Old Spense

You've seen his place, I reckon, friend?
'Twas rather kind ov tryin'.
The way he made the dollars fly,
Such gimcrack things a-buyin'--
He spent a big share ov a fortin'
On pesky things that went a snortin'

And hollerin' over all the fields,
And ploughin' ev'ry furrow;
We sort ov felt discouraged, for
Spense wusn't one to borrow;
An' wus--the old chap wouldn't lend
A cent's wuth to his dearest friend!

Good land! the neighbours seed to wunst
Them snortin', screamin' notions
Wus jest enough tew drown the yearth
In wrath, like roarin' oceans,
'An' guess'd the Lord would give old Spense
Blue fits for fightin' Pruvidence!'

Spense wus thet harden'd; when the yearth
Wus like a bak'd pertater;
Instead ov prayin' hard fur rain,
He fetched an irrigator.
'The wicked flourish like green bays!'
Sed folks for comfort in them days.

I will allow his place was grand
With not a stump upon it,
The loam wus jest as rich an' black
Es school ma'am's velvet bunnit;
But tho' he flourish'd, folks all know'd
What spiritooal ear-marks he show'd.

Spense had a notion in his mind,
Ef some poor human grapples
With pesky worms thet eat his vines,
An' spile his summer apples,
It don't seem enny kind ov sense
Tew call that 'cheekin' Pruvidence!'

An' ef a chap on Sabbath sees
A thunder cloud a-strayin'
Above his fresh cut clover an'
Gets down tew steddy prayin',
An' tries tew shew the Lord's mistake,
Instead ov tacklin' tew his rake,

He ain't got enny kind ov show
Tew talk ov chast'ning trials;
When thet thar thunder cloud lets down
It's sixty billion vials;
No! when it looks tew rain on hay,
First take yer rake an' then yer pray!

Old Spense was one 'ov them thar chaps
Thet in this life of tussle
An' rough-an'-tumble, sort ov set
A mighty store on muscle;
B'liev'd in hustlin' in the crop,
An' prayin' on the last load top!

An' yet he hed his p'ints--his heart
Wus builded sort ov spacious;
An' solid--ev'ry beam an' plank,
An', Stranger, now, veracious.
A wore-out hoss he never shot,
But turn'd him in the clover lot!

I've seed up tew the meetin' house;
The winkin' an' the nudgin',
When preacher sed, 'No doubt that Dives
Been drefful mean an' grudgin';
Tew church work seal'd his awful fate
Whar thar ain't no foolin' with the gate!'

I mind the preacher met old Spense,
Beneath the maples laggin',
The day was hot, an' he'd a pile
Ov 'cetrees in his waggin';
A sack of flour, a hansum hog,
Sum butter and his terrier dog.

Preacher, he halted up his hoss,
Ask'd for Miss Spense an' Deely,
Tew limber up his tongue a mite,
And sez right slick an' mealy:
'Brother, I really want tew know
Hev you got religion? Samson, whoa!'

Old Spense, he bit a noble chaw,
An' sort ov meditated;
Samson he nibbl'd at the grass,
An' preacher smil'd and waited;
Ye'd see it writ upon his face--
'I've got Spense in a tightsome place!'

The old man curl'd his whip-lash round
An alto-vic'd muskitter,
Preacher, sort ov triumphant, strok'd
His ornary old critter.
Spense p'ints tew flour, an' hog, an' jar,
Sez he, 'I've got religion thar!

'Them's goin' down tew Spinkses place,
Whar old man Spinks is stayin';
The bank he dealt at bust last month,
An' folks is mostly sayin':
Him bein' ag'd, an' poor, an' sick,
They'll put him in the poor-house slick!

'But no, they don't! Not while I own
The name ov Jedediah;
Yer movin'? How's yer gran'ma Green,
An' yer cousin, Ann Maria?
Boss, air they? Yas, sirree, I dar
Tew say, I've got religion thar!'

Preacher, he in his stirrups riz,
His visage kind ov cheerin';
An' keerful look'd along the road,
Over sugarbush an' clearin';
Thar wa'n't a deacon within sight;
Sez he, 'My brother, guess you're right.'

'You keep your waggon Zionward,
With that religion on it;
I calculate we'll meet'--jest here
A caliker sun bonnet,
On a sister's head, cum round the Jog,
An' preacher dispars'd like mornin' fog!

One day a kind ov judgment come,
The lightnin'-rod conductor
Got broke--the fluid struck his aunt,
An' in the root-house chuck'd her.
It laid her up for quite a while,
An' the judgment made the neighbors smile.

Old Spense he swore a mighty swar,
He didn't mince nor chew it;
For when he spoke, 'most usual,
It had a backbone tew it.
He sed he'd find a healthy plan
Tew square things with the agent man,

Who'd sold him thet t
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Isabella Valancy Crawford

Isabella Valancy Crawford was an Irish-born Canadian writer and poet. more…

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"Old Spense" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 20 Jul 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/19916/old-spense>.

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