Successful Recitations eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 540 pages of information about Successful Recitations.

      He weren’t no saint—­them engineers
        Is all pretty much alike—­
      One wife in Natchez-under-the-Hill
        And another one here, in Pike. 
      A keerless man in his talk was Jim,
        And an awkward man in a row—­
      But he never funked, and he never lied,
        I reckon he never knowed how.

      And this was all the religion he had—­
        To treat his engine well;
      Never be passed on the river;
        To mind the Pilot’s bell;
      And if the Prairie Bell took fire—­
        A thousand times he swore,
      He’d hold her nozzle agin the bank
        Till the last soul got ashore.

      All boats has their day on the Mississip,
        And her day come at last—­
      The Movastar was a better boat,
        But the Belle she wouldn’t be passed. 
      And so come tearin’ along that night—­
        The oldest craft on the line,
      With a nigger squat on her safety valve,
        And her furnace crammed, rosin and pine.

      The fire burst out as she clared the bar,
        And burnt a hole in the night,
      And quick as a flash she turned, and made
        For the wilier-bank on the right. 
      There was runnin’ and cursin’, but Jim yelled out
        Over all the infernal, roar,
      “I’ll hold her nozzle agin the bank
        Till the last galoot’s ashore.”

      Through the hot, black breath of the burnin’ boat
        Jim Bludso’s voice was heard,
      And they all had trust in his cussedness,
        And knowed he would keep his word. 
      And sure’s you’re born, they all got off
        Afore the smokestacks fell,—­
      And Bludso’s ghost went up alone
        In the smoke of the Prairie Belle.

      He weren’t no saint—­but at jedgment
        I’d run my chance with Jim,
      ’Longside of some pious gentlemen
        That wouldn’t shook hands with him. 
      He’d seen his duty, a dead-sure thing—­
        And went for it thar and then;
      And Christ ain’t a going to fee too hard
        On a man that died for men.

FREEDOM.

BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.

          Men! whose boast it is that ye
          Come of fathers brave and free,
          If there breathe on earth a slave,
          Are ye truly free and brave? 
          If ye do not feel the chain,
          When it works a brother’s pain,
          Are ye not base slaves indeed,—­
          Slaves unworthy to be freed?

          Women! who shall one day bear
          Sons to breathe New England air,
          If ye hear, without a blush,
          Deeds to make the roused blood rush
          Like red lava through your veins,
          For your sisters now in chains,—­
          Answer! are ye fit to be
          Mothers of the brave and free?

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Successful Recitations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.