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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Old John Henry
By James Whitcomb Riley (1849–1916)
 
OLD JOHN’S jes’ made o’ the commonest stuff—
            Old John Henry—
He’s tough, I reckon,—but none too tough—
Too tough though’s better than not enough!
            Says old John Henry.        5
He does his best, and when his best’s bad,
He don’t fret none, ner he don’t git sad—
He simply ’lows it’s the best he had:
            Old John Henry!
 
His doctern’s jes’ o’ the plainest brand—        10
            Old John Henry—
A smilin’ face and a hearty hand—
’S religen ’at all folks understand,
            Says old John Henry.
He’s stove up some with the rhumatiz,        15
And they hain’t no shine on them shoes o’ his,
And his hair hain’t cut—but his eye-teeth is:
            Old John Henry!
 
He feeds hisse’f when the stock’s all fed—
            Old John Henry—        20
And sleeps like a babe when he goes to bed—
And dreams o’ Heaven and home-made bread,
            Says old John Henry.
He hain’t refined as he’d ort to be
To fit the statutes o’ poetry,        25
Ner his clothes don’t fit him—but he fits me:
            Old John Henry!
 
 
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