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John Smith, U.S.A.   By: (1850-1895)

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[Illustration: Eugene Field]











From whatever point of view the character of Eugene Field is seen, genius rare and quaint presents itself is childlike simplicity. That he was a poet of keen perception, of rare discrimination, all will admit. He was a humorist as delicate and fanciful as Artemus Ward, Mark Twain, Bill Nye, James Whitcomb Riley, Opie Read, or Bret Harte in their happiest moods. Within him ran a poetic vein, capable of being worked in any direction, and from which he could, at will, extract that which his imagination saw and felt most. That he occasionally left the child world, in which he longed to linger, to wander among the older children of men, where intuitively the hungry listener follows him into his Temple of Mirth, all should rejoice, for those who knew him not, can while away the moments imbibing the genius of his imagination in the poetry and prose here presented.

Though never possessing an intimate acquaintanceship with Field, owing largely to the disparity in our ages, still there existed a bond of friendliness that renders my good opinion of him in a measure trustworthy. Born in the same city, both students in the same college, engaged at various times in newspaper work both in St. Louis and Chicago, residents of the same ward, with many mutual friends, it is not surprising that I am able to say of him that "the world is better off that he lived, not in gold and silver or precious jewels, but in the bestowal of priceless truths, of which the possessor of this book becomes a benefactor of no mean share of his estate."

Every lover of Field, whether of the songs of childhood or the poems that lend mirth to the out pouring of his poetic nature, will welcome this unique collection of his choicest wit and humor.


Chicago, January, 1905.


John Smith The Fisherman's Feast To John J. Knickerbocker, Jr. The Bottle and the Bird The Man Who Worked with Dana on the "Sun" A Democratic Hymn The Blue and the Gray It is the Printer's Fault Summer Heat Plaint of the Missouri 'Coon in the Berlin Zoological Gardens The Bibliomaniac's Bride Ezra J. M'Manus to a Soubrette The Monstrous Pleasant Ballad of the Taylor Pup Long Meter To DeWitt Miller Francois Villon Lydia Dick The Tin Bank In New Orleans The Peter Bird Dibdin's Ghost An Autumn Treasure Trove When the Poet Came The Perpetual Wooing My Playmates Mediaeval Eventide Song Alaskan Balladry Armenian Folk Song The Stork The Vision of the Holy Grail The Divine Lullaby Mortality A Fickle Woman Egyptian Folk Song Armenian Folk Song The Partridge Alaskan Balladry, No. 1 Old Dutch Love Song An Eclogue from Virgil Horace to Maecenas Horace's "Sailor and Shade" Uhland's "Chapel" "The Happy Isles" of Horace Horatian Lyrics Hugo's "Pool in the Forest" Horace I., 4 Love Song Heine Horace II., 3 The Two Coffins Horace I., 31 Horace to His Lute Horace I., 22 The "Ars Poetica" of Horace XXIII Marthy's Younkit Abu Midjan The Dying Year Dead Roses


To day I strayed in Charing Cross as wretched as could be With thinking of my home and friends across the tumbling sea; There was no water in my eyes, but my spirits were depressed And my heart lay like a sodden, soggy doughnut in my breast. This way and that streamed multitudes, that gayly passed me by Not one in all the crowd knew me and not a one knew I! "Oh, for a touch of home!" I sighed; "oh, for a friendly face! Oh, for a hearty handclasp in this teeming desert place!" And so, soliloquizing as a homesick creature will, Incontinent, I wandered down the noisy, bustling hill And drifted, automatic like and vaguely, into Lowe's, Where Fortune had in store a panacea for my woes. The register was open, and there dawned upon my sight A name that filled and thrilled me with a cyclone of delight The name that I shall venerate unto my dying day The proud, immortal signature: "John Smith, U... Continue reading book >>

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