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Carrier's Address

Marengo, Iowa - January 1, 1859

Once more kind friends, in honor bound
I make my annual New Years round,
In part through gratitude to you
But more for my accustomed due:
When printer's will to have a time,
And every Journeyman breaks into rhyme.
The Devil too, gets tired of prose,
Any rhymes and rattles as he goes,
Then every house within the town,
Must plank the needed ready down
To pay for extras more or less
Say -- oysters, mints and this address.

I sing of all the changes made,
Since our last Devil left the trade.
He managed matters mighty cool,
Then vamoosed with his pockets full.
Since then our mighty "Ship of State"
Has stranded on the beach of fate,
And every man and mother's son
Has worked and fired the minute gun.
Recurrent squalls have swept the deck
And left the crazy craft a wreck.
Till all the Captain's tact and skill
Can't float her with the English Bill
And all the opposition force
Have stood arrayed athrart his course.
Discharging bombs and shell and shot
At every half unguarded spot.

And place and patronage and power
Are freeely bartered every hour;
And men are bought and honor sold
For tracts of land or chunks of gold;
And every low besotted curse
Who clutches at the public purse
Will name his price and sell his vote,
Then stump the State and turn his coat,
And all the other cliques and clans
Are but maturing future plans
To gain...

(Gibson was reciting from memory and could not continue)

Published: 26-Apr-2004