I’d like ter know who told these folks that
all was perfect peace,
And glidin’ inter heaven was as slick as meltin’ grease;
Old Parson Day, I tell yer what, his sermons made yer think!
He’d shake yer over Tophet till yer heard the cinders clink.
And then, when he’d gin out the tune and Nate would take his stand
Afore the chosen singers, with the tuning-fork in hand,
The meetin’-house jest held its breath, from cellar plum ter spire,
And then bu’st forth in thunder-tones with Nathan leadin’ choir.
They didn’t chime so pretty, p’r’aps,
as does our new quartette,
But all them folks was there ter sing, and done it, too, you bet!
The basses they ‘d be rollin’ on, with faces swelled and red,
And racin’ the supraners, who was p’r’aps a bar ahead;
While Nate beat time with both his hands and worked like drivin’ plow,
With drops o’ sweat a-standin’ out upon his face and brow;
And all the congregation felt that Heav’n was shorely nigher
Whene’er they heerd the chorus sung with Nathan leadin’ choir.
Rube Swan was second tenor, and his pipes was kinder
But Rube made up in loudness what in tune he might have lacked;
But ’twas a leetle cur’us, though, for p’r’aps his voice would balk,
And when he’d fetch a high note give a most outrageous squawk;
And Uncle Elkanah was deef and kind er’d lose the run,
And keep on singin’ loud and high when all the rest was done;
But, notwithstandin’ all o’ this, I think I’d never tire
Of list’nin’ ter the good old tunes with Nathan leadin’ choir.
We’ve got a brand-new organ now, and singers—only
But, land! we pay ’em cash enough ter fee a hundred more;
They sing newfangled tunes and things that some folks think are sweet,
But don’t appeal ter me no more’n a fish-horn on the street.
I’d like once more ter go ter church and watch old Nathan wave
His tunin’-fork above the crowd and lead the glorious stave;
I’d like ter hear old Parson Day jest knock the sinners higher,
And then set back and hear a hymn with Nathan leadin’ choir.
* * * * *
My son Hezekiah’s a painter; yes, that’s
the purfession he’s at; An artist, I mean,—course
he ain’t a whitewasher or nothin’ like
that. At home he was always a-drawin’ and
shirkin’ his work ’round the place, And
kept me continyerly jawin’ or dressin’
him down with a trace; Till I says ter Mother, “Between
us, this thing might’s well be understood; Our
Hez is jest simply a gen’us, and a gen’us
is never no good; He won’t stop fer jawin’s
and dressin’s; he’ll daub and he’ll
all the while;
So he might as well have a few lessons, and learn how ter do it in style.”