Read POEMS FOR PALE PEOPLE of Poems for Pale People A Volume of Verse , free online book, by Edwin C. Ranck, on


In days gone by, when cows could fly
And goblins rode on bears;
When fairies danced upon the green
And giants moped in lairs,
There lived alone upon a shelf
A tinsie, winsie little elf.

Just when the stars came out at night
And moonbeams filled the earth with light,
Down from his perch this little elf
Would jump and wander by himself.
He wore a pair of little wings
Tied in their place by golden strings.

One day he took a kind of notion
To take a trip upon the ocean.
He combed his hair and washed his face
And put his little wings in place,
Then from his shelf he softly stole
And went to see his friend the mole
Who gave to him a pea-green boat
And guaranteed that it would float.

A funny thing about this boat
’Twas patterned from a ten-pound note.
The little elf was greatly pleased
And laughed until he sneezed and sneezed;
He launched his boat upon the sea
And kicked his little heels in glee.

The mole looked on in glad surprise
(For in those days all moles had eyes.)
He shouted out a loud farewell
As the little row-boat rose and fell.
The elf picked up a golden oar
And soon lost sight of mole and shore.

The elf rowed out for quite a way
And in the waves did sport and play,
Until at length the sun sank low
And then he thought it time to go.
Now just as luck would have it then
A prowling sea gull left his den.

The savage sea gull loudly laughed
To see an elf in such a craft,
And swooping down upon the water
He did a thing he hadn’t oughter,
For with his strong and sturdy beak
He caused the boat to spring a leak.

He said he longed for a little change
And the bank-note boat was just in range;
The poor young elf gave one big holler
Just as the sea gull made a swallow
(And this is strange indeed to follow
For a gull himself is just a swallow.)

The faithful mole heard this loud yell
And rushed down to the shore pell-mell.
Alas, alas he was too late
And saw his friend’s unhappy fate;
He groaned, and shrieked and tore his fur
And raised an awful din and stir.

The sea gull heard this awful racket
And seized the mole, just like a packet.
He carried him across the seas
To teach the young gulls A B C’s.
But the loving mole went blind with rage
And they had to put him in a cage,
And ever since that fatal night
The moles have all been out of sight.


There was once an eccentric old coon,
Who ate dynamite with a spoon,
But when he got loaded
The powder exploded
And now there’s a coon in the moon.


Oh, let’s go out to the county fair
And breathe the balmy country air,
And whittle a stick and look at the hosses,
Discuss the farmer’s profit and losses.

We’ll take a look at the country stock
And drink some milk from a dairy crock;
Look at the pigs and admire the chickens,
And try to forget it’s hot as the dickens.

Forget there are any political rings
Just think of the butter and eggs and things;
So wash off the buggy and hitch up the mare,
And we’ll all go out to the county fair.


A maddened horse comes down the street,
With waving mane and flying feet.
The crowd scatters in every direction;
It looks like a fight at a city election.
A big policeman waves his hands,
And the air is full of vague commands,
While across the street a retail grocer
Shrieks to his child as the horse draws closer
When suddenly out of the mad hubbub,
Steps Jimmie O’Dowd of the Jefferson Club.

Every man there holds his breath
To stop the horse means sudden death.
But quick as a flash,
O’Dowd makes a dash.
With all his might and the horse’s mane,
He brings the old plug to a halt again.
Then every man there doffs his hat
And cries “Well, what do you think of that?”
Never since the days of Nero
Has there been a greater hero.


A night when witches skim the air,
When spooks and goblins climb the stair;
When bats rush out with muffled wings,
And now and then the door-bell rings;
But just the funniest thing of all
Is ’cause you can’t see when they call.


’Tis Saturday morn and all is bright
By nature’s own endowing;
The sun is fiercely giving light,
And only me

Across the river I hear the sound
Of a boatman slowly rowing;
I have no time to fool around,
Especially when I’m

And when the dinner hour has come,
And thoughts of work are fleeting,
I only hear the insects hum,
Because I’m busy

At night when all things are at rest,
Safe in Old Morpheus’ keeping,
No troubles do my mind infest,
For I am soundly


John went into the garden one day
And found his baby sister at play;

John hit baby with a brick
And laughed because it made her sick.

John is only two and six
And loves to do these funny tricks.


O, the circus parade! O, the circus parade!
It lays all the politics back in the shade,
And the merchants forget that they’ve got any trade,
While many remember they’ve never been paid
As they rushed out to look at the circus parade;
And preachers who used to be terribly staid
Yell just like boys at the circus parade.
Every one’s there, both the mistress and maid,
All looking on at the circus parade.

