Farmer Stebbins' Opinions

by Isabella Valancy Crawford

Isabella Valancy Crawford

NO , Parson , 'tain't bin in my style
(Nor none uv my relations)
Tew dig about the gnarly roots
Uv prophetic spekkleations,
Tew see what Malachai meant
Or Solomon wus hintin',
Or round what jog o' futur's road
Isaiah wus a-squintin'.

I've lost my rest a-keepin' out
The hogs frum our cowcumbers,
But never lost a wink, ye bet,
By "rastlin' over Numbers.
I never took no comfort, when
The year wus bald with losses,
A-spekkleatin' on them chaps
Thet rode them varus hosses.

It never gev my soul a boost,
When grief an' it wus matin',
Tew figger out thet thet thar Pope
Wus reely twins with Satan.
I took no stock in countin' up
How menny head uv cattle
Frum Egypt's ranches Moses drove;
I never fit a battle
On p'ints thet frequently giv rise
Tew pious spat an' grumble,
An' make the brethren clinch an' yell
In spiritooal rough-an'-tumble.

I never bet on Paul again
The argyments uv Peter;
I never made the good old Book
A kind uv moral teeter
Tew pass a choreless hour away,
An' get the evenin' over;
I swallered it jest as it stood,
Frum cover clar tew cover.

Hain't hed no time tew disputate,
Except with axe an' arm,
With stump an' rampike an' with stuns,
Upon my half-clared farm;
An' when sech argyments as them
Fill six days out uv seven,
A man on Sabbath wants tew crawl
By quiet ways tew Heaven.

Agin he gets the waggon out,
An' hitches up the sorrels
An' rides ten miles tew meetin', he
Ain't braced fur pious quarrels;
No, sir, he ain't! thet waggon rolls
Frum corduroy to puddle,
An' thet thar farmer gets his brains
Inter an easy muddle.

His back is stiff frum six days' toil—
So God takes hold an' preaches
In boughs uv rustlin' maple an'
In whisperin' leaves uv beeches.
Sez He tew thet thar farmin' chap
(Likewise tew the old woman),
"I guess I'm built tew comprehend
Thet you an' her be's human.

"So jest take hold on this here day,
Recowperate yer muscle;
Let up a mite this day on toil,
'Tain't made fur holy bustle.
Let them old sorrels jog along
With mighty slack-like traces,
Half dreamin', es My sunbeams fleck
Their venerable faces.

"I guess they did their share uv work
Since Monday's dew wus hoary;
Don't try tew lick 'em tew a trot
Upon the road tew Glory;
Jest let 'em laze a spell whar thick
My lily-buds air blowin',
An' whar My trees cast shadders on
My silver cricklet flowin'.

"An' while their red, rough tongues push back
The stems uv reed an' lily,
Jest let 'em dream uv them thar days
When they wus colt an' filly,
An' spekkleate, es fetlock deep
They eye My cool crick flowin',
On whar I loosed it frum My hand,
Whar be its crisp waves goin';
An' how in snow-white lily cup
I built them yaller fires,
An' bronzed them reeds thet rustle up
Agin the waggon tires;

"An' throw a forrard eye along
Whar thet bush roadway passes,
A-spekkleating on the chance
Uv nibbling roadside grasses.
Jest let them lines rest on their necks—
Restrain yer moral twitters—
An' paste this note inside yer hat:
I talk tew all My critters,

"Be they on four legs or on two,
In broadcloth, scales or feathers,
No matter what may be the length
Uv all their mental tethers,
In ways mayn't suit the minds uv them
Thet thinks themselves their betters,—
I talk tew them in simple style
In words uv jest three letters,
Spelled out in lily-blow an' reed,
In soft winds on them blowin',
In juicy grass by wayside streams,
In coolin' waters flowin'.
"An' so jest let them sorrels laze
My ripplin' silver creek in;
They're listenin' in their own dumb way,
An' I, Myself, am speakin'."

Last updated April 01, 2023