Archive for October, 2012

The Useful Plow

October 24, 2012

THE USEFUL PLOW

A country life is sweet!
In moderate cold and heat,
To walk in the air how pleasant and fair!
In every field of wheat,
The fairest of flowers adorning the bowers,
And every meadow’s brow;
So that I say, to courtier may
Compare with them who clothe in gray
And follow the useful plow.

They rise with the morning lark,
And labor till almost dark,
Then, folding their sheep, they hasten to sleep
While every pleasant park
Next morning is ringing with birds that are singing
On each green tender bough.
With what content and merriment,
Their days are spent, whose minds are bent
To follow the useful plow.

— Unknown.

Corpus Christi Times (Corpus Crispi, Texas) Nov 17, 1930

When the Frost is on the Punkin

October 18, 2012

Image from D&E Grey Wolf Photography on flickr

WHEN THE FROST IS ON THE PUNKIN.

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyonck and the gobble of the struttin’ turkey cock,
And the clackin’; of the guineys and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O it’s then’s the time a feller is a feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of graceous rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock

They’s somepin kind o’ hearty-like about the atmosphere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here —
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’ birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’, and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a picture that no painter has the colorin’ to mock —
When the frost is on the punkin and fodder’s in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries — kind o’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermons to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below — the clover overhead! —
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

— Benjamin F. Johnson

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Aug 12, 1882

Image from JamesWhitcombRiley.com

About the poem and its author, also from the James Whitcomb Riley website:

HOW RILEY’S POEM “WHEN THE FROST IS ON THE PUNKIN'” ONCE SAVED HIM HIS JOB

There is an interesting incident about how Riley’s job was once saved because he had written “When the Frost Is On the Punkin, and the Fodder’s In the Shock.”  It is in a book written by Riley’s friend John A. Howland entitled, “James Whitcomb Riley: Prose and Pictures.”

Riley, as a young Greenfield man, had had a hard time finding a niche in the world since he did not care to follow his father in the practice of law.  He sold Bibles, painted signs, entertained in a medicine show, always coming to a dead end.  His mother died in 1870 and he felt he could not bear to stay in Greenfield so he went here and there seeking newspaper employment.  He ran into E.B. Martindale of “The Indianapolis Journal” whom he later called, “my first literary patron,” who added him to the staff of the paper to write poetry.  Some of these poems appeared on the first page of the Journal under the nom de plume “Benjamin F. Johnson of Boone,” supposedly an old farmer.  As they were well received, Riley emerged from under his disguise, writing poems such as “When the Frost is on the Punkin.”

In a short while after Riley joined the paper, a gentleman named Halford was appointed manager of the Journal.  One of his first ideas was to cut down on expenses of the paper, and he was considering Riley as his first victim to get the ax.  It so happened that a political convention was held in Indianapolis at this very time.  One of the candidates nominated for office was a big burly fellow who had never made a speech in his life

When he got up to accept his nomination, his mind went blank and he could not utter a word.  The pounding and cheering went on until in desperation he blurted out, “The ticket you have nominated here is going to win “when the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.”  This Riley poem had just been published a few days before. in the newspaper.

The applause that greeted these words showed that most of these prominent men had read Riley’s work and approved of it.  Halford kept him on, and he became an established poet.

Riley saved his job by a landscape!

Oil on the Brain

October 17, 2012

Image from The Journal of American History

OIL ON THE BRAIN.
A COMIC BALLAD.

BY EASTBURN.

The Yankees that they make clocks
Which “just beat all creation.”
They never made one could keep time
With our great speculation.
Our stocks, like clocks, go with a spring:
wind up, run down again;
But all our strikes are sure to cause
Oil on the brain.

CHORUS:

Stocks par, stocks up,
then on the wane,
Everybody’s troubled with
Oil on the brain.

There’s various kinds of oil afloat: cod-liver,
Castor, sweet–
Which tend to make a sick man well, and set
him on his feet;
But ours a curious feat performs — We just a
well obtain,
And set the people crazy with
Oil on the brain.

CHORUS

There’s neighbor Smith, a poor young man,
Who could not raise a dime,
Had clothes that boasted many rents,
And took his “Nip” on time;
But now he’s clad in dandy style,
Sports diamonds, kids, and cane;
And his success was owing to
Oil on the brain.