And out at the grounds, when you’ve seen the parade,
How delicious it is to drink pink lemonade;
And look at the elephant twirling his trunk,
And laugh at the capers cut by the monk;
Watch the old clown who is acting a dunce,
And try hard to see three rings going at once;
Gaze at the ringmaster cracking his whip,
And watch the tight-rope artist skip.
I saw that circus, Yes Sirree!
Saw about enough for three.


“Oh lend me five,” the young man cried,
“My money all is spent.”
The maiden shook her head and sighed,
“I’m sorry but it’s Lent.”


(Written in collaboration with R. B. Hamilton.)

When Julius Cæsar met his death,
He muttered in his dying breath:
“It is not patriotism now
Prompts you to break your friendship’s vow.”
Quoth Brutus, as he stabbed again
The greatest of his countrymen:
“You’re in this fix
Through politics.”

As on his path Columbus sped,
A sailor to the great man said:
“Without a break, without a bend,
The broad Atlantic has no end.”
And to the sailor at his side,
’Tis rumored, that great man replied:
“I guess I know.
You go below.”

The snow fell fast on Russia’s soil,
The soldiers, wearied with their toil,
Cried: “’Tis not possible that we
Our native France again shall see.”
Stern ever in the face of death,
Napoleon said beneath his breath:
“Go take a walk,
I hate such talk.”

A cherry tree lay on the ground,
On George’s body, pa did pound;
“But pa,” George cried, “It seems to me
That you are wrong; dis ain’t your tree.”
The old man sadly shook his head
And to his wayward son he said:
“Don’t lie to me
I know my tree.”

When Dewey on his flagship sailed,
The Spaniards never even quailed.
“Oh, it ain’t possible,” said they,
“For him to reach Manila Bay.”
But Dewey merely smiled in glee,
“It isn’t possible?” quoth he,
“Why, hully gee,
Just wait and see.”


Thus onward as through life we go,
Amid the pomp, and glare, and show,
We oft some proverb misconstrue
And mutter boldly, “’Tis not true.”
But in their calm, majestic way,
We hear the tongues of wise men say:
“You go way back
And then sit down.”


Ting-ling “South, please, 1085;
Why hello, Jim Oh, Saints alive!
It’s south, I told you hello; no,
I said once that I could not go.

“Say, can you meet me there tonight?
Confound it, Jim, you must be tight.
What are you saying anyhow,
I’ve got the wrong ear by the sow?

“Not pretty? Why, she’s out o’sight,
Oh, shut up; that will be all right.
You can’t walk there? Why it ain’t far;
We get there on a ’lectric car.

“Well, Great Scott, man, don’t talk all day,
But let me know now right away.
Miss B , Oh, let the old girl wait;
We won’t be out so very late.

“You will? All right then eight o’clock;
Be sure and meet me on the block,
Remember now, don’t get it wrong;
All right, old man (Ting-ling), so long.”


I never saw a loaf of bread
Conspicuous in its purity,
But that I sadly shook my head
And left five-cents as surety.


Say, I like toys,
Christmas toys.
Remember when we were boys
Long ago?
Then you were a kid
Not a beau.
And on Christmas Day,
Oh, say,
We got up in the dark
And had a jolly lark
Round the fire.
The cold air was shocking
As we peeped in our stocking
And, way down in the toe,
Now say this is so
Dad placed a dollar.
Made me holler.
Yes, sirree,

They were good to me.
Remember Jim?
Mean trick I did him.
You know Jim was surly?
Well I got up early
Took his dollar out,
And put a rock
In his sock.
Gee, he was mad,
Went and told dad;
But dad he just laughed
And said:
Might’s well be dead
If you couldn’t have fun.
Then for spite,
I kept that dollar ’til night.
Funny, seein’ these toys
Made me think of us boys.
But now, Gee!
Christmas ain’t like it used to be.


Wake for the sun, that scatters into flight,
The poker players who have stayed all night;
Drives husbands home with reeling steps, and then
Gives to the sleepy “cops” an awful fright.

I sometimes think that never blows so red
The nose, as when the spirits strike the head;
That every step one takes upon the way
Makes him wish strongly he were home in bed.

The moving finger writes, but having “pull”,
You think that you can settle things in full,
But when you interview the Police Judge,
You find that you have made an awful bull.

Some nonsense verses underneath the bough,
A little “booze”, a time to loaf, and thou
Beside me howling in the wilderness,
Would be enough for one day anyhow.


Good people if you have the mumps,
Or ever get down with the dumps;
Or have bad cold or aching pains,
Or ever suffer with chilblains
Don’t seek your doctor for advice,
And pay him some tremendous price,
But buy a drug that’s safe and sure
In fact, get Blank’s Consumptive Cure.


He led her out across the sand,
And by her side did sit:
He asked to hold her little hand,
She sweetly answered, “Nit.”


