Transcribed from:
Gray's Doniphan County history: A record of the happenings of half a hundred years. By P. L. (Patrick Leopoldo) Gray. Bendena, Kan.: The Roycroft Press, 1905. 3p. l. [11]-84, 166, [2] p. front., plates, ports. 24 cm.



We here present a collection of verse written by Doniphan County writers, selected from the files of the county papers. Many of the writers here represented are natives of the county. Others have had their birth in the different states, and a few were born in foreign lands, but all have resided here, and the selections presented were inspired and written in Doniphan County.


Tune-"Villikins and his Dinah."

As Martin was grinding some sorghum one day,
The mill got to squeaking and thus seemed to say:
Above sorghum, there's that to which man shoud aspire;
Does your heart never throb with some lofty desire?
   Ri tu ral, lal lu ral, ri tu ral, lal Ia.

The commerce in sorghum's declining you know;
The truck's a bit thin, and prices are slow;
And when you have sold it from skimmings to dregs,
'Twill scarce pay for the hoops on your cotton wood kegs.

I detected your darkies remarking today
They'd put up with less love, and a little more pay;
'Dis friendship's a good ting, as far as it goes;
But golly, it won't buy do chillen no close.

"A feather bed's good, if they had time to sleep;
But midnight is feed time, and out they must creep;
They must hush from the moment the sun shows its tip.
And plow by the light of the dip of a cheap tallow dip.

"So Martin you'd better be changing your gait;
Instead of this drudging from early to late,
Take a high toned short cut after riches and fame -
As a Christian and statesman build up a proud name.

"The hypocrite business is pretty good pay;
Build churches in which you can snivel and pray;
Then turn your old minister out on the sod,
And be your own sexton, and preacher, and God.

"If men have besmeared you - embrace them and kiss;
If men had faith in you, just kick them for this;
In deeds of sweet charity, nevermore shirk,
Relieve the distressed - but first take it in work.

"Take contracts to work for the great public cause;
Keep the outside free from all blemish and flaws;
But fill the odd corner with refuse and trash
In that lies your profit-and profit is cash.

"Be upright - whenever it brings you the pelf,
Be faithful - when that's the best show for yourself.
Those men strictly honest are never in luck;
And honor with poverty runs "nip and tuck.

As Martin thus heard, did his wonder increase,
Not thinking the mill only needed some grease;
"That voice is prophetic - I haste to obey
Thus surely does Providence point me the way."

"Thence forward the grinding was dismally low;
The cane grew no more, and the juice ceased to flow;
No more the old crow-bait walked patiently round;
No more the rank pulp, rotting, littered the ground.

Men ransacked the markets and thought it so queer
That the clear strained sap should no longer appear.
A wail of despair went up o'er the land
Children cried and women longed, for Bow-owner's brand.

"Years came and years went, as the years always do,
While Martin unswerving his course did pursue,
Determined with might and with main to fulfil
By the fate pointed out by the squeak of the mill.

I saw him once more after seasons had rolled,
And hie had worked out what the squeaking foretold.
Wound you know how he looked when he acted it through?
Then pick from this list a symbol or two;

"The last end of pea-time - the skin of the snail
A battered old can on a mangy dog's tail
A bladder that's busted - a bubble that's pricked,
An old hat that's crownless and banged up and kicked

"A tow-linen shirt that is minus a tail -
Old Jonah when just taking of leave the whale -
A cow sick on buckeyes - a three legged steer -
A shyster well played, with a flea in his ear.

"And as he trudged onward thus did he complain:
I'll have to go back to the sorghum again.
The mill is a prophet, I think - so to speak -
By the profit I've found in the juice, not the squeak.'


"Whenever you see a great hog of a man,
Who tries to get more than he honestly can,
That his purse and his fame may grow bulky and fast,
You will find him come out mighty peaked at last.

On the high prairie, October, 21, 1872.



Did you ever take a ramble through the wood,
  With the little girl you wanted by your side?
Did you ever feel so happy or so good?
  Are her kisses any sweeter as your bride?

Did you ever to the orchard go to spark,
  While her papa was a sleeping like a log?
Did you ever go a-groping in the dark,
  Feeling 'round to get a brick to hit the dog?

