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69 Works of John Kendrick Bangs

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Coffee And Repartee

Story type: Literature

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I The guests at Mrs. Smithers’s high-class boarding-house for gentlemen had assembled as usual for breakfast, and in a few moments Mary, the dainty waitress, entered with the steaming coffee, the mush, and the rolls. The School-master, who, by-the-way, was suspected by Mrs. Smithers of having intentions, and who for that reason occupied the chair […]

ALL hail to thee, O son of Æolus!All hail to thee, most high Borean lord!The lineal descendant of the Winds art thou.Child of the Cyclone,Cousin to the Hurricane,Tornado’s twin,All hail!The zephyrs of the balmy southDo greet thee;The eastern winds, great Boston’s pride,In manner osculate caress thy massive cheek;Freeze onto thee,And at thy word throw off […]

Some Are Amateurs

Story type: Poetry

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SHAKESPEARE was partly wrong-the world’s a stage,This is admitted by the bard’s detractors.Had William seen some Hamlets of this ageHe’d not have called all men upon it actors.

In February Days

Story type: Poetry

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FAIR Nature, like the mother of a wayward childWho needs must chide the offspring of her heart,Disguiseth for a season all the sweet and mildMaternal softness for an austere part. And ’neath her frown the errant earth in winter seemsProstrate to lie, and petulant of mood;Restrained in icy fetters all the babbling streams,Like naughty babes […]

HORATIUS at the bridge, and heWho fought at old Thermopylæ; Great Samson and his potent boneBy which the Philistines were slone; Small David with his wondrous aimThat did for him of giant frame; J. Cæsar in his Gallic scrapsThat made him lord of other chaps; Sweet William, called the Conqueror,Who made the Briton sick of […]

ONSET BAY, MASSACHUSETTS, May 24, 18-.-Theosophists and others at Onset Bay Camp Grounds have been greatly excited of late by a message which has been received from the Mahatmas, Koot Hoomi, and his partner, who are summering in the desert of Gobi. The message is of considerable length, and contains much that is purely personal.-Daily […]

The Gold-Seekers

Story type: Poetry

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GOLD, gold, gold!What care we for hunger and cold?What care we for the moil and strife,Or the thousands of foes to health and life,When there’s gold for the mighty, and gold for the meek,And gold for whoever shall dare to seek?UntoldIs the gold;And it lies in the reach of the man that’s bold:In the hands […]

WHERE glistening in the softness of the nightThe vagrant will-o’-wisps do greet the sight;Where fragrance baffling permeates the breezeThat gently flouts the grasses and the trees;Where every flying thing doth seem to beInstinct with sweetly sensuous melody;Where hills and dales assume their warmest phase,With here and there a scarf of opal hazeTo soften their luxuriant […]

May 30, 1893

Story type: Poetry

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IT seemed to be but chance, yet who shall sayThat ’twas not part of Nature’s own sweet way, That on the field where once the cannon’s breathLay many a hero cold and stark in death, Some little children, in the after-years,Had come to play among the grassy spears, And, all unheeding, when their romp was […]

“WHAT shall I put my dollars in?” he asked, in wild dismay.“I’ve fifty thousand of ’em, and I’d like to keep ’em too.I’d like to put them by to serve some future rainy day,But in these times of queer finance what can a fellow do? “A railway bond is picturesque, and the supply is great,But […]

IT was an ancient populist,His beard was long and gray,And punctuated by his fist,He had his little say:“This is the age of gold,” he said,“’Tis gold for butter, gold for bread,Gold for bonds and gold for fun;Gold for all things ’neath the sun.”Then with a smileHe shook his head.“Just wait awhile,”He slyly said.“When we get […]

I KNEW a man who died in days of yore,To whom no monument is like to rise;And yet there never lived a mortal moreDeserving of a shaft to pierce the skies. His chiefest wish strong friendships was to make;He cared but little for this poor world’s pelf;He shared his joys with every one who’d take,And […]

Satisfaction

Story type: Poetry

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ON READING “NOT ONE DISSATISFIED,” BY WALT WHITMAN GOD spare the day when I am satisfied!Enough is truly likened to a feast that leaves man satiate.The sluggishness of fulness comes apace; the dulness of a mind thatknows all things.The lack of every sweet desire; no new sensation for the soul!To want no more?What vile estate […]

THY span of life was all too short-A week or two at best-From budding-time, through blossoming,To withering and rest. Yet compensation hast thou-aye!-For all thy little woes;For was it not thy happy lotTo live and die a rose?

