Poetry of Kansas

Wooing.

A COUNTRY BALLAD.
 
There is a worthy widower, one of our "solid men",
And he was born and bred___I can't tell where or when;___
But he lives near by the "Ancient City," Aztalan,
Which has stood beside the Crawfish since the memory of
        man.
 
He has built himself a castle with many a point and stee-
        ple,
Which, through all the country round, is the wonder of tile
        people:
He has built himself a barn with a lofty "cupalo",
Where painted beasts look down on the living ones below.
 
But this dweller by the Crawfish, in the town of Aztalan,
For all his Gothic Castle, is a very lonely man;
For a house without a mistress is a hive without a queen,
And he sighs with discontent as he views his acres green.
 
He wants a wife; but all in vain for him the widow smiles;
In vain the well-kept spinster may try her sweetest wiles;
He looks among the maidens with rosy cheeks, and curls,
And seeks to find his queen from among the village girls.
 
And now begins my story, which is too good to keep;
I've heard it here so often that I hear it in my sleep;
What all the gossips know, it can't be wrong to tell,
So here is what did happen, and this is what befell:
 
This solid, landed man, who wants a better half,
One day had been somewhere and bought a blooded calf;
He had it in his wagon, likewise his hired man,
And he had his horses headed for the town of Aztalan.
 
But, alas for side attractions! They were passing through
        the town
That sits by yonder lake, with its houses white and brown,
When he reigned aside his team at a pretty village gate;
He wished to "call a minute," and told his man to wait.
 
But dark eyes shown within, and he found himself
        chanted;
And, swift and unaware, the enchanted evening waned,
Till he started on a sudden, exclaiming, "By the powers!"
For Time, that waits for no man, had passed the smallest
        hours.
 
It was time to seek his cattle, in the town of Aztalan!
He remembered now his team and the waiting hired man;
Where were they? Hans had waited, how long I cannot
        say;
But the night was gray and chill, and his patience oozed
        away.
 
Then he drove along a piece, hitched the horses to the
        fence,
And made tracks for home, like a man of common sense;
He left the hungry horses, the wagon and the calf;
But for him to wait all night, it was too much, by half!
 
When at last the man came out, he didn't see his team,
For the clouded morning moon gave but a feeble gleam;
He looked about, and, seeing neither man nor brute,
Supposed that all were gone, and posted off afoot.
 
He laid him down and slept,___'tis 'thus the story goes;
Whether his dreams were sad or sweet, nobody knows;
He rose at early dawn and to his stable sped.
But lo! the stalls were empty; and his heart it sunk like
        lead.
 
He called to Hans: "See here; where are those horses, sir?"
"Why, in the stable, aren't they? I supposed of course they
        were;
"I left them waiting, sir, for you. Pray do not fret;
"I tied them well; I think they must be waiting yet!"
 
The honest fellow didn't see the ghastly joke,
But his angry master did, and then in thunder spoke:
Here, sir! Post off! Be quick, and get that team away,
Before the pesky villagers are stirring for the day!
 
But all too late! the folks were up, and loud the laugh
That greeted that poor Dutchman, those horses and that
        calf;
They questioned Hans, who straightway all the story told.
Which same the villagers repeat to young and old.
 
Here is the wholesome moral, which this tale doth plainly
        teach,
And this the printed sermon such experience doth preach:
That solid landed men who are seeking better halves,
Shouldn't try to do their wooing when they go a buying
        calves.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 252-254

 
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March 31, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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