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Letter to John C. Beem

The Double Anniversary of my Birth and Marriage
Dec. 27, 1859

Whenever I feel in a glorious mood,
And am tickled sufficient to do me good
Iíve only to think: -- and lo! it would seem
That right at my elbow sits old Beem;
With a comical grin on his lengthened phiz
That ill would befit any face but his;
And down his long nose, I can see the tears run
As his risibles rise at my budget of fun.

Let grandeur and Pomp in their carriage roll by,
Their tinsel and trappings may dazzle the eye;
But they donít feel as happy with purse upon purse
As I - a poor devin, that ainít worth a curse;
The risk of their riches runs riot with rest
Their pleasures somehow are devoid of all zest,
Their Etiquette wears such a damnable load
I wouldnít change places, I wouldnít by G-d.

I want but little -- a little to spend
Then I meet with that jewel -- a warm bosom friend,
Who can laugh at a sully that sparkles with wit,
And tell a good story, or give a good hit,
Then give me a home for my children and wife
With comforts enough as we trundle through life
And the proud Upper Gendorm, may strut and parade
In the glitter of folly and fashion arrayed.

Their tables may groan 'neath the ponderous load
Of dainties and luxuries gleaned from abroad,
And their palettes so pampered may relish it fine
But their bellies alas! are no bigger than mine
The labor of raising each bite that we eat,
Our butter and cheese and our grain and our meat,
Will impart greater vigor and strength to the knees
Than their oily ragouts, or their state Fricassees.

When the wealthy have children, they mostly begin
By petting and spoiling and cooping them in
From the heat of the sun or the glare of the day,
For the dars will get sunburned, their mommies will say.
No wonder the roses are chased from the cheek
Of the pale little caged one, so puny and weak.
Call the doctor -- he comes with his rhubarb and squills
And kills it, to cure it with potions and pills.

My children may exercise running at will
And chasing tht ebutterfiles over the hill,
Not once out of ten will they die in the bud
When accustomed to roll in the sunshine and mud.
Yet latent disease may result in decay,
And a blossom may drop from our family boquet.
But I shall rejoice with my latest drawn breath
That my dear little one was not Physicked to death.

What pleasure there is in the tending of youth,
While the seedling with honor and truth;
Then watching the process through every new phase
And pruning all shoots that are worthless and base
And when youthful reason begins to expand
Let him study the works of Jehovah's own hand,
From the first feeble germ in the spring that appears,
To the making and moving of millions of spheres.

As upwards he tends, new ideas will spring
Till rapt with amazement, his fancy takes wing,
And soars through infinity -- peopled with suns,
Where System on System Eternally runs,
Ah! then is the time for the parant to trace,
Creation's immensity, Heaven and Space,
And stamp the young mind with the Maker's design
Then lead him still awed to the Godhead Divine.

Thus Teacher and Pupil -- The father and child,
From sorrow and care for a season beguiled
May catch a bright glimpse of that region of Bliss,
Reserved for the pure and the pious in this,
Oh! Life's a sweet Fiddle, thank God for the boon
And friendship's the key that can keep it in tune,
Though the fingers of time may press hard on the strings
Yet the last murmered note, still with harmony rings.

Published: 26-Apr-2004