Robert Kirkland Kernighan

(25 April 1854 – 3 November 1926 / Ontario)

Table Manners - Poem by Robert Kirkland Kernighan

Set an eat what 's set afore ye :

Do 'nt be so blamed partickler,
Er else I 'll take a gad and score ye,

My sad-eyed perpendickler.

Yer mother's in an awful rush :
She 's scarcely time for breathin' ;

Thet 's why the pore thing burned the mush-
Ye know the young one's teethin.

Ye oughter think of yer mother,

And what a slave she is ;
Ye know yer granny, he 's got another

Touch uv the rheumatiz.

Yer granpop 's goin round an gruntin ;

Ye see he 's kinder vexed :
All day the old man 's bin a huntin,

Ter try and find a text

To go to prove that he 's elected,

Among the shinin host
It was n't quite what he expected,

An now ive get the roast.

An ther ye set and curl yer nose up,

Becuz yer mush is burned ;
My hollyhock ! ye 'll turn yer toes up

Afore that mush is earned.

Now, what 's the matter with the mush ?

I can 't desearn no smell.
Look here ! I think ye 'd better hush,

My prong-horned young gazelle.

Altho' a blue beech is a softener,

I hardly like to waste ye ;
Look here ! ye 'll read yer bible offener,

Er, b' jingoes, I 'll lambaste ye.

Ye 'll read it offen, er I 'm mistaken :

Ye 'll learn it with a rush ;
'T will sarve ye better 'n belly-achin

About a plate uv mush !

Mebbees ye 'll likely hev a qualm,

A readin here o' nights ;
A larnin wholesome lessons from

Them upstart Israelites.

It wuz jest perfectly reediclous

The way they kerried on ;
An how they raised the old Nicholas,

Wuz too dern bad, I swan !

Fer forty yeer they wur apokin

Around in thet wilderness ;
Allus kickin, an allus provokin

The Boss of the biziness.

Ef they got too much uv a good thing,
They 'd stand around an gag ;

An if, a little too much uv a rude thing
Allus chewin the rag.

The Lord himself did go an dig

A path fer them to go,
The Red sea's purty nigh es big

Es Lake Ontario

An every Hebrew went across

An stood on friendly ground ;
But, lo ! thet old bull-headed boss,

King Pharoah, he got drowned.

An on thet great an joyful day,

Escaped from Pharoah's clutch,
Do n't fer a minute think thet they

Wuz grateful : no not much !

No sirree ! sir : they was n't humbled :

In fac they got so fresh,
Them Sheenies put on airs an grumbled

Fer Egypt's pots of flesh !

What them there flesh pots wuz, I 'm puzzled,

Thet made their spirits droop ;
Mebbe head-cheese it wuz they guzzled :

Mebbe a kind uv soup.

Anyways they kicked and squealed ;

But Patience never fails :
That very night the neighborin field

Wus covered thick with quails.

Was Solomon Levi pleased with that?

I say it with a sigh :
The big barbarian put on his hat,

And howled for custard pie !

And they euchred their old-time bosses
Of jewels, an give them the laugh :

Instid uv mendin their losses,
They turned them into a calf.

And yet whenever hungry or sad,
They got their quails or manna

Hed I bin boss they 'd a got the gad,

An that 's what 's the matter with Hannah t

No matter how well they were treated,

They were sure to be at it again ;
An many 's the time poor Moses repeated,
' Them Sheenies give me a pain !'

These Hebrews they did n't do as they ought,
An most of um sickened and died,

To teach the rest to take what they got,
An allus be satisfied.

So, my gentle gazelle, take my advice :

Yid better jes hole yer hush ;
To sulk at yer feed it is n't nice,

Set up an eat yer mush !

Goin to Sodom and Gomorrah,

Three angels cool an calm ;
To rest them on their road to sorrow

They called on Abraham.

Did Sairy send them round the farm,

To see the crops, fer a fake
To give her a chance her pies to warm,

Er build up a big sponge cake?

Not much ! Old Abraham stewed a kid,

And Sairy she cooked some scones ;
The pot it hed the sky fer a lid

Her stove was a circle uv stones.

I scursly think thet Sairy was Scotch ;

But she knowed how to cook a scone,
An the kid made the rarest of good hotch-potch,

Jes fit fur a king on his throne.

Abram wanted his guests to say grace

On the old time courteous plan ;
They each said ' You !' with a smile on his face,

For each was a gentleman.

Then Abram blushed and his head let fall,

And he asked, in trembling tones.
The richest blessing upon them all

On the kid, and on Sairy's scones.

Did the angels ask for a knife an fork,

Er hint at a napkin clean?
Er a finger bowl ere they went to work

Like ignorant upstarts, green?

Did they ask for towels to kiver ther knee,

Till Sairy was ready to scream?
Did they want hot water instead uv tea,

And sneer at the so-called cream ?

Not much ! they sot an et by the book,
An they whispered, under their breath,

They 'd never et after a better cook
That tickled pore Sairy to death.

Each one over his dinner lingers,
And holds his meat in his palm ;

An each one carefully licks his fingers,
The same es old Abraham.

Boor or angel s' help me Bob !

The differ with ease you scan :
The one is an ignorant, upstart snob

The other a gentleman.

An when they departed Sairy wus sad :

She watched them afar and then,
' I 'm agittin old but it makes me glad
To trouble for gentlemen.'

Set up an eat whut 's set afore ye ;

Do n't be so blame pertickler,
Er else I 'll take a gad an score ye,

My sad-eyed perpendikler !

Look here ! ye 'll read yer bible offener,
Er, b' jingoes, I 'll lambaste ye ;

Altho' a blue beech is a softener,
I hardly like to waste ye.

Ye 'll read it offen, er I 'm mistaken

Ye 'll larn it with a rush :
'T will sarve ye betterin belly-achin

About a plate of mush !

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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2012

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