pompous pride,
Engraven on its polished side:
'Perfection of Creation's plan,
Here resteth Universal Man,
Who virtues, segregated wide,
Collated, classed, and codified,
Reduced to practice, taught, explained,
And strict morality maintained.
Anticipating death, his pelf
He lavished on this monolith;
Because he leaves nor kin nor kith
He rears this tribute to himself,
That Virtue's fame may never cease.
Hic jacet-let him rest in peace!'
With sober eye Jove scanned the shaft,
Then turned away and lightly laughed
'Poor Man! since I have careless been
In keeping books to note thy sin,
And thou hast left upon the earth
This faithful record of thy worth,
Thy final prayer shall now be heard:
Of life I'll not renew thy lease,
But take thee at thy carven word,
And let thee rest in solemn peace!'