A Prospective Visit

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

While any day was notable and dear
That gave the children Noey, history here
Records his advent emphasized indeed
With sharp italics, as he came to feed
The stock one special morning, fair and bright,
When Johnty and Bud met him, with delight
Unusual even as their extra dress -
Garbed as for holiday, with much excess
Of proud self-consciousness and vain conceit
In their new finery. - Far up the street
They called to Noey, as he came, that they,
As promised, both were going back that day
To his house with him!

And by time that each
Had one of Noey's hands - ceasing their speech
And coyly anxious, in their new attire,
To wake the comment of their mute desire, -
Noey seemed rendered voiceless. Quite a while
They watched him furtively. - He seemed to smile
As though he would conceal it; and they saw
Him look away, and his lips purse and draw
In curious, twitching spasms, as though he might
Be whispering, - while in his eye the white
Predominated strangely. - Then the spell
Gave way, and his pent speech burst audible:
"They wuz two stylish little boys,
and they wuz mighty bold ones,
Had two new pairs o' britches made
out o' their daddy's old ones!"
And at the inspirational outbreak,
Both joker and his victims seemed to take
An equal share of laughter, - and all through
Their morning visit kept recurring to
The funny words and jingle of the rhyme
That just kept getting funnier all the time.

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