Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
The Courtin’
By Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894)
 
Biglow Papers

ZEKLE crep’ up quite unbeknown,
  An’ peeked in thru’ the winder,
An’ there sot Huldy all alone,
  ’Ith no one nigh to hender.
 
Agin the chimbley crook-necks hung        5
  An’ in amongst ’em rusted
The ole queen’s-arm thet gran’ther Young
  Fetched back from Concord busted.
 
The very room, coz she was in,
  Seemed warm from floor to ceilin’,        10
An’ she looked full ez rosy agin
  Ez the apples she was peelin’.
 
’Twas kin’ o’ kingdom-come to look
  On sech a blessed cretur,
A dogrose blushin’ to a brook        15
  Ain’t modester nor sweeter.
 
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.        20
 
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,        25
  When her new meetin’-bunnet
Felt somehow thru’ its crown a pair
  O’ blue eyes sot upon it.
 
Thet night, I tell ye, she looked some!
  She seemed to’ve gut a new soul,        30
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        35
  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.        40
 
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?”        45
  “Wal … no … I come dasignin’”—
“To see my Ma? She’s sprinklin’ clo’es
  Agin to-morrer’s i’nin’.”
 
To say why gals act so or so,
  Or don’t, ’ould be presumin’;        50
Mebby to mean yes an’ say no
  Comes nateral to women.
 
He stood a spell on one foot fust,
  Then stood a spell on t’other,
An’ on which one he felt the wust        55
  He couldn’t ha’ told ye nuther.
 
Says he, “I’d better call agin;”
  Says she, “Think likely, Mister;”
That last word pricked him like a pin,
  An’ … Wal, he up an’ kist her.        60
 
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        65
  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’,        70
Tell mother see how metters stood,
  And 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        75
  In meetin’ come nex’ Sunday.
 
 
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