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Like rivers when south-lyin' drifts
Feel thet th' old airth 's a-wheelin' sunwards.
Time wuz, the rhymes come crowdin' thick
Ez office-seekers arter 'lection,
Without no bother nor objection;
Ez though I wanted to enlist 'em,
But then they 'll slope afore you 've mist 'em.
Nothin' don't seem like wut it wuz;
I can't see wut there is to hender, An' yit my brains jes' go buzz, buzz,
Like bumblebees agin a winder; 'fore these times come, in all airth's row,
Ther' wuz one quiet place, my head in, Where I could hide an' think, — but now
It's all one teeter, hopin', dreadin'.
Where's Peace? I start, some clear-blown night,
When gaunt stone walls grow numb an' number, An', creakin' 'cross the snow-crus' white,
Walk the col' starlight into summer; Up grows the moon, an' swell by swell
Thru the pale pasturs silvers dimmer Than the last smile thet strives to tell
O’love gone heavenward in its shimmer.
I hev ben gladder o' sech things
Than cocks o' spring or bees o'clover,
They filled my heart with livin' springs,
But now they seem to freeze 'em over; Sights innercent ez babes on knee,
Peaceful ez eyes o' pastur'd cattle, Jes' coz they be so, seem to me
To rile me more with thoughts o' battle.
In-doors an' out by spells I try;
Ma'am Natur' keeps her spin-wheel goin', But leaves my natur' stiff and dry
Ez fiel's o'clover arter mowin'; An' her jes’ keepin' on the same,
Calmer 'n a clock, an' never carin', An' findin' nary thing to blame,
Is wus than ef she took to swearin'.
Snow-flakes come whisperin' on the pane
The charm makes blazin' logs so pleasant, But I can't hark to wut they 're say'n',
With Grant or Sherman ollers present ; The chimbleys shudder in the gale,
Thet lulls, then suddin takes to flappin' Like a shot hawk, but all 's ez stale
To me ez so much sperit-rappin'.
Under the yaller-pines I house,
When sunshine makes 'em all sweet-scented, An' hear among their furry boughs
The baskin’ west-wind purr contented, While 'way o'erhead, ez sweet an' low
Ez distant bells thet ring for meetin', The wedged wil geese their bugles blow,
Further an' further South retreatin'.
Or up the slippery knob I strain
An' see a hundred hills like islan's
Out o' the sea o' snowy silence ;
Slow thru the winter air a-shrinkin'
Of empty places set me thinkin'.
Beaver roars hoarse with meltin' snows,
An' rattles di’mon's from his granite ; Time wuz, he snatched away my prose,
An' into psalms or satires ran it; But he, nor all the rest thet once
Started my blood to country-dances, Can't set me goin' more 'n a dunce
Thet hain't no use for dreams an' fancies.
Rat-tat-tat-tattle thru the street
I hear the drummers makin' riot, An' I set thinkin' o' the feet
Thet follered once an' now are quiet, White feet ez snowdrops innercent,
Thet never knowed the paths o' Satan, Whose comin' step ther''s ears thet won't,
No, not lifelong, leave off awaitin'.
Why, hain't I held 'em on my knee?
Did n't I love to see 'em growin', Three likely lads ez wal could be,
Hahnsome an' brave an' not tu knowin'? I set an' look into the blaze
Whose natur', jes' like theirn, keeps climbin', Ez long 'z it lives, in shinin' ways,
An' half despise myself for rhymin'.
Wut's words to them whose faith an' truth
On War's red techstone rang true metal, Who ventered life an' love an' youth
For the gret prize o' death in battle ? To him who, deadly hurt, agen
Flashed on afore the charge's thunder, Tippin' with fire the bolt of men
Thet rived the Rebel line asunder?
'T ain't right to hev the young go fust,
All throbbin' full o'gifts an' graces, Leavin' life's paupers dry ez dust
To try an' make b’lieve fill their places : Nothin' but tells us wut we miss,
Ther' 's gaps our lives can't never fay in, An' thet world seems so fur from this
Lef' for us loafers to grow gray in !
My eyes cloud up for rain ; my mouth
Will take to twitchin' roun' the corners; I pity mothers, tu, down South, For all they sot among
the scorners : I'd sooner take my chance to stan'
At Jedgment where your meanest slave is, Than at God's bar hol' up a han'
Ez drippin' red ez yourn, Jeff Davis !
Come, Peace! not like a mourner bowed
For honor lost an' dear ones wasted,
But proud, to meet a people proud,
With eyes thet tell o' triumph tasted! Come, with han' grippin' on the hilt,
An' step thet proves ye Victory's daughter! Longin' for you, our sperits wilt
Like shipwrecked men's on raf's for water.
Come, while our country feels the lift
Of a gret instinct shoutin' “ Forwards ! ” An' knows thet freedom ain't a gift
Thet tarries long in han's o' cowards! Come, sech ez mothers prayed for, when
They kissed their cross with lips thet quivered, An' bring fair wages for brave men,
A nation saved, a race delivered!
MR. HOSEA BIGLOW'S SPEECH IN MARCH
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY
JAALAM, April 5, 1866. MY DEAR SIR,
(an' noticin' by your kiver thet you 're some dearer than wut you wuz, I enclose the deffrence) I dunno ez I know jest how to interdooce this las' perduction of my mews, ez Parson Willber allus called 'em, which is goin' to be the last an' stay the last onless sunthin' pertikler sh’d interfear which I don't expec' ner I wun't yield tu ef it wuz ez