Good-Bye--God Bless You!
I like the Anglo-Saxon speech
With its direct revealings;
It takes a hold, and seems to reach
'Way down into your feelings;
That some folk deem it rude, I know,
And therefore they abuse it;
But I have never found it so,--
Before all else I choose it.
I don't object that men should air
The Gallic they have paid for,
With "Au revoir," "Adieu, ma chère,"
For that's what French was made for.
But when a crony takes your hand
At parting, to address you,
He drops all foreign lingo and
He says, "Good-by--God bless you!"
This seems to me a sacred phrase,
With reverence impassioned,--
A thing come down from righteous days,
Quaintly but nobly fashioned;
It well becomes an honest face,
A voice that's round and cheerful;
It stays the sturdy in his place,
And soothes the weak and fearful.
Into the porches of the ears
It steals with subtle unction,
And in your heart of hearts appears
To work its gracious function;
And all day long with pleasing song
It lingers to caress you,--
I'm sure no human heart goes wrong
That's told "Good-by--God bless you!"
I love the words,--perhaps because,
When I was leaving Mother,
Standing at last in solemn pause
We looked at one another,
And I--I saw in Mother's eyes
The love she could not tell me,--
A love eternal as the skies,
Whatever fate befell me;
She put her arms about my neck
And soothed the pain of leaving,
And though her heart was like to break,
She spoke no word of grieving;
She let no tear bedim her eye,
For fear that might distress me,
But, kissing me, she said good-by,
And asked our God to bless me.
Our Lady Of The Mine
The Blue Horizon wuz a mine us fellers all thought well uv,
And there befell the episode I now perpose to tell uv;
'T wuz in the year uv sixty-nine,--somewhere along in summer,--
There hove in sight one afternoon a new and curious comer;
His name wuz Silas Pettibone,--a' artist by perfession,--
With a kit of tools and a big mustache and a pipe in his possession.
He told us, by our leave, he 'd kind uv like to make some sketches
Uv the snowy peaks, 'nd the foamin' crick, 'nd the distant mountain
"You're welkim, sir," sez we, although this scenery dodge seemed to us
A waste uv time where scenery wuz already sooper-floo-us.
All through the summer Pettibone kep' busy at his sketchin',--
At daybreak off for Eagle Pass, and home at nightfall, fetchin'
That everlastin' book uv his with spider-lines all through it;
Three-Fingered Hoover used to say there warn't no meanin' to it.
"Gol durn a man," sez he to him, "whose shif'less hand is sot at
A-drawin' hills that's full uv quartz that's pinin' to be got at!"
"Go on," sez Pettibone, "go on, if joshin' gratifies ye;
But one uv these fine times I'll show ye sumthin' will surprise ye!"
The which remark led us to think--although he didn't say it--
That Pettibone wuz owin' us a gredge 'nd meant to pay it.
One evenin' as we sat around the Restauraw de Casey,
A-singin' songs 'nd tellin' yarns the which wuz sumwhat racy,
In come that feller Pettibone, 'nd sez, "With your permission,
I'd like to put a picture I have made on exhibition."
He sot the picture on the bar 'nd drew aside its curtain,
Sayin', "I reckon you'll allow as how that's art, f'r certain!"
And then we looked, with jaws agape, but nary word wuz spoken,
And f'r a likely spell the charm uv silence wuz unbroken--
Till presently, as in a dream, remarked Three-Fingered Hoover:
"Onless I am mistaken, this is Pettibone's shef doover!"
It wuz a face--a human face--a woman's, fair 'nd tender--
Sot gracefully upon a neck white as a swan's, and slender;
The hair wuz kind uv sunny, 'nd the eyes wuz sort uv dreamy,
The mouth wuz half a-smilin', 'nd the cheeks wuz soft 'nd creamy;
It seemed like she wuz lookin' off into the west out yonder,
And seemed like, while she looked, we saw her eyes grow softer, fonder,--
Like, lookin' off into the west, where mountain mists wuz fallin',
She saw the face she longed to see and heerd his voice a-callin';
"Hooray!" we cried,--"a woman in the camp uv Blue Horizon!
