(NYE'S FORD, STANISLAUS, 1870)

Do I sleep? do I dream?
Do I wonder and doubt?
Are things what they seem?
Or is visions about?
Is our civilization a failure?
Or is the Caucasian played out?

Which expressions are strong;
Yet would feebly imply
Some account of a wrong--
Not to call it a lie--
As was worked off on William, my pardner,
And the same being W. Nye.

He came down to the Ford
On the very same day
Of that lottery drawed
By those sharps at the Bay;
And he says to me, 'Truthful, how goes it?'
I replied, 'It is far, far from gay;

'For the camp has gone wild
On this lottery game,
And has even beguiled
'Injin Dick' by the same.'
Then said Nye to me, 'Injins is pizen:
But what is his number, eh, James?'

I replied, '7, 2,
9, 8, 4, is his hand;'
When he started, and drew
Out a list, which he scanned;
Then he softly went for his revolver
With language I cannot command.

Then I said, 'William Nye!'
But he turned upon me,
And the look in his eye
Was quite painful to see;
And he says, 'You mistake; this poor Injin
I protects from such sharps as YOU be!'

I was shocked and withdrew;
But I grieve to relate,
When he next met my view
Injin Dick was his mate;
And the two around town was a-lying
In a frightfully dissolute state.

Which the war dance they had
Round a tree at the Bend
Was a sight that was sad;
And it seemed that the end
Would not justify the proceedings,
As I quiet remarked to a friend.

For that Injin he fled
The next day to his band;
And we found William spread
Very loose on the strand,
With a peaceful-like smile on his features,
And a dollar greenback in his hand;

Which the same, when rolled out,
We observed, with surprise,
Was what he, no doubt,
Thought the number and prize--
Them figures in red in the corner,
Which the number of notes specifies.

Was it guile, or a dream?
Is it Nye that I doubt?
Are things what they seem?
Or is visions about?
Is our civilization a failure?
Or is the Caucasian played out?


About Francis Bret Harte


Francis Bret Harte was an American author and poet, best remembered for his accounts of pioneering life in California. He was born in Albany, New York, as Francis Brett Hart. He was named after his great-grandfather Francis Brett, and his family name was Hart. When he was young his father changed the spelling of the family name from Hart to Harte. Later, Francis preferred to be known by his middle name, but he spelled it with only one "t", becoming Bret Harte. He moved to California in 1853, later working there in a number of capacities, including miner, teacher, messenger,... Read more...

Poet of the day

Akhtar ul Iman (Urdu: اختر الایمان) was a noted Urdu poet and screenwriter in Hindi cinema, who had major influence on modern Urdu nazm.

He won the Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue in 1963 for Dharmputra and 1966 for Waqt. He was awarded the 1962 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu,...
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Poem of the day


Gud Hellig-Aand! i Tro os lær
Vor Frelser-Mand alene
Af Hjertet ret at have kiær,
Og Hannem saa at tjene,
At vi fra Dødens Grumhed maae
I Herrens Liv den Redning faae,
Hans Død os dyrt fortjende!

Giv, at din sunde Lærdoms Kraft
...
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