Classic and Contemporary Poetry
THE JOLLY MILLER, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: It was a jolly miller lived on the river dee
Last Line: About four hunderd mile!
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Fleas; Laughter; Marriage; Mills And Millers; Weddings; Husbands; Wives
IT was a Jolly Miller lived on the River Dee;
He looked upon his piller, and there he found a flea:
"O Mr. Flea! you have bit me,
And you shall shorely die!"
So he scrunched his bones ag'inst the stones --
And there he let him lie!
'Twas then the Jolly Miller he laughed and told his wife,
And she laughed fit to kill her, and dropped her carving knife! --
"O Mr. Flea!" "Ho-ho!" "Tee-hee!"
They both laughed fit to kill,
Until the sound did almost drownd
The rumble of the mill!
"Laugh on, my Jolly Miller! and Missus Miller, too! --
But there's a weeping-willer will soon wave over you!"
The voice was all so awful small --
So very small and slim! --
He durst' infer that it was her,
Ner her infer 'twas him!
That night the Jolly Miller, says he, "It's, Wifey dear,
That cat o' yourn, I'd kill her! -- her actions is so queer, --
She's rubbin's 'g'inst the grindstone-legs,
And yowlin' at the sky --
And I 'low the moon hain't greener
Than the yaller of her eye!"
And as the Jolly Miller went chuckleun to bed,
Was Somepin' jerked his piller from underneath his head!
'O Wife," says he, on-easi-lee,
"Fetch here that lantern there!"
But Somepin' moans in thunder-tones,
"You tetch it ef you dare!"
'Twas then the Jolly Miller he trimbled and he quailed --
And his wife choked until her breath come back, 'n' she wailed!
And "Oh!" cried she, "it is the Flea,
All white and pale and wann --
He's got you in his clutches, and
He's bigger than a man!"
"Ho! ho! my Jolly Miller" (fer 'twas the Flea, fer shore!),
"I reckon you'll not rack my bones ner scrunch 'em any more!"
Then the Flea-Ghost he grabbed him clos't,
With many a ghastly smile.
And from the door-step stooped and hopped
About four hunderd mile!
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