Old Hec's Idolatry

Heigh-O! our jolly tilts at New World song! —
What was the poem indeed! and where the bard —
" Stabbing his ink-pot ever, not his heart, "
As Hector phrased it contumeliously,
Mouthing and munching, at the orchard-stile,
A water-cored rambo whose spirted juice
Glanced, sprayed and flecked the sunlight as he mouth'd
And muncht, and muncht and mouth'd. All loved the man!
" Our Hector " as his Alma Mater oozed
It into utterance — " Old Hec " said we
Who knew him, hide-and-tallow, hoof-and-horn!
So he: " O ay! my soul! our New World song —
The tweedle-deedles of our modern school —
A school of minnows, — not one gamy bass —
To hook the angler, not the angler him.
Here! all ye little fishes: tweedle-dee!
Soh! one — along the vasty stream of time —
Glints to the surface with a gasp, — and, lo,
A bubble! and he thinks, " My eye! — see there,
Ye little fishes, — there's a song I've sung!"
Another gapes: another bubble; then
He thinks: " Well, is it not a wondrous art
To breathe a great immortal poem like that!"
And then another — and another still —
And yet another, — till from brim to brim
The tide is postuled over with a pest
Of bubbles — bursting bubbles! Ay! O ay! "
So, bluff old Hec. And we, who knew his mood
Had ramped its worst — unless we roused it yet
To ire's horiffickest insanity
By some inane, unguarded reference
To " verse beragged in Hoosier dialect " —
(A strangely unforgotten coinage of
Old Hec's, long years agone) — we, so, forbore
A word, each glimpsing each, as down we sank,
Couched limply in the orchard's selvage, where —
The rambo finished and the soggy core
Zippt at a sapphire wasp with waist more slim
Than any slender lady's, of old wars,
Pent fasting for long sennights in tall towers
That overtop the undercringing seas —
With one accordant voice, the while he creased
His scroll of manuscript, we said, " Go on. "
Then Hector thus:
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