Image from the National Archives
When I was but a wee, shy boy,
My mother’s pride, my father’s joy,
My hands and mouth had full employ
When blackberries were ripe.
And oft my mammy she would squeeze
The thorns from out my arms and knees,
And my good dad, to give me ease,
Laid by his favorite pipe.
And even since I’ve become a man,
And dressed on quite a different plan,
I’ve still gone carrying the can,
When blackberries grew sweet.
Yes, trampling through the bramble brakes,
I’d court the keenest pains and aches
For two or three fair colleens’ sakes —
Whose names I’ll not repeat —
Till Norah of the amber hair,
Who’d been my partner here and there,
Around, about and everywhere,
As blackberries came in —
When I just tried, with too much haste,
The richer, rarer fruit to taste
That on her lips was going to waste,
She tosses up her chin,
And marches by me night and morn,
Her gray eyes only glancing scorn,
Regardless of the rankling thorn
She’s rooted in my heart.
Yet maybe — though I much misdoubt —
Her eyes that flash, her lips that flout,
Will yet turn kind, and conjure out
That thorn of cruel smart.
— London Sketch.
Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) May 23, 1896