James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

John Alden And Percilly - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

We got up a Christmas-doin's
Last Christmas Eve--
Kindo' dimonstration
'At I railly believe
Give more satisfaction--
Take it up and down--
Than ary intertainment
Ever come to town!

Railly was a _theater_--
That's what it was,--
But, bein' in the church, you know,
We had a '_Santy Clause_'--
So 's to git the _old folks_
To patternize, you see,
And _back_ the institootion up
Kindo' _morally_.

Schoolteacher writ the thing--
(Was a friend o' mine),
Got it out o' Longfeller's
Pome 'Evangeline'--
Er some'rs--'bout the _Purituns_--.
_Anyway_, the part
'_John Alden_' fell to _me_--
And learnt it all by heart!

Claircy was '_Percilly_'--
(Schoolteacher 'lowed
Me and her could act them two
Best of all the crowd)--
Then--blame ef he didn't
Git her Pap, i jing!--
To take the part o' '_Santy Clause_,'
To wind up the thing.

Law! the fun o' practisun!--
Was a week er two
Me and Claircy didn't have
Nothin' else to do!--
Kep' us jes a-meetin' round,
Kindo' here and there,
Ever' night rehearsin'-like,
And gaddin' ever'where!

Game was wo'th the candle, though!--
Christmas Eve at last
Rolled around.--And 'tendance jes
Couldn't been surpassed!--
Neighbors from the country
Come from Clay and Rush--
Yes, and 'crost the county-line
Clean from Puckerbrush!

Meetin'-house jes trimbled
As 'Old Santy' went
Round amongst the childern,
With their pepperment
And sassafrac and wintergreen
Candy, and 'a ball
O' popcorn,' the preacher 'nounced,
'Free fer each and all!'

Schoolteacher suddently
Whispered in my ear,--
'Guess I got you:--_Christmas-gift_!--
_Christmas is here_!'
I give _him_ a gold pen,
And case to hold the thing,--
And _Claircy_ whispered '_Christmas-gift_!'
And I give her a _ring_.

'And now,' says I, 'jes watch _me_--
Christmas-gift,' says I,
'_I'm_ a-goin' to git one--
'_Santy's_' comin' by!'--
Then I rech and grabbed him:
And, as you'll infer,
'Course I got the old man's,
And _he_ gimme _her_!


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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