Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

There was runnin' and cursin', but Jim yelled out

Over all the infernal roar, “I'll hold her nozzle agin the bank

Till the last galoot's ashore.”

Through the hot black breath of the burnin' boat

Jim Bludso's voice was heard,
And they all had trust in his cussedness,

And knowed he would keep his word.
And, sure's you're born, they all got off

Afore the smokestacks fell,
And Bludso's ghost went up alone

In the smoke of the Prairie Belle.

He weren't no saint-but at jedgment

I'd run my chance with Jim, ’Longside of some pious gentlemen

That wouldn't shook hands with him.
He'd seen his duty, a dead sure thing-

And went for it thar and then;
And Christ aint a going to be too hard

On a inan that died for men.

THE MYSTERY OF GILGAL.

The darkest, strangest mystery
I ever read, or heern, or see,
Is 'long of a drink at Taggart's Hall-

Tom Taggart's, of Gilgal.
I've heern the tale a thousand ways,
But never could git through the maze
That hangs around that queer day's doin's :

But I'll tell the yarn to youuns.
Tom Taggart stood behind his bar ;
The time was fall, the skies was far ;
The neighbours round the counter drawed,

And ca'mly drinked and jawed.
At last come Colonel Blood, of Pike,
And old Jedge Phinn, permiscus-like ;
And each, as he meandered in,

Remarked “A whisky-skin.”
Tom mixed the beverage full and far,
And slammed it, smoking, on the bar.
Some says three fingers, some says two,

I'll leave the choice to you.

Phinn to the drink put forth his hand;
Blood drawed his knife, with accent bland,
I ax yer parding, Mister Phinn-

Jest drap that whisky-skin.”
No man high-toneder could be found
Than old Jedge Phinn the country round.
Says he, Young man, the tribe of Phinns

Knows their own whisky-skins !”
He went for his 'leven-inch bowie knife :-
“I tries to foller a Christian life ;

a
But I'll drap a slice of liver or two,

My bloomin' shrub, with you."
They carved in a way that all admired,
Tell Blood drawed iron at last, and fired.
It took Seth Bludso 'twixt the eyes,

Which caused him great surprise.
Then coats went off, and all went in ;
Shots and bad language swelled the din ;
The short sharp bark of Derringers,

Like bull-pups, cheered the furse.
They piled the stiffs outside the door;
They made, I reckon, a cord or more.
Girls went that winter, as a rule,

Alone to spellin'-school.
I've sarched in vain, from Dan to Beer-
Sheba, to make this mystery clear ;
But I end with hit as I did begin,-

WHO GOT THE WHISKY-SKIN ?

[ocr errors]

EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN. [Born about 1835. Author of The Blameless Prince, and other Poems, pube lished in 1869, and of at least two other volumes of poetry, previously issued].

PAN IN WALL STREET.

A.D. 1867.
Just where the Treasury's marble front

Looks over Wall Street's mingled nations, -
Where Jews and Gentiles most are wont

To throng for trade and last quotations,
Where, hour by hour, the rates of gold

Outrival, in the ears of people,
The quarter-chimes, serenely tolled

From Trinity's undaunted steeple ;

Even there I heard a strange wild strain

Sound high above the modern clamour, Above the cries of greed and gain,

The kerbstone war, the auction's hammer, And swift, on Music's misty ways,

It led, from all this strife for millions, To ancient, sweet-do-nothing days

Among the kirtle-robed Sicilians. And as it stilled the multitude,

And yet more joyous rose and shriller, I saw the minstrel, where he stood

At ease against a Doric pillar : One hand a droning organ played ;

The other held a Pan’s-pipe (fashioned Like those of old) to lips that made

The reeds give out that strain impassioned. 'Twas Pan himself had wandered here

A-strolling through this sordid city, And piping to the civic ear

The prelude of some pastoral ditty ! The demigod had crossed the seas,-

From haunts of shepherd, nymph, and satyr, And Syracusan times, -to these

Far shores and twenty centuries later. A ragged cap was on his head :

But-hidden thus—there was no doubting That, all with crispy locks o'erspread,

His gnarlèd horns were somewhere sprouting ; His club-feet, cased in rusty shoes,

Were crossed, as on some frieze you see them, And trousers, patched of divers hues,

