And so it has served us through sunshine and cloud,
Through fun’rals and weddin’s, from bride-wreath ter shroud;
It’s old and it’s rusty, it’s shaky and lame,
But I love every j’int of its rickety frame.
And it’s restin’ at last, for its race has been run,
It’s lived out its life and its work has been done,
And I hope, in my soul, at the last trumpet call
I’ll have done mine as well as the old carryall.
* * * * *
OUR FIRST FIRE-CRACKERS
O you boys grown gray and bearded, you that used ter
chum with me
In that lazy little village down beside the tumblin’ sea,
When yer sniff the burnin’ powder, when yer see the banners fly,
Don’t yer thoughts, like mine, go driftin’ back to Fourths long since
And, amongst them days of gladness, ain’t there one that stands alone,
When yer had yer first fire-crackers—jest one bunch, but all yer own?
Don’t yer ’member how yer envied bigger
chaps their fuss and noise,
’Cause yer Ma had said that crackers wasn’t good fer little boys?
Do yer ’member how yer teased her, morn and eve and noon and night,
And how all the world yelled “Glory!” when at last she said yer might?
Do yer ’member how yer bought ’em, weeks
and weeks ahead of time,
After savin’ all yer pennies till they footed up a dime?
Do yer ’member what they looked like? I can see ’em plain as plain,
With a dragon on the package, grinnin’ through a fiery rain.
Do yer ’member how yer fired ’em, slow
and careful, one by one?
Do’n’t it seem like each was louder than the grandest sort of gun?
Can’t yer see the big, red flashes, if yer only shut yer eyes,
And jest smell the burnin’ powder, sweeter’n breaths from paradise?
O you boys, gray-haired and bearded. O you youngsters
grown ter men,
We can’t buy them kind of crackers now, nor never shall again!
Fer the joys thet used ter glitter through the fizz and puff and crash,
Has, ter most of us, been deadened by the grindin’ chink of cash;
But I’d like ter ask yer, fellers, how much of yer hoarded gold
Would yer give if it could buy yer one glad Fourth like them of old?
How much would yer spend ter gain it—that light-hearted, joyous glow
That come with yer fust fire-crackers, when yer bought ’em long ago?
* * * * *
WHEN NATHAN LED THE CHOIR
I s’pose I hain’t progressive, but I swan,
it seems ter me
Religion isn’t nigh so good as what it used ter be!
I go ter meetin’ every week and rent my reg’lar pew,
But hain’t a mite uplifted when the sarvices are through;
I take my orthodoxy straight, like Gran’pop did his rum,
(It never hurt him, neither, and a deacon, too, by gum!)
But now the preachin’ ‘s mushy and the singin’ ’s lost its fire:
I ‘d like ter hear old Parson Day, with Nathan leadin’ choir.