14 November 2007

"The Chatham Rabbit" in Poetry. (Rabbit Lore #21, 1912)

As mentioned in Rabbit Lore #20, the Siler City GRIT of the 19-teens, then edited by Chatham RECORD editor Henry A. London's son, Isaac, published a rich body of rabbit-related material. For one thing, the paper compiled figures for exports of rabbits by consulting the local produce merchants on a weekly basis. Week-before-last we posted several examples of the GRIT's boilerplate announcement heralding the open of rabbit season.

The younger London took many approaches to his newspaper that his father did not, and in particular, stressed reader participation in the form of letters and doggerel verse. He featured a few regular correspondents, some of whom we'll be examining soon, but essentially turned the paper's editorial and "LOCALS" pages over to the public as a kind of proto-Chatlist. Reader, belly-up and help yourself to a taste of rabbit-themed poetry in this piece from the

Siler City GRIT, 1912 JAN 10, "'The Chatham Rabbit' in Poetry":
Once again are we permitting our readers the pleasure of scanning 'real poetry.' The following is from the pen of Mr. J.E. Smith. Who will be the next contributor?

"God bless old Chatham county;
God bless her endless bounty;
May her offspring and her sages,
Through endless, countless ages,
Be ever, ever blest.
Of her lads, they know their duty;
From the earth they dig their wealth;
Of her lasses, they have their beauty;
From her springs they drink their health;
None so truthful, none so fair.
Huckleberries and harvest cherries
And a bounteous crop of wheat,
The never-failing blackberries
That makes the pie so sweet;
Though they stain the ladies hand,
Yet there's plenty in the land.
Some are cooked with new-ground wheat
For us and all our hands;
Some by rosy lasses sweet,
For winter's use are canned.
September brings the pumpkin pie,
'Tis mighty hard to beat;
And Uncle Ned's o'possum, why
Is baked so good and sweet.
Of Chatham's greatest blessings,
All these will not compare
To one baked ham of the Chatham Rabbit,
Or dumplings, stew and dressings
Cooked with the Chatham hare.
Cook him as you will
Cook him as you may,
'Tis the same toothsome dish,
It don't matter what you say;
The old-time Chatham hare.
And, when my college life is done,
I'm going to my usual habit;
There to rub my rusty gun
And shoot the Chatham rabbit;
Me and Rattler and Trail.
Prophet, poet and sages
Will sing of them through ages
yet to come.

J.E. SMITH,
Wake Forest, Jan. 2nd.

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