* * * * *
THE POPULAR SONG
I never was naturally vicious;
My spirit was lamb-like and mild;
I never was bad or malicious;
I loved with the trust of a child.
But hate now my bosom is burning,
And all through my being I long
To get one solid thump on the head of the chump
Who wrote the new popular song.
[Illustration: “The washwoman sings it all wrong.”]
The office-boy hums it,
The book-keeper drums it,
It’s whistled by all on the street;
The hand-organ grinds it,
The music-box winds it,
It’s sung by the “cop” on the beat.
The newsboy, he spouts it,
The bootblack, he shouts it,
The washwoman sings it all wrong;
And I laugh, and I weep,
And I wake, and I sleep,
To the tune of that popular song.
Its measures are haunting my dreaming;
I rise at the breakfast-bell’s call
To hear the new chambermaid screaming
The chorus aloud through the hall.
The landlady’s daughter’s piano
Is helping the concert along,
And my molars I break on the tenderloin steak
As I chew to that popular song.
The orchestra plays it,
The German band brays it,
’T is sung on the platform and stage;
All over the city
They’re chanting the ditty;
At summer resorts it’s the rage.
The drum corps, it beats it,
The echo repeats it,
The bass-drummer brings it out strong,
And we speak, and we talk,
And we dance, and we walk,
To the notes of that popular song.
It really is driving me crazy;
I feel that I’m wasting away;
My brain is becoming more hazy,
My appetite less every day.
But, ah! I’d not pray for existence,
Nor struggle my life to prolong,
If, up some dark alley, with him I might dally
Who wrote that new popular song.
The bone-player clicks it,
The banjoist picks it,
It ’livens the clog-dancer’s heels;
The bass-viol moans it,
The bagpiper drones it,
They play it for waltzes and reels.
I shall not mind quitting
The earthly, and flitting
Away ’mid the heavenly throng,
If the mourners who come
To my grave do not hum
That horrible popular song.
* * * * *
I hain’t no great detective, like yer read about,—the
That solves a whole blame murder case by footmarks left behind;
But then, again, on t’other hand, my eyes hain’t shut so tight
But I can add up two and two and get the answer right;
So, when prayer-meet’ns, Friday nights, got keepin’ awful late,
And, fer an hour or so, I’d hear low voices at the gate—
And when that gate got saggin’ down ’bout ha’f a foot er so—
I says ter mother: “Ma,” says I, “Matildy’s got a beau.”