Sidney Lanier ( )

Thars More in the Man Than Thar Is in the Land

I knowed a man, which he lived in Jones,
Which Jones is a county of red hills and stones,
And he lived pretty much by gittin of loans,
And his mules was nuthin but skin and bones,
And his hogs was flat as his corn-bread pones,
And he had bout a thousand acres o land.

This man -- which his name it was also Jones --
He swore that hed leave them old red hills and stones,
Fur he couldnt make nuthin but yallerish cotton,
And little o THAT, and his fences was rotten,
And what little corn he had, HIT was boughten
And dinged ef a livin was in the land.

And the longer he swore the madder he got,
And he riz and he walked to the stable lot,
And he hollered to Tom to come thar and hitch
Fur to emigrate somewhar whar land was rich,
And to quit raisin cock-burrs, thistles and sich,
And a wastin ther time on the cussed land.

So him and Tom they hitched up the mules,
Pertestin that folks was mighty big fools
That ud stay in Georgy ther lifetime out,
Jest scratchin a livin when all of em mought
Git places in Texas whar cotton would sprout
By the time you could plant it in the land.

And he driv by a house whar a man named Brown
Was a livin, not fur from the edge o town,
And he bantered Brown fur to buy his place,
And said that bein as money was skace,
And bein as sheriffs was hard to face,
Two dollars an acre would git the land.

They closed at a dollar and fifty cents,
And Jones he bought him a waggin and tents,
And loaded his corn, and his wimmin, and truck,
And moved to Texas, which it tuck
His entire pile, with the best of luck,
To git thar and git him a little land.

But Brown moved out on the old Jones farm,
And he rolled up his breeches and bared his arm,
And he picked all the rocks from offn the groun,
And he rooted it up and he plowed it down,
Then he sowed his corn and his wheat in the land.

Five years glid by, and Brown, one day
(Which hed got so fat that he wouldnt weigh),
Was a settin down, sorter lazily,
To the bulliest dinner you ever see,
When one o the children jumped on his knee
And says, Yans Jones, which you bought his land.

And thar was Jones, standin out at the fence,
And he hadnt no waggin, nor mules, nor tents,
Fur he had left Texas afoot and cum
To Georgy to see if he couldnt git sum
Employment, and he was a lookin as hum-
Ble as ef he had never owned any land.

But Brown he axed him in, and he sot
Him down to his vittles smokin hot,
And when he had filled hisself and the floor
Brown looked at him sharp and riz and swore
That, whether mens land was rich or poor
Thar was more in the MAN than thar was in the LAND.

Sidney Lanier's other poems:
  1. On Huntingdons "Miranda"
  2. Laus Mariae
  3. Resurrection
  4. My Springs
  5. A Birthday Song

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