John Smith, U.S.A. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 51 pages of information about John Smith, U.S.A..

  So here’s a bowl that shall be quaff’d
    To loyalty’s devotion,
  And here’s to fortune that shall waft
    Your ship across the ocean,
  And here’s a smile for those who prate
    Of Davy Jones’s locker,
  And here’s a pray’r in every fate—­
    God bless you, Knickerbocker!

THE BOTTLE AND THE BIRD.

  Once on a time a friend of mine prevailed on me to go
  To see the dazzling splendors of a sinful ballet show,
  And after we had reveled in the saltatory sights
  We sought a neighboring cafe for more tangible delights;
  When I demanded of my friend what viands he preferred,
  He quoth:  “A large cold bottle and a small hot bird!”

  Fool that I was, I did not know what anguish hidden lies
  Within the morceau that allures the nostrils and the eyes! 
  There is a glorious candor in an honest quart of wine—­
  A certain inspiration which I cannot well define! 
  How it bubbles, how it sparkles, how its gurgling seems to say: 
  “Come, on a tide of rapture let me float your soul away!”

  But the crispy, steaming mouthful that is spread upon your plate—­
  How it discounts human sapience and satirizes fate! 
  You wouldn’t think a thing so small could cause the pains and aches
  That certainly accrue to him that of that thing partakes;
  To me, at least (a guileless wight!) it never once occurred
  What horror was encompassed in that one small hot bird.

  Oh, what a head I had on me when I awoke next day,
  And what a firm conviction of intestinal decay! 
  What seas of mineral water and of bromide I applied
  To quench those fierce volcanic fires that rioted inside! 
  And, oh! the thousand solemn, awful vows I plighted then
  Never to tax my system with a small hot bird again!

  The doctor seemed to doubt that birds could worry people so,
  But, bless him! since I ate the bird, I guess I ought to know! 
  The acidous condition of my stomach, so he said,
  Bespoke a vinous irritant that amplified my head,
  And, ergo, the causation of the thing, as he inferred,
  Was the large cold bottle, not the small hot bird.

  Of course, I know it wasn’t, and I’m sure you’ll say I’m right
  If ever it has been your wont to train around at night;
  How sweet is retrospection when one’s heart is bathed in wine,
  And before its balmy breath how do the ills of life decline! 
  How the gracious juices drown what griefs would vex a mortal breast,
  And float the flattered soul into the port of dreamless rest!

  But you, O noxious, pigmy bird, whether it be you fly
  Or paddle in the stagnant pools that sweltering, festering lie—­
  I curse you and your evil kind for that you do me wrong,
  Engendering poisons that corrupt my petted muse of song;
  Go, get thee hence, and nevermore discomfit me and mine—­
  I fain would barter all thy brood for one sweet draught of wine!

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