I ain't afeard uv snakes, or toads, or bugs, or worms, or mice,
An' things 'at girls are skeered uv I think are awful nice!
I'm pretty brave, I guess; an' yet I hate to go to bed,
For, when I'm tucked up warm an' snug an' when my prayers are said,
Mother tells me "Happy dreams!" and takes away the light,
An' leaves me lyin' all alone an' seein' things at night!
Sometimes they're in the corner, sometimes they're by the door,
Sometimes they're all a-standin' in the middle uv the floor;
Sometimes they are a-sittin' down, sometimes they're walkin' round
So softly an' so creepylike they never make a sound!
Sometimes they are as black as ink, an' other times they're white -
But the color ain't no difference when you see things at night!
Once, when I licked a feller 'at had just moved on our street,
An' father sent me up to bed without a bite to eat,
I woke up in the dark an' saw things standin' in a row,
A-lookin' at me cross-eyed an' p'intin' at me - so!
Oh, my! I wuz so skeered that time I never slep' a mite -
It's almost alluz when I'm bad I see things at night!
Lucky thing I ain't a girl, or I'd be skeered to death!
Bein' I'm a boy, I duck my head an' hold my breath;
An' I am, oh! so sorry I'm a naughty boy, an' then
I promise to be better an' I say my prayers again!
Gran'ma tells me that's the only way to make it right
When a feller has been wicked an' sees things at night!
An' so, when other naughty boys would coax me into sin,
I try to skwush the Tempter's voice 'at urges me within;
An' when they's pie for supper, or cakes 'at 's big an' nice,
I want to - but I do not pass my plate f'r them things twice!
No, ruther let Starvation wipe me slowly out o' sight
Than I should keep a-livin' on an' seein' things at night!
Apple-Pie And Cheese
Full many a sinful notion
Conceived of foreign powers
Has come across the ocean
To harm this land of ours;
And heresies called fashions
Have modesty effaced,
And baleful, morbid passions
Corrupt our native taste.
O tempora! O mores!
What profanations these
That seek to dim the glories
Of apple-pie and cheese!
I'm glad my education
Enables me to stand
Against the vile temptation
Held out on every hand;
Eschewing all the tittles
With vanity replete,
I'm loyal to the victuals
Our grandsires used to eat!
I'm glad I've got three willing boys
To hang around and tease
Their mother for the filling joys
Of apple-pie and cheese!
Your flavored creams and ices
And your dainty angel-food
Are mighty fine devices
To regale the dainty dude;
Your terrapin and oysters,
With wine to wash 'em down,
Are just the thing for roisters
When painting of the town;
No flippant, sugared notion
Shall my appetite appease,
Or bate my soul's devotion
To apple-pie and cheese!
The pie my Julia makes me
(God bless her Yankee ways!)
On memory's pinions takes me
To dear Green Mountain days;
And seems like I see Mother
Lean on the window-sill,
A-handin' me and brother
What she knows 'll keep us still;
And these feelings are so grateful,
Says I, 'Julia, if you please,
I'll take another plateful
Of that apple-pie and cheese! '
And cheese! No alien it, sir,
That's brought across the sea,-
No Dutch antique, nor Switzer,
Nor glutinous de Brie;
There's nothing I abhor so
As mawmets of this ilk-
Give me the harmless morceau
That's made of true-blue milk!
No matter what conditions
Dyspeptic come to feaze,
The best of all physicians
Is apple-pie and cheese!
Though ribalds may decry 'em,
For these twin boons we stand,
Partaking thrice per diem
Of their fulness out of hand;
No enervating fashion
Shall cheat us of our right
To gratify our passion
With a mouthful at a bite!
We'll cut it square or bias,
Or any way we please,
And faith shall justify us
When we carve our pie and cheese!
De gustibus, 't is stated,
Non disputandum est.
Which meaneth, when translated,
That all is for the best.
So let the foolish choose 'em
The vapid sweets of sin,
I will not disabuse 'em
Of the heresy they're in;
But I, when I undress me
Each night, upon my knees
Will ask the Lord to bless me
With apple-pie and cheese!
The Bottle And The Bird
Once on a time a friend of mine prevailed on me to go
To see the dazzling splendors of a sinful ballet show,
And after we had reveled in the saltatory sights
We sought a neighboring cafe for more tangible delights;
When I demanded of my friend what viands he preferred,
He quoth: 'A large cold bottle and a small hot bird!'
Fool that I was, I did not know what anguish hidden lies
Within the morceau that allures the nostrils and the eyes!
There is a glorious candor in an honest quart of wine--
A certain inspiration which I cannot well define!
How it bubbles, how it sparkles, how its gurgling seems to say:
'Come, on a tide of rapture let me float your soul away!'
But the crispy, steaming mouthful that is spread upon your plate--
How it discounts human sapience and satirizes fate!
You wouldn't think a thing so small could cause the pains and aches
That certainly accrue to him that of that thing partakes;
To me, at least (a guileless wight!) it never once occurred
What horror was encompassed in that one small hot bird.
Oh, what a head I had on me when I awoke next day,
And what a firm conviction of intestinal decay!
What seas of mineral water and of bromide I applied
To quench those fierce volcanic fires that rioted inside!
And, oh! the thousand solemn, awful vows I plighted then
Never to tax my system with a small hot bird again!
The doctor seemed to doubt that birds could worry people so,
But, bless him! since I ate the bird, I guess I ought to know!
The acidous condition of my stomach, so he said,
Bespoke a vinous irritant that amplified my head,
And, ergo, the causation of the thing, as he inferred,
Was the large cold bottle, not the small hot bird.
Of course, I know it wasn't, and I'm sure you'll say I'm right
If ever it has been your wont to train around at night;
How sweet is retrospection when one's heart is bathed in wine,
And before its balmy breath how do the ills of life decline!
How the gracious juices drown what griefs would vex a mortal breast,
And float the flattered soul into the port of dreamless rest!
But you, O noxious, pigmy bird, whether it be you fly
Or paddle in the stagnant pools that sweltering, festering lie--
I curse you and your evil kind for that you do me wrong,
Engendering poisons that corrupt my petted muse of song;
Go, get thee hence, and nevermore discomfit me and mine--
I fain would barter all thy brood for one sweet draught of wine!
So hither come, O sportive youth! when fades the tell-tale day--
Come hither with your fillets and your wreathes of posies gay;
We shall unloose the fragrant seas of seething, frothing wine
Which now the cobwebbed glass and envious wire and corks confine,
And midst the pleasing revelry the praises shall be heard
Of the large cold bottle, _not_ the small hot bird.