I DO not fear an enemyWho all his days hath hated me. I do not bother o’er a foeWhose name and face I do not know. I mind me not the small attackOf him who bites behind my back: But Heaven help me to the end’Gainst that one who was once my friend.

BLESSED jokes of my dreams! Your praises I’d sing.No mirth can compare to the mirth that you bring.I’ve read London Punch from beginning to end,On all comic papers much money I spend,But naught that is in them can ever seem brightBeside the rich jokes that I dream of at night. How I laugh at those […]

A LEAF fell in love with the soft green lawn,He deemed her the sweetest and best,And then on a dreary November dawnHe withered and died on her breast.

Where Are They?

Story type: Poetry

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WHAT has become of the cast-off coatsThat covered Will Shakespeare’s back?What has become of the old row-boatsOf Kidd and his pirate pack? Where are the scarfs that Lord Byron wore?Where are poor Shelley’s cuffs?What has become of that wondrous storeOf Queen Elizabeth’s ruffs? Where are the slippers of Ferdinand?Where are Marc Antony’s clothes?Where are the […]

A Sad State

Story type: Poetry

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I KNOW a man in Real Estate,Whose pride of self’s sublime.He’d like to be a poet greatBut “can’t afford the time.”

AS I read over old John Dryden’s verse,The rhymes of men like William Blake, and Gay,The stuff that helped fill Edmund Waller’s purse,And that which placed on Marvell’s brow the bay, It doth appear to me that in those timesThe Muses quaffed not sparkling wine, but grog,And that to grow immortal through one’s rhymesWas ’bout […]

WHEN I was twenty-one, I swore,If I should ever wed,The maiden that I should adoreShould have a classic head;Should have a form quite Junoesque;A manner full of grace;A wealth of hirsute picturesqueAbove a piquant face. But I, alas! am perjured, forI’ve wed a dumpy lassI much despised in days of yore,Of quite the plainest class,Because […]

Maid Of Culture

Story type: Poetry

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MAID of culture, ere we part,Since we’ve talked of letters, art,Science, faith, and hypnotism,And ’most every other ism,When you wrote, a while ago,Ζώη μοῦ, σὰς ἀγαπώ, Let me tell you this, my dear:Though your lettering was clear,Though the ancient sages GreekWould be glad to hear you speak,They would be replete with woeAt your μοῦ, σὰς […]

Not Perfect

Story type: Poetry

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HER eyes are blue-a lovely hueFor eyes; her cheeks are pink,And for the cheek, ’twixt me and you,That color’s right, I think. Her fingers taper prettily,Her teeth are white as pearls-Her hands seem softer far to meThan any other girl’s. Her figure’s trim-it is petite-I like them just that way,And truly, maiden half so sweetYou’d […]

I LOVE the leaf of the old oak-tree,I love the gum of the spruce,I love the bark of the hickory,And I love the maple’s juice. On the walnut’s grain I fondly dote,On the cherry’s fruit I’d dine,And I love to lie in a narrow boat,And scent the odor of pine. Ah, me! how I wish […]

PIETRO NAPOLINI DI VENDETTA PASQUARELLE Deserted balmy Italy, the land that loved him well,And sailed for soft America, of wealth the very fount,To earn sufficient dollars there to make himself a count.Alas for poor Pietro! he arrived in winter-time,And marvelled at the poet who observed in tripping rhymeHow this New World was genial, and a […]

My Color

Story type: Poetry

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MY best-loved color? Well, I think I likeA soft and tender dewy green-for grass.Sometimes a pink my fancy too will strike-In lobster purée or a Sauterne glass. Blue is a color, too, I greatly love.It’s sort of satisfying to my eyes.’Tis their own color; and I’m quite fond ofThis hue also for soft Italian skies. […]

