The Farmer quit what he was at,
The bee-hive he was smokin':
He tilted back his old straw hat--
Says he, 'Young man, you're jokin'!
O Lordy! (Lord, forgive the swar,)
Ain't ye a cheeky sinner?
Come, if I give my gal thar,
Where would _you_ find her dinner?

'Now look at _me_; I settl'd down
When I was one and twenty,
Me, and my axe and Mrs. Brown,
And stony land a plenty.
Look up thar! ain't that homestead fine,
And look at them thar cattle:
I tell ye since that early time
I've fit a tidy battle.

'It kinder wrestles down a man
To fight the stuns and mire:
But I sort of clutch'd to thet thar plan
Of David and Goliar.
Want was the mean old Philistine
That strutted round the clearin',
Of pebbles I'd a hansum line,
And flung 'em nothin' fearin'.

'They hit him square, right whar they ought,
Them times I _had_ an arm!
I lick'd the giant and I bought
A hundred acre farm.
My gal was born about them days,
I was mowin' in the medder;
When some one comes along and says--
'The wife's gone thro' the shadder!'

'Times thought it was God's will she went--
Times thought she work'd too slavin'--
And for the young one that was sent,
I took to steady savin'.
Jest cast your eye on that thar hill
The sugar bush just tetches,
And round by Miller Jackson's mill,
All round the farm stretches.

''Ain't got a mind to give that land
To any snip-snap feller
That don't know loam from mud or sand,
Or if corn's blue or yaller.
I've got a mind to keep her yet--
Last Fall her cheese and butter
Took prizes; sakes! I can't forget
Her pretty pride and flutter.

'Why, you be off! her little face
For me's the only summer;
Her gone, 'twould be a queer, old place,
The Lord smile down upon her!
All goes with her, the house and lot--
You'd like to get 'em, very!
I'll give 'em when this maple bears
A bouncin' ripe-red cherry!'

The Farmer fixed his hat and specks
And pursed his lips together,
The maple wav'd above his head,
Each gold and scarlet feather:
The Teacher's Honest heart sank down:
How could his soul be merry?
He knew--though teaching in a town,
No maple bears a cherry.

Soft blew the wind; the great old tree,
Like Saul to David's singing,
Nodded its jewelled crown, as he
Swayed to the harp-strings' ringing;
A something rosy--not a leaf
Stirs up amid the branches;
A miracle _may_ send relief
To lovers fond and anxious!

O rosy is the velvet cheek
Of one 'mid red leaves sitting!
The sunbeams played at hide-and-seek
With the needles in her knitting.
'O Pa!' The Farmer prick'd his ears,
Whence came that voice so merry?
(The Teacher's thoughtful visage clears)
'The maple bears a cherry!'

The Farmer tilted back his hat:
'Well, gal--as I'm a human,
I'll always hold as doctrine that
Thar's nothin' beats a woman!
When crown'd that maple is with snow,
And Christmas bells are merry,
I'll let you have her, Jack--that's so!
Be sure you're good to Cherry!'