CHORUS

Miss Simple drives her coach and four,
And dresses in high style;
And Mr. Shoddy courts her strong,
Because her “Dad’s struck ile.”
Her jewels, laces, velvets, silks,
Of which she is so vain,
Were bought by “Dad” the time he had
Oil on the brain.

CHORUS

You meet a friend upon the street.
He greets you with a smile,
And tells you, in a hummed way,
He’s “just gone into ile.”
He button-holds you half an hour —
Of course, you can’t complain —
For, you can see the fellow has
Oil on the brain.

CHORUS

The lawyers, doctors, hatters, clerks,
Industrious and lazy,
Have put their money all in stocks,
In fact, have gone “oil crazy,”
They’d better stick to briefs and pills,
Hot irons, ink and pen,
Or they will “kick the bucket” from
Oil on the brain.

CHORUS

Poor Mrs. Jones was taken ill.
The doctors gave her up.
They lost the confidence they had
In lancet, leech, and cup.
“Afflictions sore long time she bore,
Physicians were in vain;”
And she, at last, expired of
Oil on the brain.

CHORUS

There’s “Maple Shade,” “Monitor,”
“Bull Creek,” “Big Tank,” “Dalzell,”
And “Keystone,” “Star,” “Venango,”
“Briggs,”
“Organic” and “Farewell,”
“Petroleum,” “Saint Nicholas,”
“Cornplanter,” “New Creek Vein;”
Sure ’tis no wonder many have
Oil on the brain.

CHORUS
Stocks par, stocks up,
then on the wane,
Everybody’s troubled with
Oil on the brain.

Then Venango Spectator (Franklin, Pennsylvania) Mar 1, 1865

Sheet music can be found at Jscholarship

Tune and Lyrics (scroll down) at American Civil War Music

The Little Brown Jug – [excerpts]

….It is generally used to-day as a college drinking song. A peculiar use when it is considered that its author, “Eastburn,” which was the nom de plume signed to most of his music by Joseph Eastburn Winner, was a strictly temperate man and an advocate of temperance, rather than an encourage of the “little brown jug.”

…..Whenever he outlined a song, before he put on the finishing touches, he would call in a little bootblack from the street, and used him as a sort of audience and musical critic combined. He knew most of the boys who in those days plied their trade in and about the old Reading Terminal, of Philadelphia, at Ninth and Green streets. Mr. Winner would seat himself at the piano, first telling the “audience and critic” that he wanted to play for him a new piece he had composed. He would begin and play it through, not once, but a dozen times, watching the effect on the “audience,” and if it moved its feet, or seemed to have any special effect, or if the “shine” would go out whistling it after the recital, Mr. Winner put it down a winner, and he says the test never failed him.

….Mr. Winner does not claim absolute originality in the writing of “The Little Brown Jug,”….. Mr. Winner jotted down the poem, entirely rearranged it into verse and chorus, added several verses, and sat down at the piano and wrote the melody….

…..Mr. Joseph Eastburn Winner is still living in West Philadelphia enjoying the best of health. His life has been a most active one, and he is now enjoying the ease of a man who has accomplished much and is willing to spend his remaining years in the pleasant memories of the past. He is a brother of Septimus Winner, the composer of “The Mocking Bird,” and many other songs. When “Eastburn” was only twelve years old he was able to play the violin so well that he was frequently heard in concert in Philadelphia as a prodigy. At this time he made his home with his older brother Sep., at Franklin and Callowhill streets.

One of the first songs Winner composed and published was “The Ring My Mother Wore.” It became immensely popular. The words had been written by Lewis Dela, who was known in Philadelphia as “The Bard of Tower Hall.” A short time after this came the oil excitement, and Mr. Winner wrote one of his best comic songs, which was called, “Oil on the Brain,” and which was sung in all parts of the country. It was first sung by Mr. Dixie, of Carncross & Dixie’s, and was frequently hear on the stage at the Old Arch Street Theater, then conducted by Mrs. John Drew.

…..He was only in his teens when he wrote “The Ring My Mother Wore,” and for its composition he received then bright silver dollars, which to him in those days seemed a small fortune. For many of his songs later in life he received large sums…..

