Every now and again, I run across something from the olden days that just has got to be shared with you. This is a poem written by Holman Day way back in 1902 or thereabouts, and in order to save you unnecessary effort — I wouldn’t care to strain your eyes — I’ve done the reading for you.
The text, in case you left your readers off and can’t make it out, is below the little sound bar. If you’re not conversant with modern technology, you play it by hitting the triangle thingie on the left hand side. (Thinking of you, Clark.)
OUR LIARS HERE IN MAINE
There was Sinon, he of Troy, and Ulysses, too, and Cain,
Who preceded many centuries the liars here in Maine.
There was Gulliver, Munchausen, there was Ananias, too,
A very handsome job of it those gentlemen could do.
Yet look at Ananias! Why, his story knocked him dead,
But here in Maine the liar “does” the other man instead.
And Sinon, he of Troy, had to plan and build his lie,
But here in Maine the liar doesn’t even have to try.
For the pure prevarication comes cascading down his lip
And he never seems to falter or to stub his toe and trip.
And he walks abroad with honor, and no mortal will arraign
The pure and worthy motives of the liar here in Maine.
His strongest hold is fishing, and he fixes with his eye
The victim who must listen and who never dares deny.
Each river and pellucid pond, each brooklet and each stream,
Possesses fifty liars to preserve it in esteem.
And he that owns a yaller dog, and he that owns a hoss
Will never see their laurels dimmed, if words can add a gloss.
’Tis true the old inhabitant, narrating ancient tales,
Occasionally soars to heights where homely language fails.
So then, alas, he’s hampered some, but note his kindling eye,
And as he gets his second wind, observe how he can lie!
’Tis no invidious charge I bring against this worthy crew,
We love the lies they tell to us and love the liars too.
They hold to truth in business deals, they’d never lie to cheat;
But when the “sport” comes down from town, by gracious he’s their meat.
They “torch” him up with narrative until his fancy steams
And swogons, yaps, and witherlicks go ramping through his dreams.
For when our solemn ruminants describe the olden times
They stimulate a state of mind I can’t describe in rhymes.
I pen this humble lyric and I bring a wreath of bay,
For the good prevaricators doing business down this way.
May their tongues be ever limber, and imagination free,
With no interloping infidel to ask how such can be.
May the plug from which they nibble spice a piquant, pungent tale,
May words to paint the details of their fiction never fail.
Let the chips from which they whittle always have an even grain,
And we’ll challenge all creation with our liars here in Maine.