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James Whitcomb Riley poems book published in the 1894 book Armazindy and received very negative reviews that referred to poems like "The Little Dog-Woggy" and "Jargon-Jingle" as "drivel" and to Riley as a "worn out genius". Most of his growing number of critics suggested that he ignored the quality of the poems for the sake of making money.

Genre: Poetry

She made things git up and git Round that little farm o’ hern!— Shouldered all the whole concern;— Feed the stock, and milk the cows— Run the farm and run the house!— Only thing she didn’t do Wuz to plough and harvest too— But the house and childern took Lots o’ keer—and had to look After her old fittified Grandaunt.—Lord! ye could’a’ cried, Seein’ Armazindy smile, ’Peared-like, sweeter all the while! And I’ve heerd her laugh and say:— “Jes afore Pap marched away, He says, ‘I depend on you, Armazindy, come what may— You must be a Soldier, too!’” Neighbers, from the fust, ’ud come— And she’d let ’em help her some,— “Thanky, ma’am!” and “Thanky, sir!” But no charity fer her!— “She could raise the means to pay Fer her farm-hands ever’ day Sich wuz needed!”—And she could— In cash-money jes as good As farm-produc’s ever brung Their perducer, old er young! So folks humored her and smiled, And at last wuz rickonciled Fer to let her have her own Way about it.—But a-goin’ Past to town, they’d stop and see “Armazindy’s fambily,” As they’d allus laugh and say, And look sorry right away, Thinkin’ of her Pap, and how He’d indorse his “Soldier” now! ’Course she couldn’t never be Much in young-folks’ company— Plenty of in-vites to go, But das’t leave the house, you know— ’Less’n Sund’ys sometimes, when Some old Granny’d come and ’ten’ Things, while Armazindy has Got away fer Church er “Class.” Most the youngsters liked her—and ’Twuzn’t hard to understand,— Fer, by time she wuz sixteen, Purtier girl you never seen— ’Ceptin’ she lacked schoolin’, ner Couldn’t rag out stylisher— Like some neighber-girls, ner thumb On their blame’ melodium, Whilse their pore old mothers sloshed Round the old back-porch and washed Their clothes fer ’em—rubbed and scrubbed Fer girls’d ort to jes be’n clubbed! —And jes sich a girl wuz Jule Reddinhouse.—She’d be’n to school At New Thessaly, i gum!— Fool before, but that he’pped some— ’Stablished-like more confidence ’At she never had no sense. But she wuz a cunnin’, sly, Meek and lowly sort o’ lie, ’At men-folks like me and you B’lieves jes ’cause we ortn’t to.— Jes as purty as a snake, And as pizen—mercy sake! Well, about them times it wuz, Young Sol Stephens th’ashed fer us; And we sent him over to Armazindy’s place to do Her work fer her.—And-sir! Well— Mighty little else to tell,— Sol he fell in love with her— Armazindy Ballenger! Bless ye!—’Ll, of all the love ’At I’ve ever yit knowed of, That-air case o’ theirn beat all! W’y, she worshipped him!—And Sol, ’Peared-like, could ’a’ kissed the sod (Sayin’ is) where that girl trod! Went to town, she did, and bought Lot o’ things ’at neighbers thought Mighty strange fer her to buy,— Raal chintz dress-goods—and ’way high!— Cut long in the skyrt,—also Gaiter-pair o’ shoes, you know;
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James Whitcomb Riley

James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) was an American poet, born in Greenfield, Indiana. At the age of 16 he left school and joined a group of itinerant sign painters. Subsequently he acted in a patent-medicine show and worked for a newspaper. From 1877 to 1885 he was a regular contributor of verse to the Indianapolis Journal under the pen name of Benj. F. Johnson, of Boone. Some of the poems were collected in The Old Swimmin' Hole and 'Leven More Poems (1883), a volume that achieved great popularity. His best-known poems include Little Orphant Annie, The Raggedy Man, and When the Frost Is on the Punkin. Riley's popularity derived mainly from his quaint use of Hoosier dialect, his cheerful and whimsical sense of humor, and his intimate understanding of life in the rural Midwest. His other works include Rhymes of Childhood (1890) and Poems Here at Home (1893). more…

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