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Poem by Bayard Taylor

The Ballad of Hiram Hover

WHERE the Moosatockmaguntic
Pours its water in the Skuntic,
    Met, along the forest side 
    Hiram Hover, Huldah Hyde.

She, a maiden fair and dapper,
He, a red-haired, stalwart trapper,
    Hunting beaver, mink and skunk 
    In the woodlands of Squeedunk.

She, Pentucket's pensive daughter,
Walked beside the Skuntic water
    Gathering, in her apron wet, 
    Snake-root, mint, and bouncing-bet.

"Why," he murmured, loth to leave her,
"Gather yarbs for chills and fever,
    When a lovyer bold and true, 
    Only waits to gather you?"

"Go," she answered, "I'm not hasty,
I prefer a man more tasty;
    Leastways, one to please me well 
    Should not have a beastly smell."

"Haughty Huldah!" Hiram answered,
"Mind and heart alike are cankered;
    Jest look here! these peltries give 
    Cash, wherefrom a pair may live.

"I, you think, am but a vagrant,
Trapping beasts by no means fragrant;
    Yet, I'm sure it's worth a thank-- 
    I've a handsome sum in bank."

Turned and vanished Hiram Hover,
And, before the year was over,
    Huldah, with the yarbs she sold, 
    Bought a cape against the cold.

Black and thick the furry cape was,
Of a stylish cut the shape was;
    And the girls, in all the town, 
    Envied Huldah up and down.

Then at last, one winter morning,
Hiram came without a warning.
    "Either," said he, "you are blind, 
    Huldah, or you've changed your mind.

"Me you snub for trapping varmints,
Yet you take the skins for garments;
    Since you wear the skunk and mink, 
    There's no harm in me, I think."

"Well," said she, "we will not quarrel,
Hiram; I accept the moral,
    Now the fashion's so I guess 
    I can't hardly do no less."

Thus the trouble all was over
Of the love of Hiram Hover.
    Thus he made sweet Huldah Hyde 
    Huldah Hover as his bride.

Love employs, with equal favor,
Things of good and evil savor;
    That which first appeared to part, 
    Warmed, at last, the maiden's heart.

Under one impartial banner,
Life the hunter, Love the tanner,
    Draw, from every beast they snare 
    Comfort for a wedded pair!

Bayard Taylor

Bayard Taylor's other poems:
  1. The Return of the Goddess
  2. Gettysburg Ode
  3. America to Iceland
  4. To M. T.
  5. Daughter of Egypt

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