Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, OUT OF THE OLD HOUSE, NANCY, by WILLIAM MCKENDREE CARLETON



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OUT OF THE OLD HOUSE, NANCY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Out of the old house, nancy - moved up into the new
Last Line: Not made with hands.
Alternate Author Name(s): Carleton, Will
Subject(s): Home; Houses


OUT of the old house, Nancy -- moved up into the
new;
All the hurry and worry is just as good as
through.
Only a bounden duty for you and
I --
And that's to stand on the doorstep here, and
bid the old house good-bye.
What a shell we've lived in, these nineteen or
twenty years!
Wonder it hadn't smashed in, and tumbled about
our ears;
Wonder it's stuck together, as answered till
today;
But every individual log was put up here to stay.
Things looked rather new, though, when this old
house wus built;
And things that blossomed you would've made
some women wilt;
And every other day, then, as sure as day would
break,
My neighbor Ager come this way invitin' me to
"shake."
And you, for want of neighbors, was sometimes
blue and sad,
For wolves and bears and wildcats was the nearest ones you had;
But, lookin' ahead to the clearin', we worked with
all our might,
Until we was fairly out of the woods, and things
was goin' right.
Look up there at our new house! -- ain't it a thing
to see?
Tall and big and handsome, and new as new can
be;
All in apple-pie order, especially the shelves,
And never a debt to say but what we own it all
ourselves.
Look at our old log-house -- how little it now ap-
pears!
But it's never gone back on us for nineteen or
twenty years;
An' I won't go back on it now, or go to pokin'
fun --
There's such a thing as praisin' a thing for the
good that it has done.
Probably you remember how rich we was that
night,
When we was fairly settled, an' had things snug,
and tight:
We feel as proud as you please, Nancy, over our
house that's new,
But we felt as proud under this old roof, and a
good deal prouder, too.
Never a handsomer house was seen beneath the
sun:
Kitchen and parlor and bedroom -- we hed 'em all
in one;
And the fat old wooden clock, that we bought
when we come West,
Was tickin' away in the corner there, and doin'
its level best.
Trees was all around us, a-whisperin' cheering
words;
Loud was the squirrel's chatter, and sweet the
songs of birds;
And home grew sweeter and brighter -- our cour-
age began to mount --
And things looked hearty and happy then, and
work appeared to count.
And here one night it happened, when things was
goin' bad,
We fell in a deep old quarrel -- the first we ever
had ;
And when you give out and cried, then I, like a
fool, give in,
And then we agreed to rub all out, and start the
thing ag'in.
Here it was, you remember, we sat when the day
was done,
And you was a-makin' clothing that wasn't for
either one;
And often a soft word of love I was soft enough
to say,
And the wolves was howlin' in the woods not
twenty rods away.
Then our first-born baby -- a regular little joy,
Though I fretted a little because it wasn't a boy:
Wa'n't she a little flirt, though, with all her pouts
and smiles?
Why, settlers come to see that show a half a dozen
miles.
Yonder sat the cradle -- a homely, home-made
thing, --
And many a night I rocked it, providin' you
would sing;
And many a little squatter brought up with us
to stay, --
And so that cradle, for many a year, was never
put away.
How they kept a-comin', so cunnin' and fat and
small!
How they growed; 't was a wonder how we found
room for 'em all;
But though the house was crowded, it empty
seemed that day
When Jennie lay by the fireplace there, and
moaned her life away.
An' right in there the preacher, with Bible and
hymn-book, stood,
"'Twixt the dead and the living," and "hoped 't
would do us good;"
And the little whitewood coffin on the table there
was set,
And now as I rub my eyes it seems as if I could
see it yet.
When that fit of sickness it brought on you, you
know;
Just by a thread you hung, and you e'en-a'-most
let go;
And here is the spot I tumbled, an' give the Lord
his due,
When the doctor said the fever'd turned, an' he
could fetch you through.
Yes, a deal has happened to make this old house
dear:
Christenin's, funerals, weddin's -- what haven't we
had here?
Not a log in this buildin' but its memories has
got,
And not a nail in this old poor but touches a
tender spot.
Out of the old house, Nancy, -- moved up into the
new;
All the hurry and worry is just as good as
through;
But I tell you a thing right here, that I ain't
ashamed to say,
There's precious things in this old house
we never can take away.
Here the old house will stand, but not as it stood
before:
Winds will whistle through it, and rains will
flood the floor;
And over the hearth, once blazing, the snow-drifts
oft will pile,
And the old thing will seem to be a-mournin' all
the while.
Fare you well, old house! you're naught that
can feel or see,
But you seem like a human being -- a dear old
friend to me;
And we never will have a better home, if my
opinion stands,
Until we commence a-keepin' house in the house
not made with hands.




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