Patrick's Colt, Long life to yees

 

PATRICK O'FLANIGAN, from Erin's isle

Just fresh, thinking he'd walk around a while,

With open mouth and widely staring eyes,

Cried "Och!" and "Whist!" at every new surprise.

He saw some labourers in a field of corn;

The golden pumpkins lit the scene with glory;

Of all that he had heard since being born,

Nothing had equaled this in song or story.

"The holy mither! and, sirs, would ye plaise

To be a tellin' me what might be these?

 

An' sure I'm thinkin' that they're not pratees,

But mebbe it's the way you grow your chase."

"Ah, Patrick, these are mare's eggs," said the hand,

Giving a wink to John, and Jim, and Bill;

"Just hatch it out, and then you have your horse;

Take one and try it; it will pay you well."

"Faith an' that's aisy sure; in dear ould Ireland

I always had my Christmas pig so nate,

Fatted on buttermilk, and hard to bate;

But only gintlemen can own a horse.

Ameriky's a great counthry indade,

I thought that here I'd kape a pig, of coorse,

Have me own land, and shanty without rent,

An' have me vote, an' taxes not a cint;

But sure I niver thought to own a baste.

An' won't the wife and childer now be glad?

A thousand blissings on your honor's head!

But could ye tell by lookin' at the egg

What colour it will hatch? It's to me taste

To have a dapple gray, with a long tail,

High in the neck, and slinder in the leg,

To jump a twel' feet bog, and niver fail,

Like me Lord Dumferline's at last year's races—"

Just then the merry look on all their faces

Checked Patrick's flow of talk, and with a blush

That swept his face as milk goes over mush,

He added, "Sure, I know it is no use

To try to tell by peering at an egg

If it will hatch a gander or a goose;"

Then looked around to make judicious choice.

"Pick out the largest one that you can hide

Out of the owner's sight there by the river;

Don't drop and break it, or the colt is gone;

Carry it gently to your little farm,

Put it in bed, and keep it six weeks warm."

Quickly Pat seized a huge, ripe, yellow one,

"Faith, sure, an' I'll do every bit of that

The whole sax wakes I'll lie meself in bed,

An' kape it warrum, as your honour said;

Long life to yees, and may you niver walk,

 

Not even to your grave, but ride foriver;

Good luck to yees," and without more of talk

He pulled the forelock 'neath his tattered hat,

And started off; but plans of mice and men

Gang oft agley, again and yet again.

Full half a mile upon his homeward road

Poor Patrick toiled beneath his heavy load.

A hilltop gained, he stopped to rest, alas!

He laid his mare's egg on some treacherous grass;

When down the steep hillside it rolled away,

And at poor Patrick's call made no delay.

Gaining momentum, with a heavy thump,

It struck and split upon a hollow stump,

In which a rabbit lived with child and wife,

Frightened, the timid creature ran for life.

"Shtop, shtop my colt!" cried Patrick, as he ran

After his straying colt, but all in vain.

With ears erect poor Bunny faster fled

As "Shtop my colt!" in mournful, eager tones

Struck on those organs, till with fright half dead

He hid away among some grass and stones.

Here Patrick searched till rose the harvest moon,

Braying and whinnying till he was hoarse,

Hoping to lure the colt by this fond cheat;

"For won't the young thing want his mither soon,

And come to take a bit of something t'eat?"

But vain the tender accents of his call—

No colt responded from the broken wall;

And 'neath the twinkling stars he plodded on,

To tell how he had got and lost his horse.

"As swate a gray as iver eyes sat on,"

He said to Bridget and the children eight,

After thrice telling the whole story o'er,

The way he run it would be hard to bate;

So little, too, with jist a whisk o' tail,

Not a pin-feather on it as I could see,

For it was hatched out just sax weeks too soon!

An' such long ears were niver grown before

On any donkey in grane Ireland!

So little, too, you'd hold it in your hand;

 

Och hone! he would have made a gray donkey."

So all the sad O'Flanigans that night

Held a loud wake over the donkey gone,

Eating their "pratees" without milk or salt,

Howling between whiles, "Och! my little colt!"

While Bunny, trembling from his dreadful fright,

Skipped home to Mrs. B. by light of moon,

And told the story of his scare and flight;

And all the neighbouring rabbits played around

The broken mare's egg scattered on the ground.