Francis Bret Harte

(25 August 1836 - 6 May 1902 / Albany, New York)

Dow's Flat - Poem by Francis Bret Harte

Dow's Flat. That's its name;
And I reckon that you
Are a stranger? The same?
Well, I thought it was true,--
For thar isn't a man on the river as can't spot the place at first
view.

It was called after Dow,--
Which the same was an ass,--
And as to the how
Thet the thing kem to pass,--
Jest tie up your hoss to that buckeye, and sit ye down here in the
grass.

You see this 'yer Dow
Hed the worst kind of luck;
He slipped up somehow
On each thing thet he struck.
Why, ef he'd a straddled thet fence-rail, the derned thing'd get up
and buck.

He mined on the bar
Till he couldn't pay rates;
He was smashed by a car
When he tunneled with Bates;
And right on the top of his trouble kem his wife and five kids from
the States.

It was rough,--mighty rough;
But the boys they stood by,
And they brought him the stuff
For a house, on the sly;
And the old woman,--well, she did washing, and took on when no one
was nigh.

But this 'yer luck of Dow's
Was so powerful mean
That the spring near his house
Dried right up on the green;
And he sunk forty feet down for water, but nary a drop to be seen.

Then the bar petered out,
And the boys wouldn't stay;
And the chills got about,
And his wife fell away;
But Dow in his well kept a peggin' in his usual ridikilous way.

One day,--it was June,
And a year ago, jest--
This Dow kem at noon
To his work like the rest,
With a shovel and pick on his shoulder, and derringer hid in his
breast.

He goes to the well,
And he stands on the brink,
And stops for a spell
Jest to listen and think:
For the sun in his eyes (jest like this, sir!), you see, kinder made
the cuss blink.

His two ragged gals
In the gulch were at play,
And a gownd that was Sal's
Kinder flapped on a bay:
Not much for a man to be leavin', but his all,--as I've heer'd the
folks say.

And--That's a peart hoss
Thet you've got,--ain't it now?
What might be her cost?
Eh? Oh!--Well, then, Dow--
Let's see,--well, that forty-foot grave wasn't his, sir, that day,
anyhow.

For a blow of his pick
Sorter caved in the side,
And he looked and turned sick,
Then he trembled and cried.
For you see the dern cuss had struck--'Water?'--Beg your parding,
young man,--there you lied!

It was GOLD,--in the quartz,
And it ran all alike;
And I reckon five oughts
Was the worth of that strike;
And that house with the coopilow's his'n,--which the same isn't bad
for a Pike.

Thet's why it's Dow's Flat;
And the thing of it is
That he kinder got that
Through sheer contrairiness:
For 'twas WATER the derned cuss was seekin', and his luck made him
certain to miss.

Thet's so! Thar's your way,
To the left of yon tree;
But--a--look h'yur, say?
Won't you come up to tea?
No? Well, then the next time you're passin'; and ask after Dow,--
and thet's ME.


Comments about Dow's Flat by Francis Bret Harte

There is no comment submitted by members..



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]