Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
Johnnie’s First Moose
By William Henry Drummond (1854–1907)
DE CLOUD is hide de moon, but dere’s plaintee light above,
Steady, Johnnie, steady—kip your head down low,
Move de paddle leetle quicker, an’ de ole canoe we’ll shove
    T’roo de water nice an’ quiet
    For de place we’re goin’ try it        5
    Is beyon’ de silver birch dere,
    You can see it lak a church dere
W’en we’re passin’ on de corner w’ere de lily flower grow.
Wasn’t dat correc’ w’at I’m tolin’ you jus’ now?
Steady, Johnnie, steady—kip your head down low,        10
Never min’, I’ll watch behin’—me—an’ you can watch de bow,
    An’ you’ll see a leetle clearer
    Wen canoe is comin’ nearer—
    Dere she is—now easy, easy,
    For de win’ is gettin’ breezy,        15
An’ we don’t want not’ing smell us, till de horn begin to blow.
I remember long ago w’en ma fader tak’ me out,
Steady, Johnnie, steady—kip your head down low,
Jus’ de way I’m takin’ you, sir, hello! was dat a shout?
    Seems to me I t’ink I’m hearin’        20
    Somet’ing stirrin’ on de clearin’
    W’ere it stan’ de lumber shaintee;
    If it’s true, den you’ll have plaintee
Work to do in half a minute, if de moose don’t start to go.
An’ now we’re on de shore, let us hide de ole canoe,        25
Steady, Johnnie, steady—kip your head down low,
An’ lie among de rushes, dat’s bes’ t’ing we can do,
    For de ole boy may be closer
    Dan anybody know, sir,
    An’ look out you don’t be shakin’        30
    Or de bad shot you’ll be makin’;
But I’m feelin’ sam’ way too, me, w’en I was young, also.
You ready for de call? here goes for number wan,
Steady, Johnnie, steady—kip your head down low,
Did you hear how nice I do it, an’ how it travel on        35
    Till it reach across de reever
    Dat’ll geev’ some moose de fever!
    Wait now, Johnnie, don’t you worry,
    No use bein’ on de hurry,
But lissen for de answer, it’ll come before you know.        40
For w’y you jomp lak dat? w’at’s matter wit’ your ear?
Steady, Johnnie, steady—kip your head down low—
Tak’ your finger off de trigger, dat was only bird you hear.
    Can’t you tell de pine tree crickin’
    Or de boule frog w’en he’s spikin’?        45
    Don’t you know de grey owl singin’
    From de beeg moose w’en he’s ringin’
Out hees challenge on de message your ole gran’fader blow?
You’re lucky boy to-night, wit’ hunter man lak me!
Steady, Johnnie, steady—kip your head down low—        50
Can tole you all about it! H-s-s-h! dat’s somet’ing now I see,
    Dere he’s comin’ t’roo de bushes,
    So get down among de rushes,
    Hear heem walk! I t’ink, by tonder,
    He mus’ go near fourteen honder.        55
Dat’s de feller I been watchin’ all de evening, I dunno.
I’ll geev’ anoder call, jus’ a leetle wan or two,
Steady, Johnnie, steady—kip your head down low—
W’en he see dere’s no wan waitin’ I wonder w’at he’ll do?
    But look out for here he’s comin’;        60
    Sa-pris-ti! ma heart is drummin’!
    You can never get heem nearer
    An’ de moon is shinin’ clearer,
W’at a fine shot you’ll be havin’! now, Johnnie, let her go!
Bang! bang! you got heem sure! an’ he’ll never run away        65
Nor feed among de lily on de shore of Wessonneau.
So dat’s your first moose, Johnnie! wall! remember all I say—
    Doesn’t matter w’at you’re chasin’,
    Doesn’t matter w’at you’re facin’,
    Only watch de t’ing you’re doin’;        70
    If you don’t, ba gosh! you’re ruin!
An’ steady, Johnnie, steady—kip your head down low.

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