Step right up, Colonel Pettibone, 'nd nominate your pizen!"
A curious situation,--one deservin' uv your pity,--
No human, livin', female thing this side of Denver City!
But jest a lot uv husky men that lived on sand 'nd bitters,--
Do you wonder that that woman's face consoled the lonesome critters?
And not a one but what it served in some way to remind him
Of a mother or a sister or a sweetheart left behind him;
And some looked back on happier days, and saw the old-time faces
And heerd the dear familiar sounds in old familiar places,--
A gracious touch of home. "Look here," sez Hoover, "ever'body
Quit thinkin' 'nd perceed at oncet to name his favorite toddy!"
It wuzn't long afore the news had spread the country over,
And miners come a-flockin' in like honey-bees to clover;
It kind uv did 'em good, they said, to feast their hungry eyes on
That picture uv Our Lady in the camp uv Blue Horizon.
But one mean cuss from Nigger Crick passed criticisms on 'er,--
Leastwise we overheerd him call her Pettibone's madonner,
The which we did not take to be respectful to a lady,
So we hung him in a quiet spot that wuz cool 'nd dry 'nd shady;
Which same might not have been good law, but it wuz the right manoeuvre
To give the critics due respect for Pettibone's shef doover.
Gone is the camp,--yes, years ago the Blue Horizon busted,
And every mother's son uv us got up one day 'nd dusted,
While Pettibone perceeded East with wealth in his possession,
And went to Yurrup, as I heerd, to study his perfession;
So, like as not, you'll find him now a-paintin' heads 'nd faces
At Venus, Billy Florence, and the like I-talyun places.
But no sech face he'll paint again as at old Blue Horizon,
For I'll allow no sweeter face no human soul sot eyes on;
And when the critics talk so grand uv Paris 'nd the Loover,
I say, "Oh, but you orter seen the Pettibone shef doover!"
A Dream Of Sunshine
I'm weary of this weather and I hanker for the ways
Which people read of in the psalms and preachers paraphrase--
The grassy fields, the leafy woods, the banks where I can lie
And listen to the music of the brook that flutters by,
Or, by the pond out yonder, hear the redwing blackbird's call
Where he makes believe he has a nest, but hasn't one at all;
And by my side should be a friend--a trusty, genial friend,
With plenteous store of tales galore and natural leaf to lend;
Oh, how I pine and hanker for the gracious boon of spring--
For _then_ I'm going a-fishing with John Lyle King!
How like to pigmies will appear creation, as we float
Upon the bosom of the tide in a three-by-thirteen boat--
Forgotten all vexations and all vanities shall be,
As we cast our cares to windward and our anchor to the lee;
Anon the minnow-bucket will emit batrachian sobs,
And the devil's darning-needles shall come wooing of our bobs;
The sun shall kiss our noses and the breezes toss our hair
(This latter metaphoric--we've no fimbriae to spare!);
And I--transported by the bliss--shan't do a plaguey thing
But cut the bait and string the fish for John Lyle King!
Or, if I angle, it will be for bullheads and the like,
While he shall fish for gamey bass, for pickerel, and for pike;
I really do not care a rap for all the fish that swim--
But it's worth the wealth of Indies just to be along with him
In grassy fields, in leafy woods, beside the water-brooks,
And hear him tell of things he's seen or read of in his books--
To hear the sweet philosophy that trickles in and out
The while he is discoursing of the things we talk about;
A fountain-head refreshing--a clear, perennial spring
Is the genial conversation of John Lyle King!
Should varying winds or shifting tides redound to our despite--
In other words, should we return all bootless home at night,
I'd back him up in anything he had a mind to say
Of mighty bass he'd left behind or lost upon the way;
I'd nod assent to every yarn involving piscine game--
I'd cross my heart and make my affidavit to the same;
For what is friendship but a scheme to help a fellow out--
And what a paltry fish or two to make such bones about!
Nay, Sentiment a mantle of sweet charity would fling
O'er perjuries committed for John Lyle King.
