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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

The Country Lovers

By Thomas Green Fessenden (1771–1837)

[Born in Walpole, N. H., 1771. Died in Boston, Mass., 1837. From Original Poems. 1806.]

A MERRY tale I will rehearse,

As ever you did hear, sir,

How Jonathan set out, so fierce,

To see his dearest dear, sir.

Yankee doodle, keep it up,

Yankee doodle dandy,

Mind the music—mind the step,

And with the girls be handy.

His father gave him bran new suit,

And money, sir, in plenty,

Besides a prancing nag to boot,

When he was one-and-twenty.

Moreover, sir, I’d have you know,

That he had got some knowledge,

Enough for common use, I trow,

But had not been at college.

A hundred he could count, ’tis said,

And in the bible read, sir,

And by good Christian parents bred,

Could even say the creed, sir.

He’d been to school to Master Drawl,

To spell a-bom-in-a-ble,

And when he miss’d, he had to crawl,

Straight under master’s table.

One day his mother said to him,

“My darling son, come here,

Come fix you up, so neat and trim,

And go a courting, dear.”

“Why, what the deuce does mother want?

I snigs—I daresn’t go;

I shall get funn’d—and then—plague on’t.

Folks will laugh at me so!”

“Pho! pho! fix up, a courting go,

To see the deacon’s Sarah,

Who’ll have a hundred pound, you know,

As soon as she does marry.”

Then Jonathan, in best array,

Mounted his dappled nag, sir;

But trembled, sadly, all the way,

Lest he should get the bag, sir.

He mutter’d as he rode along,

Our Jotham overheard, sir,

And if ’twill jingle in my song,

I’ll tell you every word, sir.

“I wonder mother ’ll make me go,

Since girls I am afraid of;

I never know’d, nor want to know,

What sort of stuff they’re made of.

“A wife would make good housen stuff,

If she were downright clever,

And Sal would suit we well enough,

If she would let me have her.

“But then, I shan’t know what to say,

When we are left together,

I’d rather lie in stack of hay,

In coldest winter weather.”

He reach’d the house, as people say,

Not far from eight o’clock, sir;

And Joel hollow’d “in, I say,”

As soon as he did knock, sir.

He made of bows ’twixt two and three,

Just as his mother taught him,

All which were droll enough to see:

You’d think the cramp had caught him.

At length came in the deacon’s Sal

From milking at the barn, sir;

And faith she is as good a gal

As ever twisted yarn, sir.

For she knows all about affairs,

Can wash, and bake, and brew, sir,

Sing “Now I lay me,” say her prayers,

And make a pudding too, sir.

To Boston market she has been

On horse, and in a wagon,

And many pretty things has seen,

Which every one can’t brag on.

She’s courted been, by many a lad,

And knows how sparking’s done, sir,

With Jonathan she was right glad

To have a little fun, sir.

The ladies all, as I should guess,

And many a lady’s man, sir,

Would wish to know about her dress;

I’ll tell them all I can, sir.

Her wrapper, gray, was not so bad,

Her apron check’d with blue, sir,

One stocking on one foot she had,

On t’other foot a shoe, sir.

Now, should a Boston lady read,

Of Sally’s shoe and stocking,

She’d say a “monstrous slut, indeed,

Oh la!—she is quite shocking!”

You fine Miss Boston lady, gay,

For this your speech, I thank ye,

Call on me, when you come this way,

And take a drachm of Yankee.

Now Jonathan did scratch his head,

When first he saw his dearest;

Got up—sat down—and nothing said,

But felt about the queerest:

Then talk’d with Sally’s brother Joe

’Bout sheep, and cows, and oxen,

How wicked folks to church did go,

With dirty woollen frocks on.

And how a witch, in shape of owl,

Did steal her neighbor’s geese, sir,

And turkies too, and other fowl,

When people did not please her.

And how a man, one dismal night,

Shot her with silver bullet,

And then she flew straight out of sight,

As fast as she could pull it.

How Widow Wunks was sick next day,

The parson went to view her,

And saw the very place, they say,

Where forsaid ball went through her!

And now the people went to bed:

They guess’d for what he’d come, sir;

But Jonathan was much afraid,

And wish’d himself at home, sir.

At length, says Sal, “they’re gone, you see,

And we are left together;”

Says Jonathan, “indeed—they be—

’Tis mighty pleasant weather!”

Sal cast a sheep’s eye at the dunce,

Then turn’d towards the fire;

He muster’d courage, all at once,

And hitch’d a little nigher.

Ye young men all, and lads so smart,

Who chance to read these vasses,

His next address pray learn by heart,

To whisper to the lasses.

“Miss Sal, I’s going to say, as how,

We’ll spark it here to-night,

I kind of love you, Sal, I vow,

And mother said I might.”

Then Jonathan, as we are told,

Did even think to smack her;

Sal cock’d her chin, and look’d so bold,

He did not dare attack her!

“Well done, my man, you’ve broke the ice,

And that with little pother,

Now, Jonathan, take my advice,

And always mind your mother!

“This courting is a kind of job

I always did admire, sir,

And these two brands, with one dry cob,

Will make a courting fire, sir.”

“Miss Sal, you are the very she,

If you will love me now,

That I will marry—then, you see,

You’ll have our brindled cow.

“Then we will live, both I and you,

In father’s t’other room,

For that will sartin hold us two,

When we’ve mov’d out the loom.

“Next Sabbath-day we will be cried,

And have a ‘taring’ wedding,

And lads and lasses take a ride,

If it should be good sledding.

“My father has a nice bull calf,

Which shall be yours, my sweet one;

’Twill weigh two hundred and a half,”

Says Sal, “well, that’s a neat one.

“Your father’s full of fun, d’ye see,

And faith, I likes his sporting,

To send his fav’rite calf to me,

His nice bull calf a courting.

“Are you the lad who went to town,

Put on your streaked trouses,

Then vow’d you could not see the town,

There were so many houses?”

Our lover hung his under lip,

He thought she meant to joke him;

Like heartless hen that has the pip,

His courage all forsook him.

For he to Boston town had been,

As matters here are stated;

Came home and told what he had seen,

As Sally has related.

And now he wish’d he could retreat,

But dar’d not make a racket;

It seem’d as if his heart would beat

The buttons off his jacket!

Sal ask’d him “if his heart was whole?”

His chin began to quiver;

He said, he felt so deuced droll,

He guess’d he’d lost his liver!

Now Sal was scar’d out of her wits

To see his trepidation,

She bawl’d “he’s going into fits,”

And scamper’d like the nation!

A pail of water she did throw

All on her trembling lover,

Which wet the lad from top to toe,

Like drowned rat all over.

Then Jonathan straight hied him home,

And since I’ve heard him brag, sir,

That though the jade did wet him some,

He didn’t get the bag, sir!

Yankee doodle, keep it up,

Yankee doodle dandy,

Mind the music, mind the step,

And with the girls be handy!