Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman
   English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
806. The Pious Editor’s Creed
James Russell Lowell (1819–1891)
I DU believe in Freedom’s cause,
  Ez fur away ez Payris is;
I love to see her stick her claws
  In them infarnal Phayrisees;
It’s wal enough agin a king        5
  To dror resolves an’ triggers,—
But libbaty’s a kind o’ thing
  Thet don’t agree with niggers.
I du believe the people want
  A tax on teas an’ coffees,        10
Thet nothin’ aint extravygunt,—
  Purvidin’ I’m in office;
Fer I her loved my country sence
  My eye-teeth filled their sockets,
An’ Uncle Sam I reverence,        15
  Partic’larly his pockets.
I du believe in any plan
  O’ levyin’ the taxes,
Ez long ez, like a lumberman,
  I git jest wut I axes;        20
I go free-trade thru thick an’ thin,
  Because it kind o’ rouses
The folks to vote,—an’ keeps us in
  Our quiet custom-houses.
I du believe it’s wise an’ good        25
  To sen’ out furrin missions,
Thet is, on sartin understood
  An’ orthydox conditions;—
I mean nine thousan’ dolls. per ann.,
  Nine thousan’ more fer outfit,        30
An’ me to recommend a man
  The place ’ould jest about fit.
I du believe in special ways
  O’ prayin’ an’ convartin’;
The bread comes back in many days,        35
  An’ buttered, tu, fer sartin;
I mean in preyin’ till one busts
  On wut the party chooses,
An’ in convartin’ public trusts
  To very privit uses.        40
I du believe hard coin the stuff
  Fer ’lectioneers to spout on;
The people’s ollers soft enough
  To make hard money out on;
Dear Uncle Sam pervides fer his,        45
  An’ gives a good-sized junk to all,—
I don’t care how hard money is,
  Ez long ez mine’s paid punctooal.
I du believe with all my soul
  In the gret Press’s freedom,        50
To pint the people to the goal
  An’ in the traces lead ’em;
Palsied the arm thet forges yokes
  At my fat contracts squintin’,
An’ withered be the nose thet pokes        55
  Inter the gov’ment printin’!
I du believe thet I should give
  Wut’s his’n unto Cæsar,
Fer it’s by him I move an’ live,
  Frum him my bread an’ cheese air;        60
I du believe thet all o’ me
  Doth bear his superscription,—
Will, conscience, honor, honesty,
  An’ things o’ thet description.
I du believe in prayer an’ praise        65
  To him thet hez the grantin’
O’ jobs,—in every thin’ thet pays,
  But most of all in CANTIN’;
This doth my cup with marcies fill,
  This lays all thought o’ sin to rest,        70
I don’t believe in princerple,
  But oh, I du in interest.
I du believe in bein’ this
  Or thet, ez it may happen
One way or ’t other hendiest is        75
  To ketch the people nappin’;
It aint by princerples nor men
  My preudunt course is steadied,—
I scent wich pays the best, an’ then
  Go into it baldheaded.        80
I du believe thet holdin’ slaves
  Comes nat’ral to a Presidunt,
Let ’lone the rowdedow it saves
  To hev a wal-broke precedunt;
Fer any office, small or gret,        85
  I couldn’t ax with no face,
’uthout I’d ben, thru dry an’ wet,
  Th’ unrizzest kind o’ doughface.
I du believe wutever trash
  ’ll keep the people in blindness,        90
Thet we the Mexicuns can thrash
  Right inter brotherly kindness,
Thet bombshells, grape, an’ powder ’n’ ball
  Air good-will’s strongest magnets,
Thet peace, to make it stick at all,        95
  Must be druv in with bagnets.
In short, I firmly du believe
  In Humbug generally,
Fer it’s a thing thet I perceive
  To hev a solid vally;        100
This heth my faithful shepherd ben,
  In pasturs sweet heth led me,
An’ this ’ll keep the people green
  To feed ez they hev fed me.

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