Did you ever keep your lady out too late,
  When she'd promised to be in by ten o'clock?
Did you ever grease the hinges of the gate,
  Just to please the quiet people in the block?

Did her father ever catch her on your knee,
  With her loving little arms around your neck?
Did he look as if he thought it shouldn't be?
  Did he tell you it was time for you to trek?

Did you ever fondly kiss her curley hair?
  Did you clip a lock to have when she'd be gone?
After marriage was the article so rare?
  Did you find it in the butter later on?

Did you ever find her in a little pout?
  Did you pat her head and kiss away her tear?
Since you're married, when you have a falling out,
  Do you think to kiss her good and call her "dear?"

When your sweetheart had a package to be brought,
  Did you ever dare to grumble at the weight?
Since you're papa, do you do the things you'd ought?
  Do you think to carry baby much of late?



We're just as glad as we can be,
That Kansas is not Tennessee,
Or any other sovereign State,
No matter whether small or great,
Because we love her even more
Than man has loved his State before;
And if from her we choose to roam,
We'll ever think of her as home;
We blow our country's bugle horn,
And bless the day our State was born.

The boundless prairies, all our own,
Our homes among the greatest flowers -
A barren waste before the war,
But it's a barren waste no more.
New countries have privations great;
'Twas we who built our homes and state;
Our schools and churches we'll promote,
And give to each his own free vote;
And guard our homes, nor let strong drink
Bring us at last to ruin's brink.

It is the state for you and me,
With earth and air and sky so free;
With sparkling dew upon the corn,
And bracing balmy air at morn;
With bright green grass and golden wheat,
'Tis here the flowers of richest hue
Waste their sweet fragrance on the dew,
And brightest birds in early spring
Pipe forth our motto, "Corn is King."

We welcome all to this, our home -
You can not find a richer loam;
And if with us you cast your lot,
We'll hand to you the beat we've got.
If all will do what's right and true
(And that is what we all shall do,)
Then when we die - for die we must -
We'll know to whom we leave this trust;
And stately trees and golden maize
Will bough their heads to all in praise.



I walked in the moonlight's shimmering ray,
To list what the old year had to say;
To hear some tale of deep distress,
Of hearts that beat in joyousness.

But the silence of night was scarcely broke.
So soft and low was the voice that spoke;
"A lesson of life I'll teach to thee -
Only a moment listen to me,

Dost hear in the grove the wind's low sigh,
Telling of hopes which with manhood die?
He clings to life, but his time has flown,
And over his joys dead leaves are strewn.

Tiny flowers that peeped out one by one,
Caressed and nursed by the warm summer's sun,
Lie faded and dead in our Wintry way -
So innocent childhood passes away.

The earth may be robed in her richest dress,
And the bride may smile in her joyousness;
But dying tonight, I lift the pall,
And breathe to your soul the fate of all.

Dost see yon river? Ice-bound and still;
Emblem of age; hopes frozen and chilled;"
They folded their hands on their weary breast,
'I am done with earth; 0, let me rest."
   Charleston, Kan., Jan. 1, 1874.



It's O, for the times of our fathers;
   And O, for the good old days,
Ere the up-start prophets of weather
   Came with their new fangled ways;
When the lowly and humble ground-hog
   That balances the season's fate,
Knew naught of the puzzle of science,
   But knew how to watch and wait.

In his burrow in woodland hillside,
   Hard-by some ice-covered stream,
He waits for the time appointed,
   Then wakes from his winter's dream.
From his door he cautiously peereth,
   For shadows that come before.
O Wiggins, O Hicks, with their wisdom,
   Might envy his subtle lore.

Then will we not learn from the ground hog
   A lesson of value to man?
He patiently waits without worry,
   And doeth the best he can.
He takes whatever is offered,
   With never a growl or scold;
If it isn't warm to his liking,
   He's willing take it cold.


(Highland, Kansas.)

Cradled, O, God within thy hand,
As suppliants we before Thee stand,
   To do thy will,
Obedient to command of old,
Uprose this house thy name to hold!
   It will thy glory fill!

Upon thy loving heart, oh, trace
This temple for thy dwelling place,
   Most holy One in three;
Here may the heralds of thy love
Transfix the eyes on joys above,
   And lead the soul to Thee!

