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Story of Nevin (Iowa)

by J. Loran Ellis (1901)


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Chapter V, 1859 and Later (continued)

Mrs. Chamberlain's Poem || Auld Lang Syne-A Poem


Time, on its pinions swiftly flying,
Leaves us poor mortals vainly sighing
That, one by one our friends are leaving,
And no recruits are we receiving.

'Tis thus it's been from first to last,
Our numbers have been failing fast,
And, should this course continue on,
Our neighbors soon will all be gone.

"And what of that?" says on stuck-fast,
Just let them go, nor be downcast;
This place is not to be forsaken;
I know I can't be mistaken.

I am disgusted with this whining, ---
This everlastingly repining.
Just see how fast our stock increases;
Then note our flocks with weighty fleeces.

And corn and wheat in such a measure
There's hardly room to store the treasure; ---
Our farmers here are making money,
As sure as bees are storing honey.

Then there's mechanics not a few,
In barrels, wagons, boot and shoe,
There comes the man in iron skilled,
Proposing well his place to fill.

Then the cabinet makers art
By one prepared will claim its part,
Then the traders, they step in,
Who, trade they must, to lose or win.

And, if they cannot trade for money,
Horse, or cow, will trade for pony;
And then, forsooth, as in a dream:
You'll see a cracky pony team.

And now, to clear away the fog,
We'll introduce our Pedagogue.
There he sits with rule in hand,
And all must bow at his command.

And if they chance to say a pin,
To 'tone for it they must stay in,
No rude behavior is allowed
By old or young among the crowd.

But study, diligence and grace
Must mark the lines of every face.
At once they read, at once they sing,
And make the dome with echoes ring.

Indeed! our school is quite a prize,
As no wise person e'er denies.
Our pastor next; oh, what a gem!
His head deserves a diadem.

With dignity and Christian grace
Beams every feature of his face.
His life is purer far than gold;
His virtues can't be told.

And, after all, there's those who say
That this bright town shall pass away
And all its prospects come to naught.
These lands lie waste?  Preposterous thought!

These lands will rise; I see the day
When purchasers will crowd the way,
Till ev'ry man shall bless the hand
That ever sold him
Nevin land.



Full forty years have rolled their rounds,
    Nor has the time seemed long,
Yet we propose to change our tune
    And sing another song.

But, lest you weary of our rhymes,
    Long time before we're done,
We propose to consolidate
    These forty years --- in one.

And dedicate our humble verse,
    For the love of Auld Lang Syne,
To dear, old friends we'll meet no more
    Upon the shores of time.

And tho' for lack of time and space,
    Your name may not appear,
Like balm, your memory to my heart
    Is ever fresh and dear.

Come, Theresa, put your bonnet on
    And go along with me:
So many things a woman finds,
    A man would never see.

We'll out and "do" this famous town,
    And see the wondrous sights ---
The foot-prints of these forty years
    Among the "Nevinites."

And while we roam the prairies o'er,
    We may expect to see
The vine clad cot of which we've heard ---
    The home of Rosalie.

And we shall find each latch string out ---
    No bell upon the door ---
A welcome, too, in ev'ry home,
    As in the days of yore.

Old friends, we're glad to meet again
    And to recall the past ---
The scenes we never shall forget
    As long as life shall last.

In all the rounds of daily toil,
    We're with you, yet again:
If turning o'er the prairie soil,
    Or binding golden grain.

At service, on the Holy day,
    We're glad to meet you there
Where in the school house oft we stay,
    When churches were not there.

The pleasure of that sacred hour,
    Our rhymes will fail to tell,
When from the spire of "Daniel's" church
    Pealed forth the Sabbath bell.

The hungry cattle roam the hills,
    The herdsman's task begun;
The faithful shepherd leads his flocks
    The tender grasses 'mong.

The flocks and herds are coming in,
    While sinks the golden sun.
So Peter, Ed and Dick and Dan,
    Your task will soon be done.

Our tribute now, to sunny June, ---
    The season bright and fair:
The prairies wide in verdure clad;
    There's beauty everywhere.

Full soon, the months of roses past,
    The glorious 4th draws nigh;
For liberty we'll raise the mast,
    And run "Old Glory" high.

We're bound to celebrate the day,
    Tho' nothing else be done;
No doubt 'twill make a lively lay
    To crowd two-score in one.

In coming years, the trees will grow;
    But now we need their shade;
So, to the neighboring groves we go,
    And booths of boughs are made.

Now Nevin's cooks were always known
    To be beyond surprise;
Today the tables creak and groan
    'Neath tarts and cakes and pies.

It is not fair to mention one,
    When all have done their best;
And ev'ry 4th your zeal's been shown ---
    And each a grand success.

Although one day, the women folks
    And children got a scare.
When John came out in Indian guise,
    But, luckily, --- Joe was there!

A fierce encounter now ensued,
    But soon the job was done;
The burly savage was subdued,
    And then the Deacon had his gun.

Then Hutchings and the parson's wife
    Inspired us all with song ---
Those aged folks seem'd come to life
    You'll all remember long.

And this was what they sang:

    "The morning sun shines from the east
        And spreads his glories to the west;
    All nations with his beams are blest,
        Where'er his radiant light appears."

So science spreads her lucid rays
    O'er lands which long in darkness lays;
She visits fair "Columbia"
    And sets her sons among the stars.

The British yoke, the galling chain,
    One day, with Brother Hugh;
He bore him far above the clouds ---
    Up where the sky was blue.

Soon down he came with mighty thud;
    And "Deacon" sitting by,
Most kindly proffered him his jug,
    For he thought he must be "dry."

Now, Nancy, get your hood and shawl,
    To the school house we'll repair ---
To lyceum and the Farmer's club;
    There's great enjoyment there.

Some weighty questions are discussed ---
    Some grand decisions made:
Their literary talent throws
    Old Boston in the shade.

Here men of thought, and matrons grave,
    And youth and maidens, too,
All join to help the program out,
    With something fresh and new.

Their spicy papers and essays
    Create a "heap" of fun.
Then the debaters take the floor,
    And something's said and done.

And you a novice on the farm?
    Why, they can tell you how ---
Anything you want to raise,
    From mortgage to a cow.

From the Nevin lyceum has gone out
    An influence good and great,
And better makes the world today,
    In home, in church, and state.

We owe a debt of gratitude ---
    The aged and the youth ---
To those who early brought to us
    The messages of truth.

Some rest in Rose Hill's calm retreat ---
    They've passed to their reward.
And others, from our midst gone forth,
    To bear the precious word.

The joys of friendly intercourse
    In early days we had,
Remember we those pleasant things,
    And some that make us sad.

The class we taught in Sabbath school
    Is scattered far and wide;
Some struggling in the conflict still,
    And some beyond the "tide."

Now dear old friend of "early times,"
    We close our faulty rhymes,
But know you never can forget
    The days of Auld Lang Syne.

  --- G. W. G.



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