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The Lovely Young Man Post by :garys_pdx Category :Poems Author :Will Carleton Date :November 2011 Read :598

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The Lovely Young Man

Oh the elements varied--the exquisite plan--
That are used in constructing the lovely young man!
His face he has easily made to possess
The expression of nothing within to express;
His hair is oiled glossily back of his ears,
Atop of his head an equator appears;
His scanty mustache has symmetrical bends,
Is groomed with precision, and waxed at both ends;
His darling complexion, bewitching to see,
Is powdered the same as a lady's might be.
And this is the dear whom the newspapers rude
Have scornfully treated, and christened the ----.

The mental equipment I'll tell, if I can,
That Nature has given the lovely young man:
A set of emotions consistently weak,
To go with a creature so gentle and meek;
A will no opposing can break or surmount
(Concerning all matters of no great account);
A reasoning wheel, quite correctly revolved
(When used on small questions already resolved);
A taste for each gaudy and glistening thing
That grows on the vision and dies on the wing.
Elaborate methods and principles crude
Encompass the mental estate of the ----.

(Illustration: "I REACHED MY HAND DOWN FOR IT AND IT STOPPED.")

The outer habiliments hastily scan,
Employed in adorning the lovely young man!
His feet two triangular cases have sought,
By which his five toes to a focus are brought;
The sheathes that enfold his propellers within
Are on the most intimate terms with his skin;
His starch-tortured collar on tip-toe appears,
Desirous of learning the length of his ears;
And fifteen-sixteenths of his brain, very nigh,
Has run all to blossom and stopped in his tie.
Such some of the splendors mad Fashion has strewed
All over the surface comprising the ----.

Oh measure the brief philological span
Of the high-pressure words of the lovely young man!--
"B' Jauve! you daun't sayh saw! youah playing it low!
Aw, auyn't she a daisy! I knaw her, y' knaw.
She's thweet on me, somehow, though why I dawn't say,
It cawn't be my beauty, it must be my way!
Did you notith, laust night, Chawley Johnson's neck-tie?
It paralyzed me, and I thought I should d-i-e!
He's quite a sound fellaw to talk to awhile;
It's weally a pity he isn't our style!"
And thus talks forever, with slight interlude,
The creature that lately was christened a ----.

Oh boys! there are several hundreds of ways
To make yourselves small to the average gaze;
Of which some will cost you considerably less,
Accomplishing nearly an equal success.
Go purchase a gilded hand-organ some day,
And stand on the corner and solemnly play;
Envelop yourselves in the skin of an ape,
Assuming his methods as well, as his shape;
Submit to refined zoological charms,
And carry a lap-dog about in your arms;
But don't let Destruction upon you intrude.
So far as to make you down into a ----.

* * * * *

I think I saw, a minute's half or less,
The young girl who composed this spiteful mess;
She watched me pick it up, made a half rush
Toward me, and then retreated with a blush.
I called, before she vanished from my vision,
"My dear, I think you've lost your composition!"
But she dodged off, as if she seemed to doubt it,
And, I suppose, went on to school without it.

* * * * *

Pacing the question over, far and near,
I think the little maid was too severe.
Sweet Charity can roof much sin, they tell,
Why shouldn't it shelter foolishness as well?
When we draw rein and look about a minute,
We see no field but God is somewhere in it;
He made the eagle and the lion, I've heard;
Why not the monkey and the chipping-bird?

* * * * *


(From Arthur Selwyn's Note-book.)

Pavement and window and wall
What is the cost of you all?
Parlor and boudoir and stair,
Crowded with furniture rare;
Gems from the mountains and seas,
Spires that out-measure the trees;
Chamber and palace and hall--
What is the price of you all?

(Voices.)
What did we cost? Bend ear;
What did we cost? Now hear.

Several millions men,
There in the field and fen.
Look! they are stripped and grim,
Sturdy of voice and limb.
Painfully, now, they toil
Into the sullen soil;
Stabbing the hills and meads,
Planting the silent seeds.
Into each streaming face
Glides the hot sun apace.
You in the thoughtful guise,
You with the dreamy eyes--
"Why do you labor so?
Where do your earnings go?--
"A goodly part to the rulers that form the powers that be;
A modest part, if lucky, for my family and for me;
And all the rest for the splendors that fringe the river and sea.
"

(Voices.)
What did we cost? Bend ear;
What did we cost? Now hear.

Listen! the factory wall
Sends out its morning call.
Hear the machinery's din;
Look at the folks within.
Child with a poor, pale face;
Woman with hurried grace;
Man with the look half wise;
Girl with the handsome eyes.
How the long spindles whirl!
How the rich webs unfurl!
Maid with the orbs that quiver
With light from "Over the River,"(1)
Why are you toiling so?
Where do your wages go?--
"A goodly part to the owners, whoever they may be;
A little part to the living of those I love and me;
And all the rest to the cities that gem the river and sea.
"

(1) As is well known, the weird, inimitable poem, "Over the
River," was written by a factory girl.

(Voices.)
What do we cost? Now hear;
Hearken, with eye and ear.

Several thousand men,
There in the hill and glen;
Forward, march! Take aim!
Fire! now a storm of flame!
Shriek and curse and shout;
Death-beds lying about.
Man with the kingly face,
There in that gory place
Bleeding and writhing so
(Well a moment ago),
Tell me, in mangled tones--
Tell us, amid your groans,
What do they buy with war?
What were you fighting for?--
"For country and for glory, and for the powers that be;
To deck with pride and honor the family dear to me;
And to defend our cities that gem the river and sea.
"

(Voices.)
What do we cost? Bend ear:
No; you will never hear.

 

(From Farmer Harrington's Calendar.)

NOVEMBER 1, 18--.

Wind north-east; weather getting cross and cool;
Wife and the children gone to Sunday-school.
And I--not very well--am home again,
Holding a conversation with my pen.
And all that I can make it say to me
Is Wealth, wealth, wealth! how much I hear and see!
Strange, how, on human brains, sixteen times o'er,
Is stamped and carved the magic word of More!
Some several thousands to my credit lie
In a small bank on Wall Street, handy by;
But I can't help contriving what I'd do
If I possessed the whole Sub-Treasury too;
Or if I had (to take a modest tone)
A million million dollars, all my own!

The subject took so strong a growth in me,
I overtalked the same, last night, at tea;(2)
And so my oldest daughter (who can rhyme,
And strikes some notes that with her father's chime)
Became with that same foolishness possessed,
So much so that it would not let her rest,
But hung about her bedside all the night
And brought its capabilities in sight.
So much so that she threw it into verse
As bad as that her father writes--or worse.
And then, with some unconscious girlish grace,
And blushes chasing all about her face,
She, in a way I've learned to understand
Quite accident'ly, slipped it in my hand.
It was not made in public to appear,
But, privately, I'll paste it right in here:


(2) Our dinner is at noon; our supper, six,
We have not yet learned all the city tricks.


(The end)
Will Carleton's poem: Lovely Young Man

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