Bless those that bade these walls arise,
Grant them a mansion with the wise,
   When called from time to go;
All o'er these prairies, vast and grand,
May temples rise and converts stand,
   Till all the Saviour know.



She gave her life to love. She never knew
   What other women give their all to gain.
Others were fickle. She was passing true,
   She gave pure love, and faith without a stain.

She never married. Suitors came and went:
   The dark eyes flashed their love on one alone,
Her life was passed in quiet and content,
   The old love reigned. No rival shar'd the throne.

Think you her life was wasted? Vale and hill
   Blossomed in summer, and white winter came.
The blue ice stiffened on the silent rill;
   All times and seasons found her still the same.

Her heart was full of sweetness till the end.
   What once she gave she never took away.
Through all her youth she loved one faithful friend,
   She loves him now her hair is growing gray.



River, sad and dreary river,
Flowing where the rustics shiver,
   Where the breezes softly sigh,
Tell to me the song you're chanting
In the dreamy days of planting
   Is it baby's lullaby?

Do you sing of sunny meadows
Where the snow-clouds trail their shadows,
   Passing like a phantom throng?
Or to nestlings in the willows,
Rocking, swaying on the billows
   Do you sing a cradle song?


Once beside my laughing water
Lived a boatman's sunny daughter,
   Fairer than the buds of May.
Underneath the dancing billow,
With her gold hair for a pillow
   All alone she sleeps to-day.

And my wavelets onward sweeping
Pause not for a mother's weeping
   I must ever speed along;
But for sake of those who love her
Gently gliding past above her,
   I must croon my slumber song.



Hushed at last in balmy slumbers,
   Where the wild flowers drink the dew,
Unlamented lie the red men
   Once our rolling prairies knew.

Where the pawpaw trees, still growing,
   Spread their broad leaves in the sun;
Where, in tangled dells of hazel,
   Brooks with merry babble run.

Mellow Autumn, sadly lingering,
   Scatters 'round her withered leaves;
Summer's rainy tears fall gently,
   Winter's cold wind o'er them grieves.

Love and hate can thrill no longer,
   Life's delirium now is past,
So shall we, like them, be only
   Dust, unconscious dust, at last.

Yonder, by the trees half hidden,
   Stands the Missions' crumbling walls;
Heedless, if loud beats the tempest,
   Or soft moonlight o'er them falls.

Pathways old, with faded grasses,
   And with creeping vines grown o'er,
Tell us of what has been only,
   And of what shall be no more.

Tell us of one now reposing,
   Who so oft these ways has trod;
One who came to teach the savage,
   And to turn him to his God.

Feeble though, and frail in body,
   His the heart but to obey;
Ah, then, how sublime the sowing
   For the harvest of today!

Then there were no home scenes happy
   On our prairies spread afar;
Still day came with sun and vanished;
   Night with moon and glittering star.

In the distant forest jungle
   Sang the lonely whippoorwill,
Sang and listened to the echoes
   Answering faintly from the hill.

Flowers of brilliant hue in Spring-time
   Poured their fragrance on the air;
Fifty times they've bloomed and withered,
   Since arose those walls with prayer.

All hail, wondrous transformation!
   Who has made our prairies bloom?
He who dared to pierce the desert,
   With its perils and its gloom.

All hail glorious coronation,
   Yonder in the bright blue sky!
Lo, the souls he saved from error,
   Lift their flaunting banners high.

Rescued from earth's midnight shadows;
   Saved from superstition's thrall;
Rolls the great choir's glad Te Deum
   Over tower and jasper wall.


(Aged Ninety-eight.)

I count it a love and in honored tie,
   That fetters my youthful heart to thee,
Grandmother dear with the silvery hair
   Sweet may life's closing twilight be.

Rosy and fair are the sunset hues;
   Rosy and fair was the morning's dawn;
Tho' stormy oft were the hours between,
   Restful and sweet is the night stealing on.

The billows roll up from the years long fled,
   And passing break on the silent shore;
They are fraught with the scenes of a hundred years;
   With hopes and joys that are earth's no more.

'Tis the honest boast of a life well lived,
   Of work well done, that I breathe to-day;
Oh, crown with laurels the worthy brow.
   Age is not winter, but flow'ring May.