Have you ever mused in silence upon a summer’s day
And let your thoughts run riot and your feelings have full sway,
As you sprawled full length upon the grass in some secluded dell
And breathed the balmy country air, and smelt the country smell?

Then as you muse,
And gently snooze,
Between thinks
You remember those jinks
When spirits were high
On the Fourth of July.

There was little Willie Browning, the worst of all the boys
Who had a sure-nuff cannon that made all kinds of noise;
And when the cannon wouldn’t go he blew into the muzzle,
But what became of Willie’s teeth has always been a puzzle.

How the folks looked askance
At the seats of our pants,
When those giant skyrockets
Went off in our pockets!
Gee whiz!
What fun the Fourth is!

When the red-hot July sun began to wink the clouds away,
We were out with whoops and shoutings to celebrate the day.
With piece of punk in one hand and crackers in the other,
We would troop home later in the day for linseed oil and mother.

But our burns
Were small concerns.
Our hearts were light,
Injuries slight.
Not even a sigh
On the Fourth of July.

And as you lie and ponder, the thought comes home to you
That your youngest boy now celebrates the way you used to do;
And the mother that he bawls for to have those small wounds dressed
Is the woman whom long years ago you swore you loved the best.

But what funny things
Memory brings.
Who would have thought
That I would be caught
With a tear in my eye
On the Fourth of July.


When you’re feelin’ blue as ink
An’ your spirits ’gin to sink,
Don’t be weak an’ take a drink
Keep Tryin’.

There are times when all of us
Get riled up and start a muss,
But there ain’t no use to cuss,
Keep Tryin’.

When things seem to go awry,
And the sun deserts your sky,
Don’t sit down somewhere and cry,
Keep Tryin’.

Everybody honors grit,
Men who never whine a bit
Men who tell the world, “I’m IT”
Keep Tryin’.

Get a hustle on you NOW,
Make a great, big solemn vow
That you’ll win out anyhow,
Keep Tryin’.

All the world’s a battlefield
Where the true man is revealed,
But the ones who never yield
Keep Tryin’.


There was once a young man quite erratic
Who lived all alone in an attic,
He wrote magazine verse
That made editors curse,
But his friends thought it fine and dramatic.


A seedy young man in Savanah
Fell in love with a rich girl named Anna,
But her papa got mad
And swore that “By Gad,
The fellow shall never Havana!”

But the couple eloped to Caracas,
Where the Germans kicked up such a fracas;
And he said to his wife,
“You can bet your sweet life
That papa dear never will track us.”


Maud Muller on a summer’s day,
Raked the meadows, sweet with hay.
Nor was this just a grand-stand play;
Maud got a rake-off, so they say.


A cat duet.
A silhouette.
A high brick wall,
An awful squall.
A moonlit night,
A mortal fight.
A man in bed,
Sticks out his head.
Gee Whiz!
The man has riz.
His arm draws back
A big bootjack
A loud swish,
“What’s that?”
A dead cat.


Beware the Sissy Boy my child,
Not because he’s very wild;
The Sissy Boy is never that,
Although he’ll run if you say “Scat!”
The Sissy Boy’s infinitesimal,
He is not worth a duodecimal.

If you should take a custard pie
And hit a Sissy in the eye,
He would not go before a jury,
He’d only blush and say “Oh Fury!”
For he is perfumed, sweet and mild,
That’s just his kind, my dearest child.

One should never strike a Sissy,
He is too lady-like and prissy.
You do not need to use your fist
But merely slap him on the wrist,
And if this will not make him budge,
Then glare at him and say “Oh Fudge!”

The Sissy sports a pink cravat
And often wears a high silk hat;
His voice is like a turtle dove’s
And he always wears the “cutest” gloves.
At playing ping-pong he’s inured,
And his finger-nails are manicured.

He uses powder on his face
And his handkerchiefs are trimmed with lace;
He loves to play progressive euchre
And spend his papa’s hard-earned lucre.
He wears an air of nonchalance
And always takes in every dance.

Socially, he’s quite a pet
And always fashionably in debt.
He hates to be considered slow
And poses as a famous beau.
He loves to cut a swath and dash
When papa dear puts up the cash.

This, my child, is the Sissy Boy
Who acts so womanly and coy.
His head’s as soft as new-made butter;
His aim in life is just to flutter;
Yet he goes along with unconcern
And marries a woman with money to burn.


I never saw a purple cow,
You say you never saw one;
But this I’ll tell you anyhow,
I know that I can draw one.


Lobsters haven’t any feet,
But they have lots of claws;
Yet lobster meat is good to eat,
And this is strange, because
A dog is never good to eat,
And yet a dog has paws,
And so have cats, and so have rats
And so have other kind of brats.

A lobster then, so to speak,
Is, my child, an awful freak;
For if you get him in a stew,
He’ll blush quite red and glare at you.
Yet if you eat much lobster salad,
It will make you very pallid.


A funny thing once happened to a German from Berlin,
For once he got too gay and seized a swordfish by the fin,
This made the big fish angry, and he sawed the German’s chin.
“Just Tell Them That I Saw You” said the swordfish with a grin.


There once was an old crocodile
Who lived on the banks of the Nile.
One day, for a meal,
He swallowed a wheel,
And ate for dessert, an automobile.


(What the Little Boy Thought.)

If I had wings just like a bird
Do you know what I’d do?
I’d fly way up into the sky
An’ holler down at you.

I’d fly along the Milky Way
Feelin’ fine and chipper,
An’ then I’d drink some buttermilk
Fresh from out the Dipper.

I’d skim along through fleecy clouds,
An’ see the great, Big Bear
An’ ask him how he liked to live
So high up in the air.

Wouldn’t it be dandy
To fly just when you please,
An’ go an’ ask the Dog-star
If he worried much with fleas?

I’d do all kinds of other things
If I could only fly,
But I am just a little boy
An’ so I dassn’t try.


Said Sue to her suitor:
“You’ll get a new suit, or
I’ll sue for a suitor to suit.”
“Why Sue,” said her suitor
Who tried hard to suit her,
“Your suitor is suited to suit.”


(After Walt Whitman.)

That light, that white, that weird, uncanny substance we call snow
Is slowly sifting through the bare branches and ever and anon
My thoughts sift with the drifting snow, and I am full of pale regret.
Yes, full of pale regret and other things you know what I mean.
And why? Because the snow must go; the time has came to part.
Yes, it cannot wait much longer like the flakes my thoughts are melting
’Tis here, ’tis there, in fact, ’tis everywhere the snow I mean.
Like the thick syrup which covers buckwheat cakes it lies.

The man who says he don’t regret its passing also lies.
And wilt thou never come again? Yes, thou ilt never come again. Alas!
How well I remember thee! ’Twas but yesterday, methinks.
When a great daub of snow fell from a nearby housetop
And when I ventured poor foolish mortal that I was to look,
Caught me fairly in the mouth (an awful swat) and nearly smothered me.
There is another little trick of thine, most lovely snow
It is but a proof of thine affection to cling around our necks,
But still we swear we cannot help it, Snow.
Now it is “Skidoo,” or “23 for you.” Oh, cursed inconstancy of man!


O a fat turkey gobbler once sat on a limb
And he sighed at the wind, and the wind sighed at him.
But the grief of the gobbler one could not diminish,
For it was Thanksgiving and he saw his finish.
So the heart of the gobbler was heavy as lead
And he muttered the words of the poet who said:
“Backward, turn backward, O Time in thy flight,
Make me a boy again, just for to-night!”


Sprig, Sprig Oh lovely Sprig!
Oh, hast thou cub to stay?
Add wilt the little birdies sig
Throughout the livelog day?
What bessage dost thou brig to be,
Fair Lady of by dreabs
Dost whisper of the babblig brook
Ad fishig poles ad streabs?

Those happy days have cub agaid,
The sweetest of the year,
Whed bad cad raise ad appetite
Ad wholesub thirst for beer.
I’ve often thought id wudder, Sprig,
Of how the lily grows,
But the thig that’s botherig be dow
Is how to sprig dew clothes.

Sprig, Sprig Oh lovely Sprig!
By thoughts are all of you
I saw a robid yesterday
How strange it seebs ad dew!
I’ve got a dreadful cold, Fair Sprig,
Or else I’d sig to thee
Ad air frob Beddelssohd, perhaps,
Or “The Shade of the Old Apple Tree.”


Ah, somewhere in another world
There is a warmer spot,
Where the fire is burning always.
And always it is hot;
And always fiends are shouting,
And always flames are blue,
And always Satan’s asking:


They were seated there in silence
Each one busy with a frown,
It was midnight in the city,
And the lid was on the town.
They had all been playing poker
’Mid the rattle of the chink,
When a gloom fell o’er the party,
For they couldn’t buy a drink,
But a little fellow whispered
As he held a poker hand,
“Can’t we get as drunk on water
As we can upon the land?”
Then we kicked the little rascal,
And we spoke without a frown,
And we anchored safe in harbor
When the lid was on the town.


Why that’s a doodle bug, my child
Who lives alone, remote and wild.
His domicile’s a hole in the ground
And when at home he’s easily found.
The only plan allowed by law
Is to lure him forth upon a straw,
For the doodle bug is a misanthrope
And otherwise is sure to elope.


