Classic and Contemporary Poetry
TOWN AND COUNTRY, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: They's a predjudice allus 'twixt country and town
Last Line: Fer theyr gran'pap to waller 'em round!
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Cities; Country Life; Forests; Prejudice; Urban Life; Woods; Bias; Intolerance
THEY'S a predjudice allus 'twixt country and town
Which I wisht in my hart wasent so.
You take city people, jest square up and down,
And they're mighty good people to know:
And whare's better people a-livin', today,
Than us in the country? -- Yit good
As both of us is, we're divorsed, you might say,
And won't compermise when we could!
Now as nigh into town fer yer Pap, ef you please,
Is what's called the sooburbs. -- Fer thare
You'll at least ketch a whiff of the breeze and a sniff
Of the breth of wild-flowrs ev'rywhare.
They's room fer the childern to play, and grow, too --
And to roll in the grass, er to climb
Up a tree and rob nests, like they ortent to do,
But they'll do anyhow ev'ry time!
My Son-in-law said, when he lived in the town,
He jest natchurly pined, night and day,
Fer a sight of the woods, er a acre of ground
Whare the trees wasent all cleared away!
And he says to me onc't, whilse a-visit-in' us
On the farm, "It's not strange, I declare,
That we can't coax you folks, without raisin' a fuss,
To come to town, visitin' thare!"
And says I, "Then git back whare you sorto' belong --
And Madaline, too, -- and yer three
Little childern," says I, "that don't know a bird-song,
Ner a hawk from a chicky-dee-dee!
Git back," I-says-I, "to the blue of the sky
And the green of the fields, and the shine
Of the sun, with a laugh in yer voice and yer eye
As harty as Mother's and mine!"
Well -- long-and-short of it, -- he's compermised some --
He's moved in the sooburbs. -- And now
They don't haf to coax, when they want us to come,
'Cause we turn in and go anyhow!
Fer thare -- well, they's room fer the songs and purfume
Of the grove and the old orchurd-ground,
And they's room fer the children out thare, and they's room
Fer theyr Gran'pap to waller 'em round!
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