Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quip and Song

The Shoemaker
by James Whitcomb Riley


Thou Poet, who, like any lark,
Dost whet thy beak and trill
From misty morn till murky dark,
Nor ever pipe thy fill:
Hast thou not, in thy cheery note,
One poor chirp to confer--
One verseful twitter to devote
unto the Shoe-ma-ker?

At early dawn he doth peg in
His noble work and brave;
And eke from cark and worldly sin
He seeketh soles to save;
And all day long, with quip and song,
Thus stitcheth he the way
Our feet may know the right from wrong,
Nor ever go astray.

Soak kip in mind the Shoe-ma-ker,
Nor slight his lasting fame:
Alway he waxeth tenderer
In warmth of our acclaim;--
Aye, more than any artisan
We glory in his art
Who ne'er, to help the under man,
Neglects the upper part.

But toe the mark for him, and heel
Respond to thee in kine--
Or kid--or calf, shoulds thou reveal
A taste so superfine:
Thus let him jest--join in his laugh--
Draw on his stock, and be
A shoer'd there's no rival half-
Sole liberal as he.

Then, Poet, hail the Shoe-ma-ker
For all his goodly deeds,--
Yea, bless him free for booting thee--
The first of all thy needs!
And when at last his eyes grow dim,
And nerveless drops his clamp,
In golden shoon pray think of him
Upon his latest tramp.

The puns get a little blizzard-thick by the fourth stanza; but it's quite a-shoer'dly a feet of homely verse, which is, of course, Riley's specialty, and which no one does quite as well as he.

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