Our Hired Girl

By James Whitcomb Riley 1849–1916
Our hired girl, she's 'Lizabuth Ann;
    An' she can cook best things to eat!
She ist puts dough in our pie-pan,
    An' pours in somepin' 'at's good an' sweet;
An' nen she salts it all on top
With cinnamon; an' nen she'll stop
    An' stoop an' slide it, ist as slow,
In th' old cook-stove, so's 'twon't slop
    An' git all spilled; nen bakes it, so
    It's custard-pie, first thing you know!
             An' nen she'll say,
             "Clear out o' my way!
    They's time fer work, an' time fer play!
         Take yer dough, an' run, child, run!
         Er I cain't git no cookin' done!"

When our hired girl 'tends like she's mad,
    An' says folks got to walk the chalk
When she's around, er wisht they had!
    I play out on our porch an' talk
To Th' Raggedy Man 'at mows our lawn;
An' he says, "Whew!" an' nen leans on
    His old crook-scythe, and blinks his eyes,
An' sniffs all 'round an' says, "I swawn!
    Ef my old nose don't tell me lies,
    It 'pears like I smell custard-pies!"
             An' nen he'll say,
             "Clear out o' my way!
    They's time fer work, an' time fer play!
         Take yer dough, an' run, child, run!
         Er she cain't git no cookin' done!"

Wunst our hired girl, when she
    Got the supper, an' we all et,
An' it wuz night, an' Ma an' me
    An' Pa went wher' the "Social" met,—
An' nen when we come home, an' see
A light in the kitchen door, an' we
    Heerd a maccordeun, Pa says, "Lan'-
O'-Gracious! who can her beau be?"
    An' I marched in, an' 'Lizabuth Ann
    Wuz parchin' corn fer The Raggedy Man!
             Better say,
             "Clear out o' the way!
    They's time fer work, an' time fer play!
         Take the hint, an' run, child, run!
         Er we cain't git no courtin' done!"

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Poet James Whitcomb Riley 1849–1916

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Home Life, Relationships, Eating & Drinking, Activities

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 James Whitcomb Riley

Biography

Known as “The Hoosier Poet” because of his birth in Indiana and poems celebrating the state, and as “The Children’s Poet” due to his appeal for young readers, James Whitcomb Riley was one of his day’s best-selling writers. Full of sentiment and traditional in form, his work features rustic subjects who speak in a homely, countrified dialect. When Riley died, Woodrow Wilson called him “a man who imparted joyful pleasure and a . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Home Life, Relationships, Eating & Drinking, Activities

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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