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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Jerry an’ Me

By Hiram Rich (b. 1831)

[Born in Gloucester, Mass. The Atlantic Monthly. 1872.]

NO matter how the chances are,

Nor when the winds may blow,

My Jerry there has left the sea

With all its luck an’ woe:

For who would try the sea at all,

Must try it luck or no.

They told him—Lor’, men take no care

How words they speak may fall—

They told him blunt, he was too old,

Too slow with oar an’ trawl,

An’ this is how he left the sea

An’ luck an’ woe an’ all.

Take any man on sea or land

Out of his beaten way,

If he is young ’twill do, but then,

If he is old an’ gray,

A month will be a year to him,

Be all to him you may.

He sits by me, but most he walks

The door-yard for a deck,

An’ scans the boat a-goin’ out

Till she becomes a speck,

Then turns away, his face as wet

As if she were a wreck.

The men who haul the net an’ line

Are never rich; an’ you,

My Johnny here,—a grown-up man,—

Is man an’ baby too,

An’ we have naught for rainy days,

An’ rainy days are due.

My Jerry, diffident, abroad

Is restless as a brook,

An’ when he left the boat an’ all,

Home had an empty look;

But I will win him by an’ by

To like the window-nook.

I cannot bring him back again,

The days when we were wed.

But he shall never know—my man—

The lack o’ love or bread,

While I can cast a stitch or fill

A needleful o’ thread.

God pity me, I’d most forgot

How many yet there be,

Whose goodmen full as old as mine

Are somewhere on the sea,

Who hear the breakin’ bar an’ think

O’ Jerry home an’—me.