James Russell Lowell

(22 February 1819 – 12 August 1891 / Cambridge, Massachusetts)

A Fable


Two fellers, Isrel named and Joe,
One Sundy mornin' 'greed to go
Agunnin' soon 'z the bells wuz done
And meetin' finally begun,
So'st no one wouldn't be about
Ther Sabbath-breakin' to spy out.

Joe didn't want to go a mite;
He felt ez though 'twarn't skeercely right,
But, when his doubts he went to speak on,
Isrel he up and called him Deacon,
An' kep' apokin' fun like sin
An' then arubbin' on it in,
Till Joe, less skeered o' doin' wrong
Than bein' laughed at, went along.

Past noontime they went trampin' round
An' nary thing to pop at found,
Till, fairly tired o' their spree,
They leaned their guns agin a tree,
An' jest ez they wuz settin' down
To take their noonin', Joe looked roun'
And see (acrost lots in a pond
That warn't mor'n twenty rod beyond)
A goose that on the water sot
Ez ef awaitin' to be shot.

Isrel he ups and grabs his gun;
Sez he, 'By ginger, here's some fun!'
'Don't fire,' sez Joe, 'it ain't no use,
Thet's Deacon Peleg's tame wil'-goose:'
Sez Isrel, 'I don't care a cent.
I've sighted an' I'll let her went;'
_Bang!_ went queen's-arm, ole gander flopped
His wings a spell, an' quorked, an' dropped.

Sez Joe, 'I wouldn't ha' been hired
At that poor critter to ha' fired,
But since it's clean gin up the ghost,
We'll hev the tallest kind o' roast;
I guess our waistbands'll be tight
'Fore it comes ten o'clock ternight.'

'I won't agree to no such bender,'
Sez Isrel; 'keep it tell it's tender;
'Tain't wuth a snap afore it's ripe.'
Sez Joe, 'I'd jest ez lives eat tripe;
You _air_ a buster ter suppose
I'd eat what makes me hol' my nose!'

So they disputed to an' fro
Till cunnin' Isrel sez to Joe,
'Don't le's stay here an' play the fool,
Le's wait till both on us git cool,
Jest for a day or two le's hide it,
An' then toss up an' so decide it.'
'Agreed!' sez Joe, an' so they did,
An' the ole goose wuz safely hid.

Now 'twuz the hottest kind o' weather,
An' when at last they come together,
It didn't signify which won,
Fer all the mischief hed been done:
The goose wuz there, but, fer his soul,
Joe wouldn't ha' tetched it with a pole;
But Isrel kind o' liked the smell on 't
An' made _his_ dinner very well on 't.

Submitted: Thursday, May 10, 2012

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