I hate the fellow who sits around
And knocks the livelong day
Who tells of the work he might have done;
If things had come his way.
But I love the fellow who pushes ahead
And smiles at his work or play
You can wager when things do come around,
They will come his way and stay.


What a difference in the morning
When you try to raise your head;
When your eyelids seem so heavy
You could swear they were of lead;
When your tongue is thickly coated
And you have an awful thirst;
When you drink so much cold water
That you feel about to burst;
When you lift your hand towards heaven
And solemnly do say:
“I’m going to ‘cut out’ drinking
And I’ll swear off right to-day.”


I never walk along the street
Because I haven’t any feet;
Nor is this strange when I repeat
That I am but a garden beet.


’Twas on the f-f-f-first of April D-D-Day,
W-w-w-when Nature s-s-smiled and all w-w-was gay,
And I w-w-why I was in a w-w-whirl,
’C-c-cause I w-w-was w-w-walking w-w-with my g-g-girl.

We w-w-wandered through a leafless w-w-wood
W-w-where many giant oak-t-t-trees s-s-stood,
And p-p-paused beside a d-d-dark g-g-green pool
And sat d-d-down on a rustic s-s-stool.

T-t-then out I s-s-spoke in accents b-b-bold,
And all m-m-my l-love for her I t-t-told.
She answered w-w-with a sweet, s-s-hy g-g-glance
That pierced m-m-my h-h-heart like C-C-Cupid’s l-lance.

I seized her in a t-t-tight embrace,
And s-s-showered k-k-kisses on her f-f-face,
And t-t-told her that I’d g-g-give my l-life
If she would only b-b-be my w-w-wife.

“Please k-k-keep your l-l-life,” the m-m-maid replied
“F-f-for I w-w-will gladly b-b-be your b-b-bride,
And y-y-you” she s-s-said, in t-t-tones quite c-c-cool,
“W-w-why you c-c-can b-b-be my April F-F-Fool.”


Mary had a little lamb,
The lamb was always buttin’
So Mary killed the little lamb
And turned him into mutton.


There was a girl in our town
Who dearly loved to flirt,
But the home folks never noticed it at all.
The women in the neighborhood
All said she was too pert,
But she never even noticed them at all.

One night a young man came to call
Who was considered slow,
But when he got alone with her,
He turned the lights down low.
He begged her for a little kiss,
She softly murmured “No,”
But you couldn’t hardly notice it at all.


With a clatter and a jangle,
And a wrangle and a screech,
How the old alarm clock wheezes
As it sneezes out of reach!
How you groan and yawn and stretch
In the chilly morning air,
As you pull the blankets tight,
With your head clear out of sight
How you swear!


Old Mother Hubbard
She went to the cupboard,
To find a nice bone for her dog.
But when she got there
The cupboard was bare,
And now they are both on the hog.


I knew a young man so conceited
That a glance at his face made you heated.
One night, playing whist,
He was slapped on the wrist,
Because some one said that he cheated.


An impudent Barbary ape
Once tried on a lady’s new cape.
As he gave a big grin,
The lady came in,
And his children are still wearing crepe.


Take up the household burden,
No iron rule of kings,
But make your family understand
That you are running things,
Don’t storm around and bluster,
And don’t get mad and swear
If in the soup is floating
A rag and a hank of hair.

Take up the household burden
In patience to abide,
To curse the irate grocer
And make your wife confide
By open speech and simple
And hundred times made plain
How she has sought to profit
In spending all you gain.

Take up the household burden
The little baby boy,
And walk the floor in anguish
And don’t let it annoy.
For when the kid seems sleepy
And you are feeling “sold,”
There comes a cry from baby boy
That makes your blood run cold.

Take up the household burden
And try and be a man,
Just simply grin and bear it
And do the best you can.
Come now and try your manhood
And let the future go,
And listen to your elders
They’ve tried it and they know.


A young girl stands
Upon the sands,
And waves her hands

A fresh young man
With shoes of tan,
Looks spick and span

They walk the beach,
She seems a peach
Just out of reach

Ah what is this?
A sound of bliss
A kiss, a kiss

A father lean
Upon the scene,
Looks awful mean


Here’s to dear Ould Ireland,
Here’s to the Irish lass,
Here’s to Dennis and Mike and Pat,
Here’s to the sparkling glass.
Here’s to the Irish copper,
He may be green all right,
But you bet he’s Mickie on the spot
Whenever it comes to a fight.
Here’s to Robert Emmet, too,
And here’s to our dear Tom Moore.
Here’s to the Irish shamrock,
Here’s to the land we adore.


(By A. Turkey Gobbler.)

