I was out promenading one fine summer day,
When I chanced upon three bosom cronies to stray,
And a beer shop we happened to pass on our way.
"Now boys," said I, stopping them all with a wink,
"If you'll step round the corner, I'll treat to a drink;
How is it, my hearties? now, what do you think?"
So into the bar-room we dropped in a flash,
And up to the keeper I went with a dash:
"Four glasses of lager, and none of your trash,
But the best and the foamiest money can bring,"
Was the order I gave, with the air of a king;
And mine host fluttered off, like a bird on the wing.
Just then an old toper dropped in from the street,
A jolly old soak, with a nose like a beet,
And he said, "Now, my rummys, I'll share in that treat."
But I'said to my cronies, "Say boys, look ye there!
Do you 'spose such a nosey will fall to our share?"
Quoth the toper, "Keep drinking, my lads, and you'll wear
A nose like my own, or I miss in my guess."
"Why," said Ned, "it resembles the light of distress."
Said Tom, "It's the color of Sally Ann's dress."
Said Billy, "It looks like the sun's ruddy bed,
And shines like the top of my grandfather's head."
Said I, "It is ready, I think, to be bled."
"Now thank ye, my lads," said old soak with a bow,
"But gulp down your lager, 'twill soon show ye how
Red noses are painted and polished, I vow."
I turned to my cronies: "Now, boys, look ye here!
I would'nt, I say, for ten thousand a year,
Have my nose grow to look like the one beaming near!"
"Nor I, sir!" "Nor I, sir!" "Nor I!" cried each chum;
Then, said I, " A good-bye to all beer, ale and rum,
And hurrah for cold water! my boys, will ye come?"
"We are ready and willing," said Tom, Bill and Ned.
"Lets get us a pledge, boys, and sign it," I said--
And so at next meeting, four names were read
In the Temperance column. And now should you be
In these parts, and a fine looking fellow should see,
You may know it is one of my cronies, or me.
By lectures, and preaching, some fellows are won,
But you see it is different with us: it was done
By the jolly old soak, with a nose like the sun!
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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