THE VILLAGE BARBER.
By Thus. J. Ham.
A mournful throng drifts past my door as sadly tolls the bell:
The village-barber is no more! Good man I knew him well.
His heart was light; his mind was free, and noble was his soul.
His like we ne'er shall find, though we may search from pole to pole.
A rustic born, here did he dwell until his sad release;
Yet, strange to say, it so befell, he passed his life in grease.
He was no Pharisee in thought, with heart 'gainst pity shut;
Those who his humble friendship sought from choice he never cut.
He played no sycophantic part; nor flattered, we may hope;
Yet, truth to tell, he knew the art of laying on the soap.
In him were found those virtues, rare, which in the Christian blend;
He always dealt upon the square, yet often shaved a friend.
Artistic were his tastes. 'Twas said he made the fair more fair;
His studies were the human head; his brush immense on hair.
Modest, withal, as violets are, when Spring retints their bloom;
He climbed at night his attic-stair, and there he shed perfume.
He studied little, yet was wise; his days were given to toil;
To read by lamp-light hurt his eyes, yet used he lots of oil.
A Democrat was he, and shared the poor man's joys and woes;
Anointed oft the pauper's beard, and pulled the nabob's nose.
He scorned the right to vote away, nor cared who reached the goals;
Yet, hour by hour, election day he lingered 'round the polls.
Content he ate his honest bread-nor craved the miser's box;
Yet oft, alas, he got ahead by handling others locks.
He was a man of peaceful name, though not a whit afraid;
He seldom spoke of blood or fame, yet often drew his blade.
What though his chosen calling brought a score of scrapes a day;
No blows he struck, no tight he fought, no foe he turned away.
Let who that would invade his place to smite him thigh and hip;
"Twas his to give the "corp de grace" by one artistic clip.
His harshest acts begot no pangs-no pains for poor or rich;
The tend'rest maid would seek his bangs, the proudest Miss his switch.
Down on his proud boy's chin he spied Imperial shadows dim;
Yet, "Here's a heart content," he cried," to razor part with him!"
But when his daughter died, pomade, then asked he in his gloom:
"Mustaches" sweet as these be laid to moulder in the tomb?
Still, when his days were nearly flown, he felt no craven fears;
And bravely yet he held his hone-defiant, spite his shears.
But now he's dead and gone to rest, why should we weep or sigh?
He met the foe with standing crest; he rather liked to dye.
E'en as he scraped and cut and curled, his brush with cowlick vexed;
Clear-spoken from the unseen world, he heard his summons: "Next!"
Such joys he felt; such griefs he bore; such luck his cup to fill;
The village-barber is no more-I knew him well and ill.