I’m just a turkey gobbler,
But I’ve got a word to say
And I’d like to say it quickly
Before I pass away,
For I will get it in the neck
Upon Thanksgiving Day.

I cannot keep from thinking
Of poor Marie Antoinette,
She lost her head completely,
But this is what I’ll get
They’ll knock the stuffin’ out o’ me
Without the least regret.

I’ve just a few days left now
Before I meet my fate,
For every turkey gets the axe,
The little and the great.
There never was a turkey born
Who didn’t fill a plate.

Only three days left now,
Goodness, how time flies!
It brings a sadness to my heart
And teardrops to my eyes.
Does every turkey feel that way
Three days before he dies?

This is a very cruel world
(I’m talking sober facts),
For I was only raised to be
The victim of an axe
The butt of all your silly jokes,
And all your funny cracks.

And when you sit down Thursday
How happy you will be,
Every person gathered there
Will eat enough for three.
I’ll be the guest of honor
’Cause that dinner is on ME.


I’m the ghost of that poor gobbler
Who used to be so great,
They took my poor, neglected bones
And piled them on a plate.
Reader, shed a kindly tear
For my unhappy fate.

This is the common lot of all
Upon the world’s great chart;
We’ve got to leave a pile of bones
The stupid and the smart.
Even when Napoleon died
He left a Bonaparte.

We are merely puppets
Moving on a string,
And when we think that we are IT,
The axe will fall “Gezing!”
O, Grave, where is thy victory?
O, Death, where is thy sting?


(After Ben King, Dedicated to E. Jesse Conway.)

If I were City Editor
And you should come to my cold desk and choke,
And say, “Old man I’m actually dead broke.”
I say, if I were City Editor,
And you should come in deepest grief and woe
And say, “Oh Lordy let me have the dough,”
I might arise with slow and solemn wink
And lecture you upon the curse of drink.

If I were City Editor
And you should come to my hotel and reel,
Clasping my beer to quench the thirst you feel,
I say if I were City Editor
And you should come in trembling and in fear
And even hint about licking up that beer,
I’d hit you just one swat, and then,
I guess I’d have to order one more bier.


What is transcendentalism?
Merely sentimentalism
With a dash of egotism
Somewhat mixed with mysticism.
Not at all like Socialism,
Nor a bit like Atheism,
Hinges not on pessimism,
Treats of man’s asceticism,
Quite opposes anarchism.
Can’t you name another “Ism?”
Yes, it’s transcendentalism.


(Man’s Inhumanity to Hogs Makes Countless Thousands Squeal.)

I lived upon a little farm,
A happy hog was I,
I never dreamed of any harm
Nor ever thought to die.

All day I wallowed in the mud,
And ate the choicest slops.
I watched the brindles chew their cud
The farmer tend his crops.

Upon the hottest days I’d go
And flounder in the river
I thought that hogs might come and go,
But I would live forever.

Then finally I waxed so fat
That I could hardly walk,
And then the farmers gather ’round
And all began to talk.

I couldn’t understand a word,
All I did was grunt;
You see that’s all a hog can do
It is his only stunt.

But finally they took me out
And put me on a train.
I really couldn’t move about
And squealed with might and main.

I grunted, grunted as I flew
And moved in vain endeavor,
But even then I thought it true
That I would live forever.

And so we came to Packingtown
Where there were hogs galore,
I never saw so many hogs
In all my life before.

Then we had to shoot the chutes
And climb a flight of stairs,
We never had a chance to stop
Or time to say our prayers.

Loud-squealing hogs above, below
They formed a seething river,
For men may come and men may go
But hogs go on forever.

And then I saw an iron wheel
Which stood alone in state,
And then I heard an awful squeal
A hog had met his fate.

A devilish chain upon the wheel
Had seized him by the leg;
It was no use to kick and squeal,
It was no use to beg.

I longed in deepest grief and woe
To leave that brimming river;
If once into that room you go
Your fate is sealed forever.

Farewell, Farewell, a long farewell,
Around the room I spin,
And then a fellow with a knife
Smites me below the chin.


Dear reader I was just a hog,
But O it’s awful hard
To die disgraced, and then to be
Turned into “Pure Leaf Lard.”


(A Response to Judge Mulligan’s Famous Toast.)

The moonlight may be softest
In Kentucky,
And summer days come oftest
In Kentucky,
But friendship is the strongest
When the money lasts the longest
Or you sometimes get in wrongest
In Kentucky.

Sunshine is the brightest
In Kentucky,
And a right is often rightest
In Kentucky,
While plain girls are the fewest,
They work their eyes the truest,
They leave a fellow bluest
In Kentucky.

All debts are treated lightest
In Kentucky,
So make your home the brightest
In Kentucky,
If you have the social entree
You need never think of pay,
Or, at least, that’s what they say
In Kentucky.

