As he stretched himself 'neath an elm tree
To let the horses panting from heat
Breathe for a while in this cool retreat;
"It's too hard work, and there's too much to do,
And I work, work, work, yet never am through.
There's Merchant Brown___what a snap has he
These long hot days; from care he is free.
He rises at six and goes to the store,
And there reads the morning papers o'er;
No tiresome chores when the day is spent___
A merchant's life is but sweet content."
And Merchant Brown as he went to the store
Took down his big ledger and looked it o'er,
And turning to Billy Slowpay's account
He carefully added the whole amount;
"An even fifty," he grimly said,
And marked it "Paid;" for Billy was dead.
And Jim Softsoap and Promisin' Joe,
And a dozen others he put in a row,
And said to himself, "What a chump, I've been
To let these fellows ever get in!
And what would I give to leave today,
And hie to the farm for a good long stay!"
Then he thought of the fruit on the apple tree,
The peaches and plums that used to be;
The melons fine and the garden green,
The wild grapes down in the old ravine,
And the thick sweet cream that he used to skim
To eat with the berries they saved for him.
(Boston: The Gorham Press. 1914)