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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 Pious Editor’s Creed

By James Russell Lowell (1819–1891)

[From The Biglow Papers. First Series. 1848.]

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

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,

Thet nothin’ aint extravygunt,—

Purvidin’ I’m in office;

Fer I hev loved my country sence

My eye-teeth filled their sockets,

An’ Uncle Sam I reverence,

Partic’larly his pockets.

I du believe in any plan

O’ levyin’ the taxes,

Ez long ez, like a lumberman,

I git jes wut I axes;

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

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,

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,

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.

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,

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 great Press’s freedom,

To pint the people to the goal

An’ in the traces lend ’em;

Palsied the arm thet forges yokes

At my fat contracts squintin’,

An’ withered be the nose that pokes

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;

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

To him thet hez the grantin’

O’ jobs,—in everythin’ thet pays,

But most of all in CANTIN’;

This doth my cup with marcies fill,

This lays all thought o’ sin to rest,—

I don’t believe in princerple,

But O, I du in interest.

I du believe in bein’ this

Or thet, ez it may happen

One way or t’other hendiest is

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.

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,

I couldn’t ax with no face,

Without I’d ben, thru dry an’ wet,

Th’ unrizzest kind o’ doughface.

I du believe wutever trash

’ll keep the people in blindness,—

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,

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;

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.