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Best Famous Ellis Parker Butler Poems

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by Ellis Parker Butler | |

The Tearful Tale Of Captain Dan

 A sinner was old Captain Dan;
 His wives guv him no rest:
He had one wife to East Skiddaw
 And one to Skiddaw West.
Now Ann Eliza was the name Of her at East Skiddaw; She was the most cantankerous Female you ever saw.
I don’t know but one crosser-grained, And of this Captain Dan She was the wife at Skiddaw West— She was Eliza Ann.
Well, this old skeesicks, Captain Dan, He owned a ferryboat; From East Skiddaw to Skiddaw West That vessel used to float.
She was as trim a ferry-craft As ever I did see, And on each end a p’inted bow And pilothouse had she.
She had two bows that way, so when She went acrost the sound She could, to oncet, run back ag’in Without a-turnin’ round.
Now Captain Dan he sailed that boat For nigh on twenty year Acrost that sound and back ag’in, Like I have stated here.
And never oncet in all them years Had Ann Eliza guessed That Dan he had another wife So nigh as Skiddaw West.
Likewise, Eliza Ann was blind, Howas she never saw As Dan he had another wife Acrost to East Skiddaw.
The way he fooled them female wives Was by a simple plan That come into the artful brain Of that there Captain Dan.
With paint upon that ferry-craft, In letters plain to see, Upon the bow— to wit, both ends— Her name he painted she.
Upon the bow toward East Skiddaw This sinful Captain Dan He painted just one single word— The same which it was “Ann”; And on the bow toward Skiddaw West He likewise put one name, And not no more; and I will state “Eliza” was that same.
Thus, when she berthed to Skiddaw West Eliza Ann could see How Dan for love and gratitood Had named her after she; And likewise when to East Skiddaw That boat bow-foremost came, His Ann Eliza plain could see The vessel bore her name.
Thuswise for nigh on twenty year, As I remarked before Dan cumfuscated them two wives And sailed from shore to shore.
I reckon he might, to this day, Have kept his sinful ways And fooled them trustin’ female wives, Except there come a haze: It was a thick November haze Accompanied by frost, And Dan, in steerin’ ‘crost the sound, He got his bearin’s lost.
So Dan he cast his anchor out, And anchored on the sound; And when the haze riz some next day, His boat had swung clean round.
So, not bethinkin’ how it was, Dan steered for Skiddaw West; For he had sot up all that night, And shorely needed rest.
Well, when into his ferry-slip His ferry-craft he ran, Upon the shore he seen his wife: To wit, Eliza Ann.
Says he, “I’ll tie this vessel up And rest about a week; I need a rest,” and ‘t was just then He heard an awful shriek.
“O Villyun!” shrieked Eliza Ann.
“Oh! What—what do I see? You don’t not love me any more! You’ve done deserted me!” She pointed to that ferry-craft With one wild, vicious stare.
Dan looked and seen the telltale name Of “Ann” a-painted there! What could he do? He done his best! “Lost! Lost! Alas!” he cried; And, kicking off his rubber boots, Jumped overboard—and died!

by Ellis Parker Butler | |

To May

 I have no heart to write verses to May;
 I have no heart—yet I’m cheerful today;
I have no heart—she has won mine away
 So—I have no heart to write verses to May.

by Ellis Parker Butler | |

To Marguerite

 So great my debt to thee, I know my life
 Is all too short to pay the least I owe,
And though I live it all in that sweet strife,
 Still shall I be insolvent when I go.
Bid, then, thy Bailiff Cupid come to me And bind and lead me wheresoe’er thou art, And let me live in sweet captivity Within the debtor’s prison of thy heart.

by Ellis Parker Butler | |

To Lovers

 Ho, ye lovers, list to me;
 Warning words have I for thee:
 Give ye heed, hefore ye wed,
 To this thing Sir Chaucer said:

“Love wol not be constrained by maistrie,
When maistrie cometh, the god of love anon
Beteth his winges, and farewel, he is gon.
” Other poets knew as well, And the same sad story tell, Hark ye, heed ye, while ye may, What the worldly Pope doth say: “Love, free as air, at sight of human ties Spreads his light wings and in a moment flies.
” This, Sir Hudibras, brave knight, Faithful lover, constant wight, From his lady’s lips did hear; Mark ye, eke, the warning clear: “Love is too generous t’abide To be against its nature ty’d, For where ’tis of itself inclin’d, It breaks loose when it is confin’d.
” Ho, ye lovers, shall I tell How through life with Love to dwell, Spite of all the poets say? Harken to the easy way:— Strive to bind him not, but see That the little god binds thee.

by Ellis Parker Butler | |

To Kate. (In Lieu Of A Valentine)

 Sweet Love and I had oft communed;
 We were, indeed, great friends,
And oft I sought his office, near
 Where Courtship Alley ends.
I used to sit with him, and smoke, And talk of your blue eyes, And argue how I best might act To make your heart my prize.
He always seemed to have much time To hear me tell my joy, So that I came to deem him but An idle, lazy boy.
But on St.
Valentine his day, I found him hard at work, As if he had a mighty task And did not dare to shirk; And o’er his head there hung a card That made me haste away; It bore these words— Please make it short.
This is my busy day! And so, Sweet maiden; if I send No valentine, you see The reason here; Love could not waste His precious time on me!

