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Will Carleton

Things at home are crossways, and Betsy and I are out.

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To appreciate heaven well, it's good for a person to have some fifteen minutes of hell.

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Over all our happy country - over all our Nation spread, Is a band of noble heroes - is our Army of the Dead.

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If there's a heaven upon the earth, a fellow knows it when He's been away from home a week, and then gets back again.

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But I have learned a thing or two; I know as sure as fate, when we lock up our lives for wealth, the gold key comes too late.

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Worm or beetle - drought or tempest - on a farmer's land may fall, Each is loaded full o' ruin, but a mortgage beats 'em all.

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I've watched my duty, straight an' true, an' tried to do it well; Part of the time kept heaven in view, An' part steered clear of hell.

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The Doctor's Story

Good folks ever will have their way
Good folks ever for it must pay.

But we, who are here and everywhere,
The burden of their faults must bear.

We must shoulder others' shame,
Fight their follies, and take their blame:

Purge the body, and humor the mind;
Doctor the eyes when the soul is blind;

Build the column of health erect
On the quicksands of neglect:

Always shouldering others' shame-
Bearing their faults and taking the blame!

Deacon Rogers, he came to me;
"Wife is a-goin' to die," said he.

[...] Read more

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How Betsey and I Made Up

GIVE us your hand, Mr. Lawyer: how do you do to-day?
You drew up that paper—I s'pose you want your pay.
Don't cut down your figures; make it an X or a V;
For that 'ere written agreement was just the makin' of me.

Goin' home that evenin' I tell you I was blue,
Thinkin' of all my troubles, and what I was goin' to do;
And if my hosses hadn't been the steadiest team alive,
They'd 've tipped me over, certain, for I couldn't see where to drive.

No—for I was laborin' under a heavy load;
No—for I was travelin' an entirely different road;
For I was a-tracin' over the path of our lives ag'in,
And seein' where we missed the way, and where we might have been.

And many a corner we'd turned that just to a quarrel led,
When I ought to 've held my temper, and driven straight ahead;
And the more I thought it over the more these memories came,
And the more I struck the opinion that I was the most to blame.

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Betsey and I Are Out

Draw up the papers, lawyer, and make 'em good and stout;
For things at home are crossways, and Betsey and I are out.
We, who have worked together so long as man and wife,
Must pull in single harness for the rest of our nat'ral life.

"What is the matter?" say you. I swan it's hard to tell!
Most of the years behind us we've passed by very well;
I have no other woman, she has no other man—
Only we've lived together as long as we ever can.

So I have talked with Betsey, and Betsey has talked with me,
And so we've agreed together that we can't never agree;
Not that we've catched each other in any terrible crime;
We've been a-gathering this for years, a little at a time.

There was a stock of temper we both had for a start,
Although we never suspected 'twould take us two apart;
I had my various failings, bred in the flesh and bone;
And Betsey, like all good women, had a temper of her own.

[...] Read more

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