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James Whitcomb Riley

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

Marthy Ellen


They's nothin' in the name to strike
A feller more'n common like!
'Taint liable to git no praise
Ner nothin' like it nowadays;
An' yit that name o' her'n is jest
As purty as the purtiest--
And more 'n that, I'm here to say
I'll live a-thinkin' thataway
And die far Marthy Ellen!

It may be I was prejudust
In favor of it from the fust--
'Cause I kin ricollect jest how
We met, and hear her mother now
A-callin' of her down the road--
And, aggervatin' little toad!--
I see her now, jes' sort o' half-
Way disapp'inted, turn and laugh
And mock her--'Marthy Ellen!'

Our people never had no fuss,
And yit they never tuck to us;
We neighbered back and foreds some;
Until they see she liked to come
To our house--and me and her
Were jest together ever'whur
And all the time--and when they'd see
That I liked her and she liked me,
They'd holler 'Marthy Ellen!'

When we growed up, and they shet down
On me and her a-runnin' roun'
Together, and her father said
He'd never leave her nary red,
So he'p him, ef she married me,
And so on--and her mother she
Jest agged the gyrl, and said she 'lowed
She'd ruther see her in her shroud,
I _writ_ to Marthy Ellen--

That is, I kindo' tuck my pen
In hand, and stated whur and when
The undersigned would be that night,
With two good hosses saddled right
Far lively travelin' in case
Her folks 'ud like to jine the race.
She sent the same note back, and writ
'The rose is red!' right under it--
'Your 'n allus, Marthy Ellen.'

That's all, I reckon--Nothin' more
To tell but what you've heerd afore--
The same old story, sweeter though
Far all the trouble, don't you know.
Old-fashioned name! and yit it's jest
As purty as the purtiest;
And more 'n that, I'm here to say
I'll live a-thinking thataway,
And die far Marthy Ellen!

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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