I WOULD not change my joys for thoseOf Emperors and Kings.What has my gentle friend the roseTold them, if aught, do you suppose-The rose that tells me things? What secrets have they had with trees?What romps with grassy spears?What know they of the mysteriesOf butterflies and honey-bees,Who whisper in my ears? What says the sunbeam […]

The Heroic Gunner

Story type: Poetry

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When the order was given to withdraw from battle for breakfast,one of the gun-captains, a privileged character, beggedCommodore Dewey to let them keep on fighting until “we’ve wiped’em out.”-War Anecdote in Daily Paper. AT the battle of Manila,In the un-Pacific sea,Stood a gunner with his mad upJust as far as it could be-Stood a gunner […]

“COME here,” said I, “oh caddy boy, and tell me how it hapsYou cling so fast unto these links; not like the other chaps,Who like to dally on the streets and play the game of craps? “Is it that you enjoy the work of carrying a bagWhile others speed the festive ball o’er valley, hill, […]

Garrulous Wisdom

Story type: Poetry

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I KNOW a wondrous man-my neighbor he;He’s ripe in years, and great in understanding.He’s versed in art, and in philosophyHe shows a mind that’s verily commanding. He’ll stand before a painting, and withoutA single instant’s thought, or hesitation,He’ll tell the painter’s name, nor any doubtIs there he gives the proper information. The rocks, the hills […]

THEY speak most truly who do sayWe have no writing-folk to-dayLike those whose names, in days gone by,Upon the scroll of fame stood high.And when I think of Smollett’s tales,Of waspish Pope’s ill-natured rails,Of Fielding dull, of Sterne too free,Of Swift’s uncurbed indecency,Of Dr. Johnson’s bludgeon-wit,I must confess I’m glad of it!

Books Vs. "Books"

Story type: Poetry

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BY A BIBLIOMANIAC A VOLUME’S just received on vellum print.The book is worth the vellum-no more in’t.But, as I search my head for thoughts, I findOne fact embedded firmly in my mind. That’s this, in short: while it no doubt may beMost pleasant for an author small to seeA fine edition of his work put […]

How very close to truth these bookish menCan be when in their catalogues they pen The words descriptive of the wares they holdTo tempt the book-man with his purse of gold! For instance, they have Dryden-splendid set-Which some poor wight would part with wealth to get. ’Tis richly bound, its edges gilded-but-Hard fate-as Dryden well […]

The Bibliomiser

Story type: Poetry

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HE does not read at all, yet he doth hoardRich books. In exile on his shelves they’re stored;And many a volume, sweet and good and true,Fails in the work that it was made to do.Why, e’en the dust they’ve caught since he beganWould quite suffice to make a decent man!

I GOT a tome to-day, and I was glad to strike it,Because no other man can ever get one like it.‘Tis poor, and badly print; its meaning’s Greek;But what of that? ‘Tis mine, and it’s unique.So Bah! to others,Men and brothers-Bah! and likewise Pooh!I’ve got the best of you.Go sicken, die, and eke repine.That book […]

A Reader

Story type: Poetry

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DAUDET to him is e’er Dodett;Dumas he calls Dumass;But prithee do not you forgetHe’s not at all an ass; Because the books that he doth buy,That on his shelf do stand,Hold not one page his eagle eyeHath not completely scanned. And while this man’s orthoepyMay not be what it should,He knows what books contain, and […]

Fate!

Story type: Poetry

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I FEEL that I am quite as smartAs Edward Bulwer Lytton, Bart. I’m also every bit as brightAs Walter Scott, the Scottish knight; And in my own peculiar wayI’m just as good as Thackeray. But, woe is me that it should be,They got here years ahead of me, And all the tales I would unfoldBy […]

A Poet’s Fad

Story type: Poetry

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HE writes bad verse on principle,E’en though it does not sell.He thinks the plan original-So many folk write well.

The Poet Undone

Story type: Poetry

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HE was a poet born, but unkind FateOnce doomed him for his verses to be paid,Whereon he left the poet-born’s estateAnd wrote like one who’d happened to be made.

