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Young People's Pride   By: (1898-1943)

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By Stephen Vincent Benêt

Illustrations By Henry Raleigh

Copyright, 1922 By Henry Holt And Company

First printing, August 1922


If I were sly, I'd steal for you that cobbled hill, Montmartre, Josephine's embroidered shoes, St. Louis' oriflamme, The river on grey evenings and the bluebell glass of Chartres, And four sarcastic gargoyles from the roof of Notre Dame.

That wouldn't be enough, though, enough nor half a part; There'd be shells because they're sorrowful, and pansies since they're wise, The smell of rain on lilac bloom, less fragrant than your heart, And that small blossom of your name, as steadfast as your eyes.

Sapphires, pirates, sandalwood, porcelains, sonnets, pearls, Sunsets gay as Joseph's coat and seas like milky jade, Dancing at your birthday like a mermaid's dancing curls If my father'd only brought me up to half a decent trade!

Nothing I can give you nothing but the rhymes Nothing but the empty speech, the idle words and few, The mind made sick with irony you helped so many times, The strengthless water of the soul your truthfulness kept true.

Take the little withered things and neither laugh nor cry Gifts to make a sick man glad he's going out like sand They and I are yours, you know, as long as there's an I. Take them for the ages. Then they may not shame your hand.

"... For there groweth in great abundance in this land a small flower, much blown about by winds, named 'Young People's Pride'..."

DYCER'S Herbal



It is one of Johnny Chipman's parties at the Harlequin Club, and as usual the people the other people have been asked to meet are late and as usual Johnny is looking hesitatingly around at those already collected with the nervous kindliness of an absent minded menagerie trainer who is trying to make a happy family out of a wombat, a porcupine, and two small Scotch terriers because they are all very nice and he likes them all and he can't quite remember at the moment just where he got hold of any of them. This evening he has been making an omelet of youngest. K. Ricky French, the youngest Harvard playwright to learn the tricks of C43, a Boston exquisite, impeccably correct from his club tie to the small gold animal on his watch chain, is almost coming to blows with Slade Wilson, the youngest San Francisco cartoonist to be tempted East by a big paper and still so new to New York that no matter where he tries to take the subway, he always finds himself buried under Times Square, over a question as to whether La Perouse or Foyot's has the best hors d'oeuvres in Paris.

The conflict is taking place across Johnny's knees, both of which are being used for emphasis by the disputants till he is nearly mashed like a sandwich filling between two argumentative slices of bread, but he is quite content. Peter Piper, the youngest rare book collector in the country, who, if left to himself, would have gravitated naturally toward French and a devastating conversation in monosyllables on the pretty failings of prominent débutantes, is gradually warming Clark Stovall, the youngest star of the Provincetown Players out of a prickly silence, employed in supercilious blinks at all the large pictures of celebrated Harlequins by discreet, intelligent questions as to the probable future of Eugene O'Neill.

Stovall has just about decided to throw Greenwich Village omniscience overboard and admit privately to himself that people like Peter can be both human and interesting even if they do live in the East Sixties instead of Macdougal Alley when a page comes in discreetly for Johnny Chipman. Johnny rises like an agitated blond robin who has just spied the very two worms he was keeping room for to top off breakfast. "Well" he says to the world at large. "They're only fifteen minutes late apiece this time... Continue reading book >>

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