Hattie Howard

(1860-1920 / the United States)

Never Had A Chance


Fresh from piano, school, and books,
A happy girl with rosy looks
Young Plowman wooed and won; despite
Her pretty, pouting prejudice,
Her deep distaste for rural bliss
Or countryfied delight.

Romance through all her nature ran--
Indeed, to wed a husband-man
Suffused her ardent maiden thought;
But lofty fancy dwelt upon
A new 'Queen Anne,' a terraced lawn,
A city's corner lot.

Her lily fingers that so well
Could paint a scene--in aquarelle--
Or broider plush with leaves and vines,
No more of real labor knew
Than waxen petals of the dew
On native eglantines.

Anon, with lapse of tender ways
That emphasized the courting days,
The housewife in her apron blue,
As mistress of her new abode,
By frequent lachrymations showed
Her grief and blunders too.

The butter-making, bread and cheese,
The old folks difficult to please,
The harvest hands--voracious bears!--
The infantry, a parent's pride,
By duos proudly classified:
So multiplied her cares.

The treadmill round of duties that
Makes any life inane and flat,
Without diversion sandwiched in,
The drudgery, the overplus
Of toil and trouble arduous,
Were rugged discipline.

What time for books and music, when
The lambs were bleating in their pen,
The chickens peeping at the door;
The rodent gnawing at the churn,
The buckwheat wafers crisped to burn,
The kettle boiling o'er?

To _hers_, so far between and few,
What resting-spells the farmer knew!
What intervals for culture! and
When intellect assumed the race,
He peerless held the foremost place--
No nobler in the land.

By virtue of exalted rank
'The brilliant senator from----'
Adorns society's expanse;
While by his side with folded hands,
Her beauty gone, the woman stands
Who 'never had a chance.'

Submitted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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