Orators are the proudest
In Kentucky,
And they always talk the loudest
In Kentucky.
While boys may be the fliest,
Their money is the shyest,
They carry bluffs the highest
In Kentucky.

Pedigrees are longest
In Kentucky,
Family trees the strongest
In Kentucky.
For blue blood is a pride,
But, if you’ve ever tried
You’ll find ‘sporting blood’ inside
In Kentucky.

Society is exclusive
In Kentucky,
So do not be intrusive
In Kentucky.
If you want the right of way,
And have the coin to pay,
You’ll be in the swim to stay
In Kentucky.

The race track’s all the money
In Kentucky,
But don’t you go there, sonny
In Kentucky.
For, while thoroughbreds are fleetest,
They get your coin the neatest,
And leave you looking seediest
In Kentucky.

Short-skates are the thickest
In Kentucky,
They spot a sucker quickest
In Kentucky.
They’ll set up to a drink,
Get your money ’fore you think,
And you get the “dinky dink”
In Kentucky.

If you want to be fraternal
In Kentucky,
Just call a fellow “Colonel”
In Kentucky,
Or, give a man a nudge
And say, “How are you, Judge?”
For they never call that “fudge”
In Kentucky.

But when you have tough luck
In Kentucky,
In other words “get stuck”
In Kentucky,
Just raise your voice and holler
And you’ll always raise a dollar,
While a drink is sure to follow
In Kentucky.

’Tis true that birds sing sweetest
In Kentucky,
That women folk are neatest
In Kentucky,
But there are things you shouldn’t tell
About our grand old State and, well
Politics is h l
In Kentucky.


The Incubus.

The way was dark within the gloomy church-yard,
As I wandered through the woodland near the stream,
With slow and heavy tread
Through a city of the dead,
When suddenly I heard a dreadful scream.

My heart gave frantic leap, as when the roebuck
Is started by the clamor of the chase,
And I halted all atremble
In the vain hope to dissemble,
Or cloak the leaden pallor on my face.

’Twas in the ghostly month of grim December,
The frozen winds were bitter in their cry
And I muttered half aloud
To that white and silent crowd:
“’Tis a somber month to live in or to die.”

And then as if in answer to my whisper,
Came a voice of some foul fiend from Hell:
“No longer live say I,
’Tis better far to die
And let the falling snow-flakes sound the knell.”

Perched upon a tombstone sat the creature
Grewsome as an unquenched, burning lust.
Sitting livid there
With an open-coffin stare
A stare that seemed the mocking of the just.

And in my thoughts the dreadful thing is sitting
Sitting there with eyelids red and blear,
And see it there I will
’Til my restless soul is still
And the earth-clods roll and rumble on my bier.


In days gone by, the poets wrote
Sweet verses to the ladies fair;
Described the nightingale’s clear note,
Or penned an Ode to Daphne’s hair.

To dare all for a woman’s smile
Or breathe one’s heart out in a rose
Such trifles now are out of style,
The scented manuscript must close.

Yet Villon wrote his roundelays,
And that sweet singer Horace;
But I will sing of other days
In praise of Clara Morris.

Youth is but the joy of life,
Not the eternal moping;
We get no happiness from strife
Nor yet by blindly groping.

All the world’s a stage you know
The men and women actors;
A little joy, a little woe
These are but human factors.

The mellow days still come and go,
The earth is full of beauty;
If we would only think it so,
Life is not all a duty.

And you are young in heart not years,
Is this not true because
You mingle happiness with tears
And do not look for flaws?

Your silver hair is but the snow
That drifts above the roses,
And though the years may come and go
They can but scatter posies.


(Mrs. Jefferson Davis, widow of the President of the Southern
Confederacy died October 16, 1906.)

Oh weep fair South, and bow thy head
For one is gone beyond recall!
Cast flowers on the sainted dead
Who sleeps beneath a funeral pall.
To the sound of muffled drum,
To the sound of muffled drum.

She saw a noble husband’s fame
Grow more enduring with the years,
And in the land his honored name
Loom brighter through a mist of tears,
But the sound of muffled drum!
O the sound of muffled drum!

Our fate is but to meet and part
Upon Life’s dark and troubled sea,
Yet recollection stirs the heart,
Of men in gray who used to be,
But the sound of muffled drum!
O the sound of muffled drum!

Brave South, ’tis but a moment’s pause
E’er on that dim and distant shore,
The heroes of thy Fallen Cause
Will meet again to part no more
To the sound of muffled drum.
To the sound of muffled drum.


A college professor one day
Was fishing in Chesapeake Bay;
Said a crab to his mate,
“Let’s kick off the bait,
This business is too old to pay.”


