James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

Donn Piatt Of Mac-O-Chee


Donn Piatt--of Mac-o-chee,--
Not the one of History,
Who, with flaming tongue and pen,
Scathes the vanities of men;
Not the one whose biting wit
Cuts pretense and etches it
On the brazen brow that dares
Filch the laurel that it wears:
Not the Donn Piatt whose praise
Echoes in the noisy ways
Of the faction, onward led
By the statesman!--But, instead,
Give the simple man to me,--
Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee!


II.

Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee!
Branches of the old oak tree,
Drape him royally in fine
Purple shade and golden shine!
Emerald plush of sloping lawn
Be the throne he sits upon!
And, O Summer sunset, thou
Be his crown, and gild a brow
Softly smoothed and soothed and calmed
By the breezes, mellow-palmed
As Erata's white hand agleam
On the forehead of a dream.--
So forever rule o'er me,
Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee!


III.

Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee:
Through a lilied memory
Plays the wayward little creek
Round thy home at hide-and-seek--
As I see and hear it, still
Romping round the wooded hill,
Till its laugh-and-babble blends
With the silence while it sends
Glances back to kiss the sight,
In its babyish delight,
Ere it strays amid the gloom
Of the glens that burst in bloom
Of the rarest rhyme for thee,
Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee!


IV.

Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee!
What a darling destiny
Has been mine--to meet him there--
Lolling in an easy chair
On the terrace, while he told
Reminiscences of old--
Letting my cigar die out,
Hearing poems talked about;
And entranced to hear him say
Gentle things of Thackeray,
Dickens, Hawthorne, and the rest,
Known to him as host and guest--
Known to him as he to me--
Donn Piatt of Mac-o-chee!

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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