James Whitcomb Riley

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

To The Judge


_A Voice From the Interior of Old Hoop-Pole Township_


Friend of my earliest youth,
Can't you arrange to come down
And visit a fellow out here in the woods--
Out of the dust of the town?
Can't you forget you're a Judge
And put by your dolorous frown
And tan your wan face in the smile of a friend--
Can't you arrange to come down?

Can't you forget for a while
The arguments prosy and drear,--
To lean at full-length in indefinite rest
In the lap of the greenery here?
Can't you kick over 'the Bench,'
And 'husk' yourself out of your gown
To dangle your legs where the fishing is good--
Can't you arrange to come down?

Bah! for your office of State!
And bah! for its technical lore!
What does our President, high in his chair,
But wish himself low as before!
Pick between peasant and king,--
Poke your bald head through a crown
Or shadow it here with the laurels of Spring!--
Can't you arrange to come down?

'Judge it' out _here_, if you will,--
The birds are in session by dawn;
You can draw, not _complaints_, but a sketch of the hill
And a breath that your betters have drawn;
You can open your heart, like a case,
To a jury of kine, white and brown,
And their verdict of 'Moo' will just satisfy you!--
Can't you arrange to come down?

Can't you arrange it, old Pard?--
Pigeonhole Blackstone and Kent!--
Here we have 'Breitmann,' and Ward,
Twain, Burdette, Nye, and content!
Can't you forget you're a Judge
And put by your dolorous frown
And tan your wan face in the smile of a friend--
Can't you arrange to come down?

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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