You say that your skies have a mournful cast,
   That the dismal clouds move sad and slow.
But bluer skies shall be thine ere long,
   Than the children of dust on earth can know.

The old sights sink in oblivion's sea;
   The earthly fades from the aching view,
O, sweet transition from earthly ills
   Behold the Lord makes all things anew.

Come there no sounds from balmier climes
   Of the rythmic strains that the faithful sing?
There the eyes are ever undimmned by age,
   And the hills are aglow with perpetual spring.



"Resistance to wrong is obedience to God."

"Am I my brother's keeper?" Still
   The cowardly words of Cane
Ring out where'r entrenched wrong
   Attains its end through pain.
Are we to blame for aught of woe
   That clouds the passing years,
And must we bear upon our hearts
   Our brother's pain and tears?

Are to blame for childhood robbed
   And sold in labors's mart,
Of God's own bounteous gifts to all
   Denied their rightful part?
If from their sordid, untaught youth
   Spring deeds of sin and shame.
To flood our land with misery,
   Ah, who shall be to blame?

For manhood's treasure, sacred truth
   Bartered for daily bread;
For right to win from God's storehouse
   Wherewith we shall be fed;
For white souls soiled and dragged into
   The mire of sin and shame;
For shipwrecked hopes and darkened lives
   Oh, God, are we to blame?

Oh, may the nation's great heart go
   Out to the suffering ones;
The light of hope is dawning for
   America's loved sons.
Press onward then, my native land,
   Keep well thy upward path;
Escape the anger of thy God,
   The winepress of his wrath.



My little one climbs on my knee to say,
In the coaxingest, cunningest kind of way,
"Please tell me a story, just one," and this
He says with a hug and a long, long kiss,
That he gives as the story teller's fee;
So what can I do but grant his plea?

Shall I tell the story of "Little Boy Blue"?
"No, no, dear Mamma, dest somthin' new!"
This bars the way then for "Little Bo Peep,'
And the boy in the haystack fast asleep;
The pigs that went to market, tool
What kind of a story shall I tell you?

"O, somfin' pitty!" And I begin,
With a kiss for the dimpled cheek and chin,
And what I tell him I scarcely know,
Since the thread of my story tangies so
That I loose the run of it, half way through,
But that doesn't matter - "It's sometfin' new."

The story endsl there's a pause, and then
"Please, Mamma" pleadingly, "tell it again."
And I tell it over, and when it is done,
There's quick demand for another one.
And the queerest stories that I invent
Are those with which he is most content.

All at once the lids of my little one's eyes
Waver, and droop, and in vain he tries
To lift them, and keep them from closing quite.
A moment more and they shut the light
Away from the eyes that with dreams are deep,
And my lover of stories is fast asleep.



O, sleep, baby, sleep, for the twilight is dying,
   And over the clover bright dew drops are strewn,
While out of the west scented zephyrs are flying
   To toss the lace curtain clouds over the moon.

The owl and the whippoorwill down by the river,
   Are waiting the death of the day in the west
And the breath ef the wind bids the willows to quiver,
   To rock the bird babies to sleep in their nest.

The fairy bell flowers o'er yonder are swinging
   And low, dreamy music is wafted to thee;
Then sleep till the birds in the tree tops are singing,
   And sunbeams are raining their gold on the sea.

Now safe into dreamland go thou a drifting,
   While white winged angels their love virgils keep -
For over your eyelids the sand man is sifting,
   The dream sand that coaxes my darling to sleep!


(To my little neighbor, Mabel Perry.)

Mobel - dainty little maiden -
   Sweet blonde of purest type;
Rose tinted cheeks, and pouting lips,
   Like summer cherries ripe.

Deep blue eyes that sparkle fair,
   Like diamonds in the night;
And heavy, sunlit tresses flow
   Above her shoulders white.

A voice both soft and musical,
   And in her fair young face,
Is set the seal of purity
   And intellect ual grace.

A fairy form, a gentle step,
   True grace in ev'ry motion,
As sweet a child as in the land,
   And worth a life's devotion.

And though our dear no princess is,
   Simply a child so fair,
With any royal maiden born,
   I'm sure she will compare,

And more than this - than outer charms -
   Her beauty lies within;
And may her goodness ever serve
   To shame away all sin.