After conducting the store at Eighth and Green streets for a number of years, he sold it to his brother, Septimus Winner, and went into the publishing business with J.M. Stoddart, at 1018 Chestnut street. They published extensively the Encylopaedia Britannica, and bought out all the Gilbert & Sullivan operas, as well as a great deal of music of various classes….

…..Mr. Winner has been married twice. His children of his first wife are living in Philadelphia, and with his second wife he has one son, a bright boy of seven, who bears the name of Hawthorne Winner, Hawthorne being Mr. Winner’s mother’s name, and out of respect for her Mr. Septimus Winner used the pen name of “Alice Hawthorne” for “The Mocking Bird” and many other songs he composed….

The Washington Herald (Washington, D.C.)  Jun 19, 1910

The Bookseller and Newsman, v. 12 (google link)

Voice in Government

October 17, 2012

Business

Florence Morning News (Florence, South Carolina) Dec 1, 1952

Will Carleton – The World Rides on Without You

October 16, 2012

“When the hill of toil was steepest;
When the forest-frown was deepest,
Poor, but young, you hastened here;
Came where solid hope was cheapest—
Came—a pioneer.
Made the Western jungles view
Civilization’s charms;
Snatched a home for yours and you,
From the lean tree-arms.
Toil had never cause to doubt you—
Progress’ path you helped to clear;
But to-day forgets about you,
And the world rides on without you—
Sleep, old pioneer.

WILL CARLETON.

Title: Silhouettes from Life on the Prairie, in the Backwoods
Author: Anson Uriel Hancock
Publisher: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1893

(Google Book Link)

Image of the Poor House and poem from Hillsdale County Community Center

OVER THE HILL TO THE POOR HOUSE

By Will Carleton

Over the hill to the poor-house I’m trudgin’ my weary way—
I, a woman of seventy, and only a trifle gray—
I, who am smart an’ chipper, for all the years I’ve told,
As many another woman that’s only half as old.

Over the hill to the poor-house—I can’t quite make it clear!
Over the hill to the poor-house—it seems so horrid queer!
Many a step I’ve taken a-toilin’ to and fro,
But this is a sort of journey I never thought to go.

What is the use of heapin’ on me a pauper’s shame?
Am I lazy or crazy? Am I blind or lame?
True, I am not so supple, nor yet so awful stout:
But charity ain’t no favor, if one can live without.

I am willin’ and anxious an’ ready any day
To work for a decent livin’, an’ pay my honest way;
For I can earn my victuals, an’ more too, I’ll be bound,
If any body only is willin’ to have me round.

Once I was young an’ han’some—I was, upon my soul—
Once my cheeks was roses, my eyes as black as coal;
An I can’t remember, in them days, of hearin’ people say,
For any kind of reason, that I was in their way.

‘Tain’t no use of boastin’, or talkin’ over free,
But many a house an’ home was open then to me
Many a han’some offer I had from likely men,
And nobody ever hinted that I was a burden then.

An when to John I was married, sure he was good and smart,
But he and all the neighbors would own I done my part;
For life was all before me, an’ I was young an’ strong,
And I worked the best that I could in tryin’ to get along.

An so we worked together; and life was hard, but gay,
With now and then a baby for to cheer us on our way;
Till we had half a dozen, an’ all growed clean an’ neat,
An’ went to school like other, an’ had enough to eat.

So we worked for the child’rn, and raised ‘em every one;
Worked for ‘em summer and winter, just as we ought to ’ve done;
Only perhaps we humored ‘em, which some good folks condemn.
But every couple’s child’rn’s a heap the best to them.

Strange how much we think of our blessed little ones!—
I’d have died for my daughters, I’d have died for my sons;
And God he made that rule of love; but when we’re old and gray,
I’ve noticed it sometimes somehow fails to work the other way.

Strange, another thing: when our boys an’ girls was grown,
An when, exceptin’ Charley, they’d left us there alone;
When John he nearer an’ nearer come, an’ dearer seemed to be,
The Lord of Hosts he come one day an’ took him away from me.

Still I was bound to struggle, an’ never to cringe or fall—
Still I worked for Charley, for Charley was now my all;
And Charley was pretty good to me, with scarce a word or frown,
Till at last he went a-courtin’, and brought a wife from town.

