James Whitcomb Riley

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

Old Man's Nursery Rhyme


I.

In the jolly winters
Of the long-ago,
It was not so cold as now--
O! No! No!
Then, as I remember,
Snowballs, to eat,
Were as good as apples now,
And every bit as sweet!

II.

In the jolly winters
Of the dead-and-gone,
Bub was warm as summer,
With his red mitts on,--
Just in his little waist-
And-pants all together,
Who ever heard him growl
About cold weather?

III.

In the jolly winters of the long-ago--
Was it _half_ so cold as now?
O! No! No!
Who caught his death o' cold,
Making prints of men
Flat-backed in snow that now's
Twice as cold again?

IV.

In the jolly winters
Of the dead-and-gone,
Startin' out rabbit-hunting
Early as the dawn,--
Who ever froze his fingers,
Ears, heels, or toes,--
Or'd a cared if he had?
Nobody knows!

V.

Nights by the kitchen-stove,
Shelling white and red
Corn in the skillet, and
Sleepin' four abed!
Ah! the jolly winters
Of the long-ago!
We were not so old as now--
O! No! No!

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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