At night, when as the camp-fire cast a ruddy, genial flame,
He'd bring his tuneful fiddle out and play upon the same;
No diabolic engine this--no instrument of sin--
No relative at all to that lewd toy, the violin!
But a godly hoosier fiddle--a quaint archaic thing
Full of all the proper melodies our grandmas used to sing;
With 'Bonnie Doon,' and 'Nellie Gray,' and 'Sitting on the Stile,'
'The Heart Bowed Down,' the 'White Cockade,' and 'Charming Annie Lisle'
Our hearts would echo and the sombre empyrean ring
Beneath the wizard sorcery of John Lyle King.
The subsequent proceedings should interest me no more--
Wrapped in a woolen blanket should I calmly dream and snore;
The finny game that swims by day is my supreme delight--
And _not_ the scaly game that flies in darkness of the night!
Let those who are so minded pursue this latter game
But not repine if they should lose a boodle in the same;
For an example to you all one paragon should serve--
He towers a very monument to valor and to nerve;
No bob-tail flush, no nine-spot high, no measly pair can wring
A groan of desperation from John Lyle King!
A truce to badinage--I hope far distant is the day
When from these scenes terrestrial our friend shall pass away!
We like to hear his cheery voice uplifted in the land,
To see his calm, benignant face, to grasp his honest hand;
We like him for his learning, his sincerity, his truth,
His gallantry to woman and his kindliness to youth,
For the lenience of his nature, for the vigor of his mind,
For the fulness of that charity he bears to all mankind--
That's why we folks who know him best so reverently cling
(And that is why I pen these lines) to John Lyle King.
And now adieu, a fond adieu to thee, O muse of rhyme--
I do remand thee to the shades until that happier time
When fields are green, and posies gay are budding everywhere,
And there's a smell of clover bloom upon the vernal air;
When by the pond out yonder the redwing blackbird calls,
And distant hills are wed to Spring in veils of water-falls;
When from his aqueous element the famished pickerel springs
Two hundred feet into the air for butterflies and things--
_Then_ come again, O gracious muse, and teach me how to sing
The glory of a fishing cruise with John Lyle King!
A Proper Trewe Idyll Of Camelot
Whenas ye plaisaunt Aperille shoures have washed and purged awaye
Ye poysons and ye rheums of earth to make a merrie May,
Ye shraddy boscage of ye woods ben full of birds that syng
Right merrilie a madrigal unto ye waking spring,
Ye whiles that when ye face of earth ben washed and wiped ycleane
Her peeping posies blink and stare like they had ben her een;
Then, wit ye well, ye harte of man ben turned to thoughts of love,
And, tho' it ben a lyon erst, it now ben like a dove!
And many a goodly damosel in innocence beguiles
Her owne trewe love with sweet discourse and divers plaisaunt wiles.
In soche a time ye noblesse liege that ben Kyng Arthure hight
Let cry a joust and tournament for evereche errant knyght,
And, lo! from distant Joyous-garde and eche adjacent spot
A company of noblesse lords fared unto Camelot,
Wherein were mighty feastings and passing merrie cheere,
And eke a deale of dismal dole, as you shall quickly heare.
It so befell upon a daye when jousts ben had and while
Sir Launcelot did ramp around ye ring in gallaunt style,
There came an horseman shriking sore and rashing wildly home,--
A mediaeval horseman with ye usual flecks of foame;
And he did brast into ye ring, wherein his horse did drop,
Upon ye which ye rider did with like abruptness stop,
And with fatigue and fearfulness continued in a swound
Ye space of half an hour or more before a leech was founde.
"Now tell me straight," quod Launcelot, "what varlet knyght you be,
Ere that I chine you with my sworde and cleave your harte in three!"
Then rolled that knyght his bloudy een, and answered with a groane,--
"By worthy God that hath me made and shope ye sun and mone,
There fareth hence an evil thing whose like ben never seene,
And tho' he sayeth nony worde, he bode the ill, I ween.
So take your parting, evereche one, and gird you for ye fraye,
By all that's pure, ye Divell sure doth trend his path this way!"
