Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IX. Tragedy: Humor
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IX. Tragedy: Humor.  1904.
Humorous Poems: II. Miscellaneous
The Society upon the Stanislaus
Bret Harte (1836–1902)
I RESIDE at Table Mountain, and my name is Truthful James:
I am not up to small deceit or any sinful games;
  And I ’ll tell in simple language what I know about the row
  That broke up our Society upon the Stanislow.
But first I would remark, that ’t is not a proper plan        5
For any scientific gent to whale his fellow-man;
  And, if a member don’t agree with his peculiar whim,
  To lay for that same member for to “put a head” on him.
Now, nothing could be finer, or more beautiful to see,
Than the first six months’ proceedings of that same society;        10
  Till Brown of Calaveras brought a lot of fossil bones
  That he found within a tunnel near the tenement of Jones.
Then Brown he read a paper, and he reconstructed there,
From those same bones, an animal that was extremely rare;
  And Jones then asked the Chair for a suspension of the rules,        15
  Till he could prove that those same bones was one of his lost mules.
Then Brown he smiled a bitter smile, and said he was at fault;
It seemed he had been trespassing on Jones’s family vault;
  He was a most sarcastic man this quiet Mr. Brown,
  And on several occasions he had cleaned out the town.        20
Now I hold it is not decent for a scientific gent
To say another is an ass,—at least, to all intent;
  Nor should the individual who happens to be meant
  Reply by heaving rocks at him to any great extent.
Then Abner Dean of Angel’s raised a point of order, when        25
A chunk of old red sandstone took him in the abdomen;
  And he smiled a kind of sickly smile, and curled upon the floor,
  And the subsequent proceedings interested him no more.
For in less time than I write it, every member did engage
In a warfare with the remnants of a palæozoic age;        30
  And the way they heaved those fossils in their anger was a sin,
  Till the skull of an old mammoth caved the head of Thompson in.
And this is all I have to say of these improper games,
For I live at Table Mountain and my name is Truthful James,
  And I ’ve told in simple language what I know about the row        35
  That broke up our Society upon the Stanislow.

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