by Ellis Parker Butler | |

The Romance Of Patrolman Casey

 There was a young patrolman who
 Had large but tender feet;
They always hurt him badly when
 He walked upon his beat.
(He always took them with him when He walked upon his beat.
) His name was Patrick Casey and A sweetheart fair had he; Her face was full of freckles—but Her name was Kate McGee.
(It was in spite of freckles that Her name was Kate McGee.
) “Oh, Pat!” she said, “I’ll wed you when Promotion comes to you!” “I’m much-obliged,” he answered, and “I’ll see what I can do.
” (I may remark he said it thus— “Oi’ll say phwat Oi kin do.
”) So then he bought some new shoes which Allowed his feet more ease— They may have been large twelves.
Perhaps Eighteens, or twenty-threes.
(That’s rather large for shoes, I think— Eighteens or twenty-threes!) What last they were I don’t know, but Somehow it seems to me I’ve heard somewhere they either were A, B, C, D, or E.
(More likely they were five lasts wide— A, B plus C, D, E.
) They were the stoutest cowhide that Could be peeled off a cow.
But he was not promoted So Kate wed him anyhow.
(This world is crowded full of Kates That wed them anyhow.

by Ellis Parker Butler | |

Would You Believe It?

 One year ago I wished that I
A banker great might be
With a hundred million dollars
And financial majesty;

A mighty Wall Street banker
With a whopping lot of power
And an income of somewhere around
A thousand plunks per hour;

A solid Wall Street banker
With securities in sacks
And with clever men to show me
How to pay no income tax;

A wealthy Wall Street banker
Who raked in cash like hay;
I wished that just a year ago—
And I wish the same today.

by Ellis Parker Butler | |

Womanly Qualms

 When I go rowing on the lake,
 I long to be a man;
I’ll give my Sunday frock to have
 A callous heart like Dan.
I love the ripple of the waves When gliding o’er the deep, But when I see the cruel ours, I close my eyes and weep; For there are cat-fish in our lake, And I am filled with dread, Lest Don should strike a pussy-fish Upon its tender head.
How would you like it if, some day An air-ship passing by, Should flap its cruel, thoughtless oars And knock you in the eye? My life would be one long regret If, for my pleasure vain, I caused a harmless little fish An hour of needless pain.
And if Dan’s heavy oars should cause One little fish to die, I’d never, never dare to look Smoked herring in the eye!

by Ellis Parker Butler | |

Why Washington Retreated


Said Congress to George Washington:
 “To set this country free,
You’ll have to whip the Britishers
 And chase them o’er the sea.
” “Oh, very well,” said Washington, “I’ll do the best I can.
I’ll slam and bang those Britishers And whip them to a man.
” 1777 Said Congress to George Washington: “The people all complain; Why don’t you fight? You but retreat And then retreat again.
” “That can’t be helped,” said Washington, “As you will quite agree When you see how the novelists Have mixed up things for me.
” Said Congress to George Washington: “Pray make your meaning clear.
” Said Washington: “Why, certainly— But pray excuse this tear.
Of course we know,” said Washington, “The object of this war— It is to furnish novelists With patriotic lore.
” Said Congress to George Washington: “Yes! yes! but pray proceed.
” Said Washington: “My part in it Is difficult indeed, For every hero in the books Must sometime meet with me, And every sweet-faced heroine I must kiss gallantly.
” Said Congress to George Washington: “But why must you retreat?” Said Washington: “One moment, please, My story to complete.
These hero-folk are scattered through The whole United States; At every little country town A man or maiden waits.
” To Congress said George Washington: “At Harlem I must be On such a day to chat with one, And then I’ll have to flee With haste to Jersey, there to meet Another.
Here’s a list Of sixty-seven heroes, and There may be some I’ve missed.
” To Congress said George Washington: “Since I must meet them all (And if I don’t you know how flat The novels all will fall), I cannot take much time to fight, I must be on the run, Or some historic novelist Will surely be undone.
” Said Congress to George Washington: “You are a noble man.
Your thoughtfulness is notable, And we approve your plan; A battle won pads very well A novel that is thin, But it is better to retreat Than miss one man and win.
” Said Congress to George Washington: “Kiss every pretty maid, But do it in a courtly way And in a manner staid— And some day when your sword is sheathed And all our banners furled, A crop of novels will spring up That shall appal the world.

by Ellis Parker Butler | |

Ridden Down

 When I taught Ida how to ride a
 Bicycle that night,
I ran beside her, just to guide her
 Erring wheel aright;
And many times there in the street
She rode upon my weary feet.
But now can Ida mount and ride a Wheel with graceful ease, And I, untiring in admiring, Fall upon my knees To worship her,—and, for her part, She rides upon my proffered heart!