Ye which he quoth and fell again into a deadly swound,
And on that spot, perchance (God wot), his bones mought yet be founde.
Then evereche knight girt on his sworde and shield and hied him straight
To meet ye straunger sarasen hard by ye city gate;
Full sorely moaned ye damosels and tore their beautyse haire
For that they feared an hippogriff wolde come to eate them there;
But as they moaned and swounded there too numerous to relate,
Kyng Arthure and Sir Launcelot stode at ye city gate,
And at eche side and round about stode many a noblesse knyght
With helm and speare and sworde and shield and mickle valor dight.
Anon there came a straunger, but not a gyaunt grim,
Nor yet a draggon,--but a person gangling, long, and slim;
Yclad he was in guise that ill-beseemed those knyghtly days,
And there ben nony etiquette in his uplandish ways;
His raiment was of dusty gray, and perched above his lugs
There ben the very latest style of blacke and shiny pluggs;
His nose ben like a vulture beake, his blie ben swart of hue,
And curly ben ye whiskers through ye which ye zephyrs blewe;
Of all ye een that ben yseene in countries far or nigh,
None nonywhere colde hold compare unto that straunger's eye;
It was an eye of soche a kind as never ben on sleepe,
Nor did it gleam with kindly beame, nor did not use to weepe;
But soche an eye ye widdow hath,--an hongrey eye and wan,
That spyeth for an oder chaunce whereby she may catch on;
An eye that winketh of itself, and sayeth by that winke
Ye which a maiden sholde not knowe nor never even thinke;
Which winke ben more exceeding swift nor human thought ben thunk,
And leaveth doubting if so be that winke ben really wunke;
And soch an eye ye catte-fysshe hath when that he ben on dead
And boyled a goodly time and served with capers on his head;
A rayless eye, a bead-like eye, whose famisht aspect shows
It hungereth for ye verdant banks whereon ye wild time grows;
An eye that hawketh up and down for evereche kind of game,
And, when he doth espy ye which, he tumbleth to ye same.
Now when he kenned Sir Launcelot in armor clad, he quod,
"Another put-a-nickel-in-and-see-me-work, be god!"
But when that he was ware a man ben standing in that suit,
Ye straunger threw up both his hands, and asked him not to shoote.
Then spake Kyng Arthure: "If soe be you mind to do no ill,
Come, enter into Camelot, and eat and drink your fill;
But say me first what you are hight, and what mought be your quest."
Ye straunger quod, "I'm five feet ten, and fare me from ye West!"
"Sir Fivefeetten," Kyng Arthure said, "I bid you welcome here;
So make you merrie as you list with plaisaunt wine and cheere;
This very night shall be a feast soche like ben never seene,
And you shall be ye honored guest of Arthure and his queene.
Now take him, good sir Maligraunce, and entertain him well
Until soche time as he becomes our guest, as I you tell."
That night Kyng Arthure's table round with mighty care ben spread,
Ye oder knyghts sate all about, and Arthure at ye heade:
Oh, 't was a goodly spectacle to ken that noblesse liege
Dispensing hospitality from his commanding siege!
Ye pheasant and ye meate of boare, ye haunch of velvet doe,
Ye canvass hamme he them did serve, and many good things moe.
Until at last Kyng Arthure cried: "Let bring my wassail cup,
And let ye sound of joy go round,--I'm going to set 'em up!
I've pipes of Malmsey, May-wine, sack, metheglon, mead, and sherry,
Canary, Malvoisie, and Port, swete Muscadelle and perry;
Rochelle, Osey, and Romenay, Tyre, Rhenish, posset too,
With kags and pails of foaming ales of brown October brew.
To wine and beer and other cheere I pray you now despatch ye,
And for ensample, wit ye well, sweet sirs, I'm looking at ye!"
Unto which toast of their liege lord ye oders in ye party
Did lout them low in humble wise and bid ye same drink hearty.
So then ben merrisome discourse and passing plaisaunt cheere,
And Arthure's tales of hippogriffs ben mervaillous to heare;
But stranger far than any tale told of those knyghts of old
Ben those facetious narratives ye Western straunger told.
He told them of a country many leagues beyond ye sea
Where evereche forraine nuisance but ye Chinese man ben free,
And whiles he span his monstrous yarns, ye ladies of ye court
Did deem ye listening thereunto to be right plaisaunt sport;
And whiles they listened, often he did squeeze a lily hande,
Ye which proceeding ne'er before ben done in Arthure's lande;
And often wank a sidelong wink with either roving eye,
Whereat ye ladies laughen so that they had like to die.
But of ye damosels that sat around Kyng Arthure's table
He liked not her that sometime ben ron over by ye cable,
Ye which full evil hap had harmed and marked her person so
That in a passing wittie jest he dubbeth her ye crow.
But all ye oders of ye girls did please him passing well
And they did own him for to be a proper seeming swell;
And in especial Guinevere esteemed him wondrous faire,
Which had made Arthure and his friend, Sir Launcelot, to sware
But that they both ben so far gone with posset, wine, and beer,
They colde not see ye carrying-on, nor neither colde not heare;
For of eche liquor Arthure quafft, and so did all ye rest,
Save only and excepting that smooth straunger from the West.
When as these oders drank a toast, he let them have their fun
With divers godless mixings, but he stock to willow run,
Ye which (and all that reade these words sholde profit by ye warning)
Doth never make ye head to feel like it ben swelled next morning.
Now, wit ye well, it so befell that when the night grew dim,
Ye Kyng was carried from ye hall with a howling jag on him,
Whiles Launcelot and all ye rest that to his highness toadied
Withdrew them from ye banquet-hall and sought their couches loaded.
Now, lithe and listen, lordings all, whiles I do call it shame
That, making cheer with wine and beer, men do abuse ye same;
Though eche be well enow alone, ye mixing of ye two
Ben soche a piece of foolishness as only ejiots do.
Ye wine is plaisaunt bibbing whenas ye gentles dine,
And beer will do if one hath not ye wherewithal for wine,
But in ye drinking of ye same ye wise are never floored
By taking what ye tipplers call too big a jag on board.
Right hejeous is it for to see soche dronkonness of wine
Whereby some men are used to make themselves to be like swine;
And sorely it repenteth them, for when they wake next day
Ye fearful paynes they suffer ben soche as none mought say,
And soche ye brenning in ye throat and brasting of ye head
And soche ye taste within ye mouth like one had been on dead,--Soche
be ye foul conditions that these unhappy men
Sware they will never drink no drop of nony drinke again.
Yet all so frail and vain a thing and weak withal is man
That he goeth on an oder tear whenever that he can.
And like ye evil quatern or ye hills that skirt ye skies,
Ye jag is reproductive and jags on jags arise.
Whenas Aurora from ye east in dewy splendor hied
King Arthure dreemed he saw a snaix and ben on fire inside,
And waking from this hejeous dreeme he sate him up in bed,--
"What, ho! an absynthe cocktail, knave! and make it strong!" he said;
Then, looking down beside him, lo! his lady was not there--
He called, he searched, but, Goddis wounds! he found her nonywhere;
And whiles he searched, Sir Maligraunce rashed in, wood wroth, and cried,
"Methinketh that ye straunger knyght hath snuck away my bride!"
And whiles he spake a motley score of other knyghts brast in
And filled ye royall chamber with a mickle fearfull din,
For evereche one had lost his wiffe nor colde not spye ye same,
Nor colde not spye ye straunger knyght, Sir Fivefeetten of name.
Oh, then and there was grevious lamentation all arounde,
For nony dame nor damosel in Camelot ben found,--
Gone, like ye forest leaves that speed afore ye autumn wind.
Of all ye ladies of that court not one ben left behind
Save only that same damosel ye straunger called ye crow,
And she allowed with moche regret she ben too lame to go;
And when that she had wept full sore, to Arthure she confess'd
That Guinevere had left this word for Arthure and ye rest:
"Tell them," she quod, "we shall return to them whenas we've made
This little deal we have with ye Chicago Bourde of Trade."