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Poem by Sidney Lanier


Jones’s Porvate Argyment


That air same Jones, which lived in Jones,
He had this pint about him:
He’d swear with a hundred sighs and groans,
That farmers MUST stop gittin’ loans,
And git along without ’em:

That bankers, warehousemen, and sich
Was fatt’nin’ on the planter,
And Tennessy was rotten-rich
A-raisin’ meat and corn, all which
Draw’d money to Atlanta:

And the only thing (says Jones) to do
Is, eat no meat that’s boughten:
`But tear up every I, O, U,
And plant all corn and swear for true
To quit a-raisin’ cotton!’

Thus spouted Jones (whar folks could hear,
-- At Court and other gatherin’s),
And thus kep’ spoutin’ many a year,
Proclaimin’ loudly far and near
Sich fiddlesticks and blatherin’s.

But, one all-fired sweatin’ day,
It happened I was hoein’
My lower corn-field, which it lay
’Longside the road that runs my way
Whar I can see what’s goin’.

And a’ter twelve o’clock had come
I felt a kinder faggin’,
And laid myself un’neath a plum
To let my dinner settle sum,
When ’long come Jones’s waggin,

And Jones was settin’ in it, SO:
A-readin’ of a paper.
His mules was goin’ powerful slow,
Fur he had tied the lines onto
The staple of the scraper.

The mules they stopped about a rod
From me, and went to feedin’
’Longside the road, upon the sod,
But Jones (which he had tuck a tod)
Not knowin’, kept a-readin’.

And presently says he: ”Hit’s true;
That Clisby’s head is level.
Thar’s one thing farmers all must do,
To keep themselves from goin’ tew
Bankruptcy and the devil!

”More corn! more corn! MUST plant less ground,
And MUSTN’T eat what’s boughten!
Next year they’ll do it: reasonin’s sound:
(And, cotton will fetch ’bout a dollar a pound),
THARFORE, I’LL plant ALL cotton!”



Sidney Lanier


Sidney Lanier's other poems:
  1. On Huntingdon’s "Miranda"
  2. Nirvana
  3. Marsh Hymns
  4. On Violet’s Wafers, Sent Me When I Was Ill
  5. Our Hills


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