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 New Church Organ
Will Carleton (1845–1912)
THEY ’VE got a bran new organ, Sue,
  For all their fuss and search;
They ’ve done just as they said they ’d do,
  And fetched it into church.
They ’re bound the critter shall be seen,        5
  And on the preacher’s right,
They ’ve hoisted up their new machine
  In everybody’s sight.
They ’ve got a chorister and choir,
  Ag’in my voice and vote;        10
For it was never my desire
  To praise the Lord by note!
I ’ve been a sister good an’ true,
  For five an’ thirty year;
I ’ve done what seemed my part to do,        15
  An’ prayed my duty clear;
I ’ve sung the hymns both slow and quick,
  Just as the preacher read;
And twice, when Deacon Tubbs was sick,
  I took the fork an’ led!        20
An’ now, their bold, new-fangled ways
  Is comin’ all about;
And I, right in my latter days,
  Am fairly crowded out!
To-day, the preacher, good old dear,        25
  With tears all in his eyes,
Read—“I can read my title clear
  To mansions in the skies.”—
I al’ays liked that blessèd hymn—
  I s’pose I al’ays will;        30
It somehow gratifies my whim,
  In good old Ortonville;
But when that choir got up to sing,
  I couldn’t catch a word;
They sung the most dog-gonedest thing        35
  A body ever heard!
Some worldly chaps was standin’ near,
  An’ when I see them grin,
I bid farewell to every fear,
  And boldly waded in.        40
I thought I ’d chase the tune along,
  An’ tried with all my might;
But though my voice is good an’ strong,
  I couldn’t steer it right.
When they was high, then I was low,        45
  An’ also contra’wise;
And I too fast, or they too slow,
  To “mansions in the skies.”
An’ after every verse, you know,
  They played a little tune;        50
I didn’t understand, an’ so
  I started in too soon.
I pitched it purty middlin’ high,
  And fetched a lusty tone,
But O, alas! I found that I        55
  Was singin’ there alone!
They laughed a little, I am told;
  But I had done my best;
And not a wave of trouble rolled
  Across my peaceful breast.        60
And Sister Brown,—I could but look,—
  She sits right front of me;
She never was no singin’ book,
  An’ never went to be;
But then she al’ays tried to do        65
  The best she could, she said;
She understood the time, right through,
  An’ kep’ it with her head;
But when she tried this morn in’, O,
  I had to laugh, or cough!        70
It kep’ her head a bobbin’ so,
  It e’en a’most come off!
An’ Deacon Tubbs,—he all broke down,
  As one might well suppose;
He took one look at Sister Brown,        75
  And meekly scratched his nose.
He looked his hymn-book through and through,
  And laid it on the seat,
And then a pensive sigh he drew,
  And looked completely beat.        80
An’ when they took another bout,
  He didn’t even rise;
But drawed his red bandanner out,
  An’ wiped his weepin’ eyes.
I ’ve been a sister, good an’ true,        85
  For five an’ thirty year;
I ’ve done what seemed my part to do,
  An’ prayed my duty clear;
But death will stop my voice, I know,
  For he is on my track;        90
And some day I ’ll to meetin’ go,
  And nevermore come back.
And when the folks get up to sing—
  Whene’er that time shall be—
I do not want no patent thing        95
  A squealin’ over me!

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