Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
James Russell Lowell. 1819–1891
126. The Courtin'
GOD makes sech nights, all white an' still 
  Fur 'z you can look or listen, 
Moonshine an' snow on field an' hill, 
  All silence an' all glisten. 
Zekle crep' up quite unbeknown         5
  An' peeked in thru' the winder, 
An' there sot Huldy all alone, 
  'ith no one nigh to hender. 
A fireplace filled the room's one side 
  With half a cord o' wood in—  10
There warn't no stoves (tell comfort died) 
  To bake ye to a puddin'. 
The wa'nut logs shot sparkles out 
  Towards the pootiest, bless her, 
An' leetle flames danced all about  15
  The chiny on the dresser. 
Agin the chimbley crook-necks hung, 
  An' in amongst 'em rusted 
The ole queen's-arm thet gran'ther Young 
  Fetched back f'om Concord busted.  20
The very room, coz she was in, 
  Seemed warm f'om floor to ceilin', 
An' she looked full ez rosy agin 
  Ez the apples she was peelin'. 
'T was kin' o' kingdom-come to look  25
  On sech a blessed cretur, 
A dogrose blushin' to a brook 
  Ain't modester nor sweeter. 
He was six foot o' man, A 1, 
  Clear grit an' human natur';  30
None could n't quicker pitch a ton 
  Nor dror a furrer straighter. 
He 'd sparked it with full twenty gals, 
  He 'd squired 'em, danced 'em, druv 'em, 
Fust this one, an' then thet, by spells—  35
  All is, he could n't love 'em. 
But long o' her his veins 'ould run 
  All crinkly like curled maple, 
The side she breshed felt full o' sun 
  Ez a south slope in Ap'il.  40
She thought no v'ice hed sech a swing 
  Ez hisn in the choir; 
My! when he made Ole Hunderd ring, 
  She knowed the Lord was nigher. 
An' she 'd blush scarlit, right in prayer,  45
  When her new meetin'-bunnet 
Felt somehow thru' its crown a pair 
  O' blue eyes sot upun it. 
Thet night, I tell ye, she looked some! 
  She seemed to 've gut a new soul,  50
For she felt sartin-sure he 'd come, 
  Down to her very shoe-sole. 
She heered a foot, an' knowed it tu, 
  A-raspin' on the scraper,— 
All ways to once her feelin's flew  55
  Like sparks in burnt-up paper. 
He kin' o' l'itered on the mat, 
  Some doubtfle o' the sekle, 
His heart kep' goin' pity-pat, 
  But hern went pity Zekle.  60
An' yit she gin her cheer a jerk 
  Ez though she wished him furder, 
An' on her apples kep' to work, 
  Parin' away like murder. 
"You want to see my Pa, I s'pose?"  65
  "Wal .... no .... I come dasignin'"— 
"To see my Ma? She 's sprinklin' clo'es 
  Agin to-morrer's i'nin'." 
To say why gals acts so or so, 
  Or don't, 'ould be presumin';  70
Mebby to mean yes an' say no 
  Comes nateral to women. 
He stood a spell on one foot fast, 
  Then stood a spell on t' other, 
An' on which one he felt the wust  75
  He could n't ha' told ye nuther. 
Says he, "I 'd better call agin"; 
  Says she, "Think likely, Mister": 
Thet last word pricked him like a pin, 
  An' .... Wal, he up an' kist her.  80
When Ma bimeby upon 'em slips, 
  Huldy sot pale ez ashes, 
All kin' o' smily roun' the lips 
  An' teary roun' the lashes. 
For she was jes' the quiet kind  85
  Whose naturs never vary, 
Like streams that keep a summer mind 
  Snowhid in Jenooary. 
The blood clost roun' her heart felt glued 
  Too tight for all expressin',  90
Tell mother see how metters stood, 
  An' gin 'em both her blessin'. 
Then her red come back like the tide 
  Down to the Bay o' Fundy, 
An' all I know is they was cried  95
  In meetin' come nex' Sunday. 

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