Concealed his crooked shanks beneath them. He filled the quivering reeds with sound,

And o'er his mouth their changes shifted, And with his goat's-eyes looked around

Where'er the passing current drifted ; And soon, as on Trinacrian hills

The nymphs and herdsmen ran to hear him, Even now the tradesmen from their tills,

With clerks and porters, crowded near him. The bulls and bears together drew

From. Jauncey Court and New Street Alley, As erst, if pastorals be true,

Came beasts from every wooded valley ; The random passers stayed to list,

A boxer Ægon, rough and merry, A Broadway Daphnis, on his tryst

With Nais at ihe Brooklyn Ferry,

A one-eyed Cyclops halted long

In tattered cloak of army pattern,
And Galatea joined the throng, –

A blowsy, apple-vending slattern;
While old Silenus staggered out

From some new-fangled lunch-house handy,
And bade the piper, with a shout,

To strike up Yankee Doodle Dandy!
A newsboy and a peanut-girl

Like little Fauns began to caper :
His hair was all in tangled curl,

Her tawny legs were bare and taper;
And still the gathering larger grew,

And gave its pence and crowded nigher,
While

aye the shepherd-minstrel blew
His pipe, and struck the gamut higher.
O heart of Nature, beating still

With throbs her vernal passion taught her ;--
Even here, as on the vine-clad hill,

Or by the Arethusan water !
New forms may fold the speech, new lands

Arise within these ocean-portals,
But Music waves eternal wands-

Enchantress of the souls of mortals !
So thought I,-but among us trod

A man in blue, with legal baton,
And scoffed the vagrant demigod,

And pushed him from the step I sat on.
Doubting I mused upon the cry

“Great Pan is dead !”—and all the people
Went on their ways :-and clear and high

The quarter sounded from the steeple.

F. BRET HARTE. [Born about 1835. A name now universally known, by the authorship, cf The Luck of Roaring Camp, and especially of the verses on That Heather Chinee).

THE SOCIETY UPON THE STANISLAUS. I RESIDE at Table Mountain, and my name is Truthful James ; I am not up to small deceit, or any sinful games; And I'll tell in simple language what I know about the row That broke up our society upon the Stanislow. But first I would remark that it is not a proper plan For

any scientific gent to whale his fellow-man, And, is a member don't agree with his peculiar whim, To lay for that same member for to "put a head" on him.

Now nothing could be finer or more beautiful to see
Than the first six months' proceedings of that same society,
Till Brown of Calaveras brought a lot of fossil bones
That he found within a tunnel near the tenement of Jones.
Then Brown he read a paper, and he reconstructed there,
From those same bones, an animal that was extremely rare ;
And Jones then asked the Chair for a suspension of the rules,
Till he could prove that those same bones was one of his lost

mules.
Then Brown he smiled a bitter smile, and said he was at fault:
It seemed he had been trespassing on Jones's family vault.
He was a most sarcastic man, this quiet Mr. Brown,
And on several occasions he had cleaned out the town.
Now I hold it is not decent for a scientific gent
To say another is an ass,-at least, to all intent;
Nor should the individual who happens to be meant
Reply by heaving rocks at him to any great extent.
Then Abner Dean of Angel's raised a point of order-when
A chunk of old red sandstone took him in the abdomen,
And he smiled a kind of sickly smile, and curled up on the floor,
And the subsequent proceedings interested him no more.
For, in less time than I write it, every member did engage
In a warfare with the remnants of a palæozoic age ;
And the way they heaved those fossils in their anger was a sin,
Till the skull of an old mammoth caved the head of Thompson in.
And this is all I have to say of these improper games,
For I live at Table Mountain, and my name

Truthsul James; And I've told in simple language what I know about the row That broke up our society upon the Stanislow.

a

PENELOPE.

SIMPSON'S BAR, 1858.
So you've kem ’yer agen,

And one answer won't do?
Well, of all the derned men

That I've struck, it is you.
O Sal ! 'yer's that derned fool from Sinpson's,

cavortin' round 'yer in the dew.
Kem in, ef you will,

Thar, -quit! Take a cheer.
Not that; you can't fill

Them theer cushings this year, —
For that cheer was my old man's, Joe Simpson, an:

they don't make such men about ’yer.

« ElőzőTovább »