The list is long, the stories read the same;
Strong mortal man is but a flesh-hued toy;
Some have their ending in a life of shame;
Others drink deeply from the glass of joy;
Some see the cup dashed dripping from their lip
Or drinking, find the wine has turned to gall,
While others taste the sweets they fain would sip
And then Death comes the sequel to it all.


You lived in a land horror-haunted,
And wrote with a pen half-divine;
You drank bitter sorrow, undaunted
And cast precious pearls before swine.


May the day that gave Christ birth
Bring you boundless joy and mirth,
Fill the golden hours with gladness,
Raise no thought to cause you sadness.

Far back within an age remote,
Which common history fails to note,
When dogs could talk, and pigs could sing,
And frogs obeyed a wooden king,
There lived a tribe of rats so mean,
That such a set was never seen.
For during all the livelong day
They fought and quarrelled in the hay,
And then at night they robbed the mice,
Who always were so kind and nice.
They stole their bread, they stole their meat,
And all the jam they had to eat;
They gobbled up their pies and cake,
And everything the mice could bake;
They stuffed themselves with good fresh meal,
And ruined all they could not steal;
They slapped their long tails in the butter
Until they made a frightful splutter;
Then, sleek and fine in coats of silk,
They swam about in buttermilk.
They ate up everything they found,
And flung the plates upon the ground.
And catching three mice by their tails,
They drowned them in the water-pails;
Then seeing it was morning light,
They scampered home with all their might.
The mouse-tribe living far and near,
At once this awful thing did hear,
And all declared with cries of rage,
A war against the rats they’d wage.
The mouse-king blew a trumpet blast,
And soon the mice came thick and fast
From every place, in every manner,
And crowded round the royal banner.
Each had a sword, a bow and arrow;
Each felt as brave as any sparrow,
And promised, in the coming fight,
To die or put the rats to flight.
The king put on a coat of mail,
And tied a bow-knot to his tail;
He wore a pistol by his side,
And on a bull-frog he did ride.
“March on!” he cried. And, hot and thick,
His army rushed, in double quick.
And hardly one short hour had waned,
Before the ranks the rat-camp gained,
With sounding drum and screaming fife,
Enough to raise the dead to life.
The rats, awakened by the clatter,
Rushed out to see what was the matter,
Then down the whole mouse-army flew,
And many thieving rats it slew.
The mice hurrahed, the rats they squealed,
And soon the dreadful battle-field
Was blue with smoke and red with fire,
And filled with blood and savage ire.
The rats had eaten so much jam,
So many pies and so much ham,
And were so fat and sick and swollen
With all the good things they had stolen
That they could neither fight nor run;
And so the mice the battle won.
They threw up rat-fur in the air;
They piled up rat-tails everywhere;
And slaughtered rats bestrewed the ground
For ten or twenty miles around.
The rat-king galloped from the field
When all the rest were forced to yield;
But though he still retained his skin,
He nearly fainted with chagrin,
To think that in that bloody tide
So many of his rats had died.
Fierce anger blazed within his breast;
He would not stop to eat or rest;
But spurring up his fiery steed,
He seized a sharp and trusty reed
Then, wildly shouting, rushed like hail
To cut off little mouse-king’s tail.
The mouse-king’s face turned red with passion
To see a rat come in such fashion,
For he had just that minute said
That every thieving rat was dead.
The rat was scared, and tried to run,
And vowed that he was just in fun;
But nought could quell the mouse-king’s fury
He cared not then for judge or jury;
And with his sharp and quivering spear,
He pierced the rat right through the ear.
The rat fell backward in the clover,
Kicked up his legs, and all was over.
The mice, with loud and joyful tones,
Now gathered all the bad rats’ bones,
And with them built a pyramid,
Down which their little children slid.
And after that eventful day
The mice in peace and joy could play,
For now no wicked rats could steal
Their cakes and jam and pies and meal,
Nor catch them by their little tails,
And drown them in the water-pails.

Things Worth While.

To sit and dream in a shady nook
While the phantom clouds roll by;
To con some long-remembered book
When the pulse of youth beats high.

To thrill when the dying sunset glows
Through the heart of a mystic wood,
To drink the sweetness of some wild rose,
And to find the whole world good.

To bring unto others joy and mirth,
And keep what friends you can;
To learn that the rarest gift on earth
Is the love of your fellow man.

To hold the respect of those you know,
To scorn dishonest pelf;
To sympathize with another’s woe,
And just be true to yourself.

To find that a woman’s honest love
In this great world of strife
Gleams steadfast like a star, above
The dark morass of life.

To feel a baby’s clinging hand,
To watch a mother’s smile;
To dwell once more in fairyland
These are the things worth while.