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James Whitcomb Riley's "Romancin'"

The following is the complete text of James Whitcomb Riley's "Romancin'." Our presentation of this classic poem comes from The Works of James Whitcomb Riley: Vol. I (1899). The various books, short stories and poems we offer are presented free of charge with absolutely no advertising as a public service from Internet Accuracy Project.

Visit these other works by James Whitcomb Riley
"The Bear Story"
"Chairley Burke's in Town"
The Champion Checker-Player of Ameriky
"A Child's Home Long Ago"
"Christine Braibry"
A Large Collection of his Short Poems
"Das Krist Kindel"
"Dead Selves"
"Doc Sifers"
"Dot Leedle Boy"
"Down to the Capital"
"Erasmus Wilson"
"Ezra House"
"Farmer Whipple--Bachelor"
"Grandfather Squeers"
"He Called Her In"
"The Hoosier Folk-Child"
"How John Quit the Farm"
"Jack the Giant-Killer"
"Kingry's Mill"
"Last Christmas Was a Year Ago"
"Little Johnts's Chris'mus"

"Little Mandy's Christmas Tree"
"Maymie's Story of Red Riding-Hood"
"Mr. What's-His-Name"
"My Philosofy"
"Mylo Jones's Wife"
"A Nest-Egg"
"A New Year's Time at Willards's"
"Old John Clevenger on Buckeyes"
"An Old Sweetheart"
"The Old Swimmin'-Hole"
"On the Banks o' Deer Crick"
"The Pathos of Applause"
Poems from "Rhymes of Childhood"
"The Preacher's Boy"
"Regardin' Terry Hut"
"The Rossville Lecture Course"
"The Runaway Boy"
"That-Air Young-Un"
"This Man Jones"
"Thoughts fer the Discuraged Farmer"
"To My Old Friend, William Leachman"
"Tradin' Joe"
"What Chris'mas Fetched the Wigginses"

To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.

Potential uses for the free books, stories and prose we offer
* Rediscovering an old favorite book, short story or poem.
* Bibliophiles expanding their collection of public domain ebooks at no cost.
* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a short story or poem for use in the classroom.

NOTE: We try to present these classic literary works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, offensive language, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.

"Romancin'" by James Whitcomb Riley



I' b'en a-kindo' "musin'," as the feller says, and I'm
About o' the conclusion that they hain't no better time,
When you come to cipher on it, than the times we ust to know
When we swore our first "dog-gone-it" sorto' solum-like and low!

You git my idy, do you?--Little tads, you understand--
Jest a-wishin' thue and thue you that you on'y wuz a man.--
Yit here I am, this minit, even sixty, to a day,
And fergittin' all that's in it, wishin' jest the other way!

I hain't no hand to lectur' on the times, er dimonstrate
Whare the trouble is, er hector and domineer with Fate,--
But when I git so flurried, and so pestered-like and blue,
And so rail owdacious worried, let me tell you what I do!--

I jest gee-haw the hosses, and onhook the swingle-tree,
Whare the hazel-bushes tosses down their shadders over me;
And I draw my plug o' navy, and I climb the fence, and set
Jest a-thinkin' here, i gravy! tel my eyes is wringin'-wet!

Tho' I still kin see the trouble o' the presunt, I kin see--
Kindo' like my sight wuz double--all the things that ust to be;
And the flutter o' the robin and the teeter o' the wren
Sets the willer-branches bobbin' "howdy-do" thum Now to Then!

The deadnin' and the thicket's jest a-bilin' full of June,
Thum the rattle o' the cricket, to the yallar-hammer's tune;
And the catbird in the bottom, and the sapsuck on the snag,
Seems ef they can't-od-rot 'em!-jest do nothin' else but brag!

They's music in the twitter of the bluebird and the jay,
And that sassy little critter jest a-peckin' all the day;
They's music in the "flicker," and they's music in the thrush,
And they's music in the snicker o' the chipmunk in the brush!

They's music all around me!--And I go back, in a dream
Sweeter yit than ever found me fast asleep,--and in the stream
That ust to split the medder whare the dandylions growed,
I stand knee-deep, and redder than the sunset down the road.

Then's when I' b'en a-fishin'!--And they's other fellers, too,
With their hick'ry-poles a-swishin' out behind 'em; and a few
Little "shiners" on our stringers, with their tails tip--toein' bloom,
As we dance 'em in our fingers all the happy jurney home.

I kin see us, true to Natur', thum the time we started out,
With a biscuit and a 'tater in our little "roundabout"!--
I kin see our lines a-tanglin', and our elbows in a jam,
And our naked legs a-danglin' thum the apern o' the dam.

I kin see the honeysuckle climbin' up around the mill,
And kin hear the worter chuckle, and the wheel a-growl-in' still;
And thum the bank below it I kin steal the old canoe,
And jest git in and row it like the miller ust to do.

W'y, I git my fancy focussed on the past so mortul plane
I kin even smell the locus'-blossoms bloomin' in the lane;
And I hear the cow-bells clinkin' sweeter tunes 'n "Money-musk"
Fer the lightnin'-bugs a-blinkin' and a-dancin' in the dusk.

And when I've kep' on "musin'," as the feller says, tel I'm
Firm-fixed in the conclusion that they haint no better time,
When you come to cipher on it, than the old times,--I de-clare
I kin wake and say "dog-gone-it!" jest as soft as any prayer!

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