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A Leap-Year Episode
Eugene Field


Can I forget that winter night
In eighteen eighty-four,
When Nellie, charming little sprite,
Came tapping at the door?
“Good evening, miss,” I, blushing, said,
For in my heart I knew—
And, knowing, hung my pretty head—
That Nellie came to woo.

She clasped my big red hand, and fell
Adown upon her knees,
And cried: “You know I love you well,
So be my husband, please!”
And then she swore she 'd ever be
A tender wife and true.
Ah, what delight it was to me
That Nellie came to woo!

She 'd lace my shoes, and darn my hose,
And mend my shirts, she said;
And grease my comely Roman nose
Each night on going to bed;
She 'd build the fires, and fetch the coal,
And split the kindling, too.
Love's perjuries o'erwhelmed her soul
When Nellie came to woo.

And as I, blushing, gave no check
To her advances rash,
She twined her arms about my neck,
And toyed with my mustache;
And then she pleaded for a kiss,
While I—what could I do
But coyly yield me to that bliss
When Nellie came to woo?

I am engaged, and proudly wear
A gorgeous diamond ring,
And I shall wed my lover fair
Sometime in gentle spring.
I face my doom without a sigh;
And so, forsooth, would you,
If you but loved as fond as I,
And Nellie came to woo.

This poem is in the public domain.


Eugene Field (1850 -1895) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, raised in Amherst, Massachusetts, and spent most of his adult life in Chicago. Best known for his children's poetry and humorous essays, he explored acting and law before turning to a very successful career in journalism. Eugene lost both parents before he was 20, buried three of his eight children, and died himself when he was only 45. He nonetheless seemed to have a happy and satisfying life, publishing more than a dozen books and forever endearing himself to the world's children by penning such classic poems as "The Duel” and "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.” Eugene's home in St. Louis is preserved and open to the public.






Post New Comment:
Wonderful poem!
Posted 02/29/2020 11:26 AM
Love it!!
Posted 02/29/2020 10:37 AM
Wonderful. Thanks for introducing him to us (me). I just read his The Dueling (and others). What fun. He seems to be another Norman Rockwell of poetry in his times. Randy
Posted 02/29/2020 09:18 AM

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