Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > American
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. I–V: American
 
The Romance of the Carpet
By Robert Jones Burdette (1844–1914)
 
BASKING in peace in the warm spring sun,
South Hill smiled upon Burlington.
 
The breath of May! and the day was fair,
And the bright motes danced in the balmy air.
 
And the sunlight gleamed where the restless breeze        5
Kissed the fragrant blooms on the apple-trees.
 
His beardless cheek with a smile was spanned,
As he stood with a carriage-whip in his hand.
 
And he laughed as he doffed his bobtail coat,
And the echoing folds of the carpet smote.        10
 
And she smiled as she leaned on her busy mop,
And said she’d tell him when to stop.
 
So he pounded away till the dinner-bell
Gave him a little breathing spell.
 
But he sighed when the kitchen clock struck one,        15
And she said the carpet wasn’t done.
 
But he lovingly put in his biggest licks,
And he pounded like mad till the clock struck six.
 
And she said, in a dubious kind of way,
That she guessed he could finish it up next day.        20
 
Then all that day, and the next day, too,
That fuzz from the dirtless carpet flew.
 
And she’d give it a look at eventide,
And say, “Now beat on the other side.”
 
And the new days came as the old days went,        25
And the landlord came for his regular rent.
 
And the neighbors laughed at the tireless broom,
And his face was shadowed with clouds of gloom.
 
Till at last, one cheerless winter day,
He kicked at the carpet and slid away—        30
 
Over the fence and down the street,
Speeding away with footsteps fleet.
 
And never again the morning sun
Smiled on him beating his carpet-drum.
 
And South Hill often said with a yawn,        35
“Where’s the carpet-martyr gone?”
 
Years twice twenty had come and passed,
And the carpet swayed in the autumn blast.
 
For never yet, since that bright spring-time,
Had it ever been taken down from the line.        40
 
Over the fence a gray-haired man
Cautiously clim, clome, clem, clum, clamb.
 
He found him a stick in the old woodpile,
And he gathered it up with a sad, grim smile.
 
A flush passed over his face forlorn        45
As he gazed at the carpet, tattered and torn.
 
And he hit it a most resounding thwack,
Till the startled air gave his echoes back.
 
And out of the window a white face leaned,
And a palsied hand the pale face screened.        50
 
She knew his face; she gasped, and sighed,
“A little more on the other side.”
 
Right down on the ground his stick he throwed,
And he shivered, and said, “Well, I am blowed!”
 
And he turned away, with a heart full sore,        55
And he never was seen not more, not more.
 
 
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