John Smith, U.S.A. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 82 pages of information about John Smith, U.S.A..
  She changed all these folks into birds and shrieking with demoniac
  “Fly away over the land, moaning your Peter forever,
  Croaking of Peter, the boy who didn’t believe there were hoodoos,
  Crooning of Peter the fool who scouted at stories of witches. 
  Crying for Peter for aye, forever outcalling for Peter!”

  This is the story they tell; so in good sooth saith the legend: 
  As I have told, so tell the folk and the legend,
  That it is true I believe, for on the breeze of the morning
  Come the shrill voices of birds calling and calling for Peter;
  Out of the maple and beech glitter the eyes of the wailers,
  Peeping and peering for him who formerly lived in these places—­
  Peter, the heretic lad, lazy and careless and dreaming,
  Sorely afflicted with books and with pubescent paresis. 
  Hating the things of the farm, care of the barn and the garden. 
  Always neglecting his chores—­given to books and to reading,
  Which, as all people allow, turn the young person to mischief,
  Harden his heart against toil, wean his affections from tillage.

  This is the legend of yore told in the state of Kentucky
  When in the springtime the birds call from the beeches and maples,
  Call from the petulant thorn, call from the acrid persimmon;
  When from the woods by the creek and from the pastures and meadows,
  When from the spring-house and lane and from the mint-bed and orchard,
  When from the redbud and gum and from redolent lilac,
  When from the dirt roads and pikes comes that calling for Peter;
  Cometh the dolorous cry, cometh that weird iteration
  Of “Peter” and “Peter” for aye, of “Peter” and “Peter” forever! 
  This is the legend of old, told in the tumtitty meter
  Which the great poets prefer, being less labor than rhyming
  (My first attempt at the same, my last attempt, too, I reckon,)
  Nor have I further to say, for the sad story is ended.


  Dear wife, last midnight while I read
    The tomes you so despise,
  A specter rose beside the bed
    And spoke in this true wise;
  “From Canaan’s beatific coast
    I’ve come to visit thee,
  For I’m Frognall Dibdin’s ghost!”
    Says Dibdin’s ghost to me.

  I bade him welcome and we twain
    Discussed with buoyant hearts
  The various things that appertain
    To bibliomaniac arts. 
  “Since you are fresh from t’other side,
    Pray tell me of that host
  That treasured books before they died,”
    Says I to Dibdin’s ghost.

  “They’ve entered into perfect rest,
    For in the life they’ve won
  There are no auctions to molest,
    No creditors to dun;
  Their heavenly rapture has no bounds
    Beside that jasper sea—­
  It is a joy unknown to Lowndes!”
    Says Dibdin’s ghost to me.

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John Smith, U.S.A. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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