A Waning Muse

Story type: Poetry

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“WHY art thou sad, Poeticus?” said I.So blue was he I feared he would not speak.“Alas! I’ve lost my grip,” was his reply-“I’ve writ but forty poems, sir, this week.”

Modesty

Story type: Poetry

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“WHAT hundred books are best, think you?” I said,Addressing one devoted to the pen.He thought a moment, then he raised his head:“I hardly know-I’ve written only ten.”

My Lord The Book

Story type: Poetry

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A BOOK is an aristocrat:’Tis pampered-lives in state;Stands on a shelf, with naught whereatTo worry-lovely fate! Enjoys the best of company;And often-ay, ’tis so-Like much in aristocracy,Its title makes it go.

Their Pens

Story type: Poetry

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THE poet pens his odes and sonnets spruceWith quills plucked from the ordinary goose,While critics write their sharp incisive linesWith quills snatched from the fretful porcupines.

IF Bacon wrote those grand inspiring linesAt which alternately man weeps and laughs,Who was it penned those chirographic vinesWe know these times as Shakespeare’s autographs?

IF some one does not speedily inditeA volume that is worthy of my shelf,I’ll have to buy materials and writeA novel and some poetry myself.

I’VE read your story of your friend’s fine life,But really, gentle sir, I fail to see,Why you have named it “Blank, and Jane his wife,”When you had better called it simply “Me.”

I’VE penned a score of essays bright,In Addison’s best style;I’ve taken many a lofty flight,The Muses to beguile. Of novels I have written few-I think no more than ten;With history I’ve had to do,Like several other men. And still, to my intense regret,Through all my woe and weal,I’ve never penned a volume yet,A foreigner would […]

THE style of man I’d like to be,If I could have my way,Would be a sort of pot-pourriOf Poe and Thackeray; Of Horace, Edison, and Lamb;Of Keats and Washington,Gérôme and blest Omar Khayyám,And R. L. Stevenson; Of Kipling and the Bard of Thrums,And Bonaparte the great-If I were these, I’d snap my thumbsDerisively at Fate.

A Common Favorite

Story type: Poetry

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CHARLES LAMB is good, and so is Thackeray,And so’s Jane Austen in her pretty way;Charles Dickens, too, has pleased me quite a lot,As also have both Stevenson and Scott.I like Dumas and Balzac, and I thinkLord Byron quite a dab at spreading ink;But on the whole, at home, across the sea,The author I like best […]

A LITTLE bit of Thackeray,A little bit of Scott,A modicum of Dickens justTo tangle up the plot,A paraphrase of Marryat,Another from Dumas-You ask me for a novel, sir,And I say, there you are. The pen is greater than the sword,Of that there is no doubt.The pen for me whene’er I wishAn enemy to rout.A pen, […]

IN my collection famed of curiosI have, as every bookman knows,A pen that Thackeray once used.To be amused,I thought I’d “take that pen in hand,”And see what came of it-what grandInspired lines ‘twould write,One Sunday night.I dipped it in the ink,And tried to think,“Just what shall I indite?”And do you know, that pen went fairly […]

MY Bookworm gave a dinner to a number of his set.I was not there-I say it to my very great regret.For they dined well, I fancy, if the menu that I sawWas followed as implicitly as one obeys the law. “’Twill open,” he observed to me, “with quatrains on the half.They go down easy; then […]

Ideas For Sale

Story type: Poetry

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I’M in literary culture, and I’ve opened up a shop,Where I’d like ye, gents and ladies, if you’re passing by to stop.Come and see my rich assortment of fine literary seedThat I’m selling to the writers of full many a modern screed. I’ve bacilli for ten volumes for a dollar, in a bag-Not a single […]

HE frowns with reason; he has always said,“The public has no knowledge of true art;The book of worth these days would not be read;‘Tis trash not truth that goes upon the mart.” And then was published his belovéd work-Some twenty-six editions it has had-And he his own conclusion cannot shirk:With such success as this it […]

CHAPTER I OFF TO BLUNDERLAND It was one of those dull, drab, depressing days when somehow or other it seemed as if there wasn’t anything anywhere for anybody to do. It was raining outdoors, so that Alice could not amuse herself in the garden, or call upon her friend Little Lord Fauntleroy up the street; […]

