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'n' the way t fix it, uz I maintain,
Is only jest
T'make that place uz strong uz the rest.”
So the Deacon inquired of the village folk
Where he could find the strongest oak,
That couldn't be split nor bent nor broke, –
That was for spokes and floor and sills;
He sent for lancewood to make the thills;
The crossbars were ash, from the straightest trees;
The panels of white-wood, that cuts like cheese,
But lasts like iron for things like these;
The hubs of logs from the "settler's ellum,” –
Last of its timber, — they couldn't sell 'em,
Never an ax had seen their chips,
And the wedges flew from between their lips,
Their blunt ends frizzled like celery-tips;
Step and prop-iron, bolt and screw,
Spring, tire, axle, and linchpin too,
Steel of the finest, bright and blue;
Thoroughbrace bison-skin, thick and wide;
Boot, top, dasher, from tough old hide,
Found in the pit when the tanner died.
That was the way he “put her through.”
“ There!” said the Deacon, “naow she'll dew."
Do! I tell you, I rather guess
She was a wonder, and nothing less !
Colts grew horses, beards turned gray,
Deacon and deaconess dropped away,
Children and grandchildren — where were they?
But there stood the stout old one-hoss shay
As fresh as on Lisbon-earthquake-day !
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED; — it came and found
The Deacon's masterpiece strong and sound.
Eighteen hundred increased by ten ;-
“Hahnsum kerridge” they called it then.
Eighteen hundred and twenty came;
Running as usual ; much the same.
Thirty and forty at last arrive,
And then came fifty, and FIFTY-FIVE.
Little of all we value here
Wakes on the morn of its hundredth year
Without both feeling and looking queer.
In fact, there's nothing that keeps its youth,
So far as I know, but a tree and truth.?
(This is a moral that runs at large;
Take it. - You're welcome. - No extra charge.)
First of NOVEMBER, — the Earthquake-day. —
There are traces of age in the one-hoss shay,
A general flavor of mild decay,
But nothing local, as one may say.
There couldn't be — for the Deacon's art
Had made it so like in every part
That there wasn't a chance for one to start.
masterpiece, literally, a piece observe this impressive maxim done by a master; any thing made ("moral"). with superior skill.
For the wheels were just as strong as the thills,
And the floor was just as strong as the sills,
And the panels just as strong as the floor,
And the whippletree neither less nor more,
And the back-crossbar as strong as the fore,
And spring and axle and hub encore.
And yet, as a whole, it is past a doubt
In another hour it will be worn out!
First of November, 'Fifty-five!
This morning the parson takes a drive 2
Now, small boys, get out of the way!
Here comes the wonderful one-hoss shay,
Drawn by a rat-tailed, ewe-necked bay.
“ Huddup!” said the parson. — Off went they.
The parson was working his Sunday's text,
Had got to fifthly, and stopped perplexed
At what the — Moses — was coming next.
All at once the horse stood still.
Close by the meet'n'-house on the hill.
First a shiver, and then a thrill,
Then something decidedly like a spill,
And the parson was sitting upon a rock,
At half-past nine by the meet'n'-house clock.
Just the hour of the Earthquake shock!
What do you think the parson found,
When he got up and stared around?
The poor old chaise in a heap or mound,
As if it had been to the mill and ground.
encore, French for again; here equivalent to also.
2 takes a drive. Note the historical present. Give other examples.
You see, of course, if you're not a dunce,
How it went to pieces all at once, —
All at once, and nothing first, -
Just as bubbles do when they burst.?
End of the wonderful one-hoss shay.
Logic is logic. That's all I say.
[The following pleasant reference to this poem is made by Whittier in an essay on Holmes's poetry: “That unique compound of humor and pathos, The Last Leaf, shows that Holmes possesses power, - the power of touching the deeper chords of the heart, and of calling forth tears as well as smiles.” Then, quoting the third and fourth stanzas, he asks, “Who does not feel the power of this simple picture of the old man?”]
I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o'er the ground
With his cane.
They say that in his prime,
Ere the pruning-knife of Time
Not a better man was found
By the crier 1 on his round
Through the town.
But now he walks the streets,
And he looks at all he meets
Sad and wan;
And he shakes his feeble head,
That it seems as if he said,
“They are gone."
The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has pressed
In their bloom;
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.?
My grandmamma has said –
Poor old lady, she is dead
Long ago —
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose 3
In the snow.
But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin