WILL tell you two fortunes, my fine little lad,

For you to accept or refuse;

The one of them good, the other one bad;

Now hear them, and say which you choose.

I see by my gifts, within reach of your hand,

A fortune right fair to behold,—

A house and a hundred good acres of land,

With harvest fields yellow as gold.

I see a great orchard, with boughs hanging down

With apples, green, russet, and red;

I see droves of cattle, some white and some brown,

But all of them sleek and well fed.

I see flocks of swallows about the barn door,

See the fanning-mill whirling so fast;

I see them threshing the wheat on the floor—

And now the bright picture has passed!

And I see, rising dismally up in the place

Of the beautiful house and the land,

A man with a fire-red nose on his face,

And a little brown jug in his hand!

Oh, if you beheld him, my lad, you would wish

That he were less wretched to see;

For his boot-toes they gape like the mouth of a fish,

And his trousers are out at the knee!

In walking he staggers, now this way, now that,

And his eyes they stand out like a bug's;

And he wears an old coat and a battered-in hat,

And I think that the fault is the jug's.

For the text says the drunkard shall come to be poor,

And that drowsiness clothes men with rags,

And he doesn't look much like a man, I am


Who has honest hard cash in his bags.

Now, which will you have: to be thrifty and snug,

To be right side up with your dish;

Or go with your eyes like the eyes of a bug,

And your shoes like the mouth of a fish!





Alice Cary.