They were very young, and possibly too amiable. Thaddeus was but twenty-four and Bessie twenty-two when they twain, made one, walked down the middle aisle of St. Peter’s together. Everybody remarked how amiable she looked even then; not that a bride on her way out of church should look unamiable, of course, but we all […]

“My dear,” said Thaddeus, one night, as he and Mrs. Perkins entered the library after dinner, “that was a very good dinner to-night. Don’t you think so?” “All except the salmon,” said Bessie, with a smile. “Salmon?” echoed Thaddeus. “Salmon? I did not see any salmon.” “No,” said Bessie, “that was just the trouble. It […]

Mr. Bradley’s Jewel

Story type: Literature

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Thaddeus was tired, and, therefore, Thaddeus was grumpy. One premise only was necessary for the conclusion–in fact, it was the only premise upon which a conclusion involving Thaddeus’s grumpiness could find a foothold. If Thaddeus felt rested, everything in the world could go wrong and he would smile as sweetly as ever; but with the […]

That you may thoroughly comprehend how it happened that on last Christmas Day Thaddeus meted out gifts of value so unprecedented to the domestics of what he has come to call his “menagerie”–the term menage having seemed to him totally inadequate to express the state of affairs in his household–I must go back to the […]

An Object-Lesson

Story type: Literature

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It was early in the autumn. Mr. and Mrs. Perkins, with their two hopefuls, had returned from a month of rest at the mountains, and the question of school for Thaddeus junior came up. “He is nearly six years old,” said Bessie, “and I think he is quite intelligent enough to go to school, don’t […]

A Strange Banquet

Story type: Literature

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“Thaddeus,” said Bessie to her husband as they sat at breakfast one morning, shortly after the royal banquet over which “Grimmins” had presided, “did you hear anything strange in the house last night? Something like a footstep in the hall?” “No,” said Thaddeus. “I slept like a top last night. I didn’t hear anything. Did […]

A very irritating thing has happened. My hired man, a certain Barney O’Rourke, an American citizen of much political influence, a good gardener, and, according to his lights, a gentleman, has got very much the best of me, and all because of certain effusions which from time to time have emanated from my pen. It […]

It happened last Christmas Eve, and precisely as I am about to set it forth. It has been said by critics that I am a romancer of the wildest sort, but that is where my critics are wrong. I grant that the experiences through which I have passed, some of which have contributed to the […]

A FEW SPIRIT REMINISCENCES If we could only get used to the idea that ghosts are perfectly harmless creatures, who are powerless to affect our well-being unless we assist them by giving way to our fears, we should enjoy the supernatural exceedingly, it seems to me. Coleridge, I think it was, was once asked by […]

My first meeting with Carleton Barker was a singular one. A friend and I, in August, 18–, were doing the English Lake District on foot, when, on nearing the base of the famous Mount Skiddaw, we observed on the road, some distance ahead of us, limping along and apparently in great pain, the man whose […]

The Dampmere Mystery

Story type: Literature

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Dawson wished to be alone; he had a tremendous bit of writing to do, which could not be done in New York, where his friends were constantly interrupting him, and that is why he had taken the little cottage at Dampmere for the early spring months. The cottage just suited him. It was remote from […]

I (Being the Statement of Henry Thurlow Author, to George Currier, Editor of the “Idler,” a Weekly Journal of Human Interest.) I have always maintained, my dear Currier, that if a man wishes to be considered sane, and has any particular regard for his reputation as a truth-teller, he would better keep silent as to […]

I–A JUBILEE EXPERIENCE It has happened again. I have been haunted once more, and this time by the most obnoxious spook I have ever had the bliss of meeting. He is homely, squat, and excessively vulgar in his dress and manner. I have met cockneys in my day, and some of the most offensive varieties […]

Jane

Story type: Literature

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She was quite the reverse of beautiful–to some she was positively unpleasant to look upon; but that made no difference to Mrs. Thaddeus Perkins, who, after long experience with domestics, had come to judge of the value of a servant by her performance rather than by her appearance. The girl–if girl she were, for she […]