Friday, October 09, 2009


Here's another regional New England poem from the early 20th century.
This is from "Pine Tree Ballads" by Holman Day:


When Mis' Augusty Nichols joined the Tufts
Minerva Club,
She polished up on manners and she then com-
menced to rub
At the hide of Mister Nichols who, while not
exactly rude,
Was hardly calculated for a howling sort of
Now when Augusty Nichols got to see how
style was run,
You bet she went for Nichols and she dressed
him down like fun;
And the thing in all his actions that she couldn't
bear to see
Was to have him fill his saucer and go whoof-
ling up his tea.

After more'n a month of stewing;—making
mis'able his life,
She taught him not to shovel all his vittles
with his knife.
And after more'n a volume of pretty spicy talk
She got him in the hang of eating pie with
just his fork.
She trained him so's he didn't slop the vittles
round his plate,
She plagued him till he wouldn't sit in shirt-
sleeves when he ate,
And then she tried her Waterloo, with faith in
high degree
That she could revolutionize his way of drink-
ing tea.

He drank it as his father always quaffed the
cheering cup,
He poured it in his saucer, raised the brimming
puddle up
And gathered in the liquid with a loud re-
sounding " Swoof "
That now at last inspired Mrs. Nichols' fierce
But here was where the victim—ah, here was
where the worm
Arose and fairly scared her by the vigor of his

—Sat down his steaming saucer and with a
dangerous light
A-gleaming in his visage, he upbore a Yan-
kee's right.
From the days of Boston's party up to now I
think you'll see
That a Yankee's independent when you bother
with his tea.

" Consarn your schoolmarm notions," thun-
dered Mrs. Nichols' spouse,
" You've kept a'dingin' at me till I'm meechin
round the house.
I've swallered that and t'other for I didn't like
to row
But ye ain't a-going to boss me in the thing
ye've tackled now.
I'm durned if I'll be scalded all the time I'm
being stung
So I'll cool my tea, Mis' Nichols, while ye jab
me with your tongue."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * *
There are rights ye cannot smother, tyrants,
whoso'er ye be,
And the good, New England Yankee 's mighty
touchy, sir, on tea.

Day, Holman Pine Tree Ballads : Rhymed Stories of Unplaned Human Natur'
Up In Maine (Boston, Ma., Small , Maynard & Co 1902) pp225-227

No comments: