George Washington - from Harper's
He was black as the ace of spades, you see,
And scarcely as high as a tall man's knee;
He wore a hat that was minus a brim,
But that, of course, mattered nothing to him;
His jacket—or what there was left of it—
Scorned his little black shoulders to fit;
And as for stockings and shoes, dear me!
Nothing about such things knew he.
He sat on the curb-stone one pleasant day,
Placidly passing the hours away;
His hands in the holes which for pockets were meant,
His thoughts on the clouds overhead were intent;
When down the street suddenly, marching along,
Came soldiers and horses, and such a great throng
Of boys and of men, as they crowded the street,
With a "Hip, hip, hurrah!" the lad sprang to his feet,
And joined the procession, his face in a grin,
For here was a good time that "dis chile is in!"
How he stretched out his legs to the beat of the drum,
Thinking surely at last 'twas the jubilee come!
Then suddenly wondering what 'twas about—
The soldiers, the music, and all—with a shout
He hailed a small comrade, "Hi, Cæsar, you know
What all dis purcession's a marchin' fur so?"
"Go 'long, you George Washington," Cæsar replied,
"In dis yere great kentry you ain't got no pride!
Dis is Washington's Birfday; you oughter know dat,
Wid yer head growed so big, burst de brim off yer hat."
For a moment George Washington stood in surprise,
While plainer to view grew the whites of his eyes;
Then swift to the front of the ranks scampered he,
This mite of a chap hardly high as your knee.
The soldiers looked stern, and an officer said,
As he rapped with his sword on the black woolly head,
"Come, boy, clear the road; what a figure you are!"
Came the ready reply, "I'se George Washington, sah!
But I didn't know nuffin about my birfday
'Till a feller jist tole me. Oh, golly! it's gay!"
Just then a policeman—of course it was mean—
Removed young George Washington far from the scene.