(By Delle M. Mason.)
I have come home to you, mother. Father,
your wayward son
Has come to himself at last, and knows the harm he has done.
I have bleached your hair out, father, more than the frosts of years;
I have dimmed your kind eyes, mother, by many tears.
Since I left you, father, to work the farm alone,
And bought a stock of liquors with what I called my own,
I’ve been ashamed to see you; I knew it broke you down,
To think you had brought up a boy to harm his native town.
I’ve given it all up, mother; I’ll
never sell it more.
I’ve smashed the casks and barrels, I’ve shut and locked the door.
I’ve signed the temperance pledge—the women stood and sang,
The clergymen gave three hearty cheers, and all the church bells rang.
But one thing seemed to haunt me, as I came
home to you;
Of all the wrongs that I have done not one can I undo.
There’s old Judge White, just dropping into a drunkard’s grave;
I’ve pushed him down with every drop of brandy that I gave.
And there’s young Tom Eliot—was
such a trusty lad,
I made him drink the first hot glass of rum he ever had.
Since then, he drinks night after night, and acts a ruffian’s part,
He has maimed his little sister, and broke his mother’s heart.
And there is Harry Warner, who married Bessie
He struck and killed their baby when it was sick, and cried,
And I poured out the poison, that made him strike the blow,
And Bessie raved and cursed me, she is crazy now, you know.
I tried to act indifferent, when I saw the women
There was Ryan’s wife, whose children shivered and starved at home,
He’d paid me, that same morning, his last ten cents for drink,
And when I saw her poor, pale face, it made me start and shrink.
There was Tom Eliot’s mother, wrapped
in her widow’s veil,
And the wife of Brown, the merchant, my whiskey made him fail;
And my old playmate, Mary, she stood amid the band,
Her white cheek bore a livid mark, made by her husband’s hand.
It all just overcome me; I yielded then and
And Elder Sharpe, he raised his hand, and offered up a prayer.
I know that he forgave me, I couldn’t help but think
Of his own boy, his only son, whom I had taught to drink.
So I have come back, father, to the home that
gave me birth,
And I will plow and sow and reap the gifts of mother earth.
Yet, if I prove a good son now, and worthy of you two,
My heart is heavy with the wrongs I never can undo.
Or, The joint Keeper’s Dilemma.
Say, Billy, git ten two-by-four
’Nd twenty six-by-eight,
’Nd order from the hardware store
Ten sheets of boiler plate,
’Nd ’phone the carpenter to come
Most mighty quick—don’t wait,
For there’s a story on the streets
She’s coming on the freight.