She was somewhat dressy, an’ hadn’t a pleasant smile—
She was quite conceity, and carried a heap o’ style;
But if ever I tried to be friends, I did with her, I know;
But she was hard and proud, an’ I couldn’t make it go.

She had an edication, an’ that was good for her;
But when she twitted me on mine, ‘twas carryin’ things too fur;
An’ IL told her once, ‘fore company (an’it almost made her sick),
That I never swallowed a grammar,or ‘et ‘rithmetic.

So ‘twas only a few days before the thing was done—
They was a family of themselves, and I another one;
And a very little cottage one family will do,
But I never have seen a house that was big enough for two.

An’ I never could speak to suit her, never could please her eye,
An’ it made me independent, and then I didn’t try;
But I was terribly staggered, an’ felt it like a blow,
When Charley turned ag’in me, an’ told me I could go.

I went to live with Susan, but Susan’s house was small,
And she was always a-hintin’ how snug it was for us all;
And what with her husband’s sister, and what with child’rn three,
‘Twas easy to discover that there wasn’t room for me.

An’ then I went to Thomas, the oldest son I’ve got,
For Thomas’s buildings’d cover the half of an acre lot;
But all the child’rn was on me—I couldn’t stand their sauce—
And Thomas said I needn’t think I was comin’ there to boss.

An’ then I wrote to Rebecca, my girl who lives out West,
And to Isaac, not far from her—some twenty miles at best;
And one of’em said’twas too warm there for any one so old,
And t’other had an opinion the climate was too cold.

So they have shirked and slighted me,an’ shifted me about-
So they have well-nigh soured me,an’ wore my old heart out;
But still I’ve borne up pretty well, an’ wasn’t much put down,
Till Charley went to the poor-master, an’ put me on the town.

Over the hill to the poor-house–my chil’rn dear, good-by!
Many a night I’ve watched you when only God was nigh;
And God ‘ll judge between us; but I will al’ays pray
That you shall never suffer the half I do to-day.

In Some Forgotten Life, Long Time Gone By

October 11, 2012

Image from The Pathology Guy – Enjoying “The Lady of Shalott”

AN OLD TUNE

(After Gerard de Nerval)

Andrew Lang* (1844-1912)

There is an air for which I would disown
Mozart’s, Rossini’s, Weber’s melodies —
A sweet sad air that languishes and sighs,
And keeps its secret charm for me alone.

Whene’er I hear that music vague and old,
Two hundred years are mist that rolls away;
The thirteenth Louis reigns, and I behold
A green land golden in the dying day.

An old red castle, strong with stony towers,
And windows gay with many-colored glass;
Wide plains, and rivers flowing among flowers,
That bathe the castle basement as they pass.

In antique weed, with dark eyes and gold hair,
A lady looks forth from her window high;
It may be that I knew and found her fair,
In some forgotten life, long time gone by.

Mason City Globe Gazette (Mason, City, Iowa) Nov 27, 1929

Newspaper listed author as Andrew LONG, rather than LANG, his correct surname.

Wag the Dog?

October 11, 2012

Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana) May 21, 1952

Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana) Sep 16, 1955

But the present regime, wholly unaware of reality in the outer world, seems to feel the tail can forever wag the dog.

Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana) Jan 16, 1968

Sometimes I Wonder…

October 10, 2012

Foreign Aid for our Foreign “Friends”?

The Valley Independent (Monessen, Pennsylvania) Dec 23, 1965

After Four Years….Think Twice, Brother

October 10, 2012

Voter – Depression Grouch

Morning Herald (Uniontown, Pennsylvania) Oct 5, 1932

Fruit

October 9, 2012

FRUIT

The wide hills are leaning
With their arms full of fruit;
The valleys lift up their trees —
Scarlet cherries,
Purple plums,
Little green pears.
Touched with russet
There are bushes
Where the berries hang
Rich and ripe,
Bursting with the sweetness
Of their juice .  .  .  .  .
It is a good time of year —
This space between the golden harvest
Of the autumn
And the first of summer —
I shall gather cherries and plums
And stain my fingers
With berries.
And my tongue shall know
The wild, sweet taste
Of many fruits  .   .   .
I shall go under a wide blue sky,
Under a golden sun,
Tasting here and there,
An epicure,
At an endless banquet.

— Abigail Cresson.

The Bee (Danville, Virginia) Aug 7, 1922