Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An' Dry the Orphant's Tear

Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy were real people! Who knew? Not me!
Their original names were Mary Alice Smith Gray and Wesley Gray. I highly recommend reading the history of these two.

Or you can take the version I will post here (Annie today, Andy tomorrow) written by a man who knew them well decades before they became dolls and one of the most instantly recognizable images in the modern age.

Incidentally it was Mary Alice (or Raggedy Ann, or Annie) who first prompted the young Bud to begin writing. And it was his writing that turned her into a worldwide sensation that now includes poems, songs, dolls, Broadway and movies.


To all the little children: - The happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones - Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely
bad ones.

Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an'
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun,
A-listenin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you

Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers, -
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an'
An seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout: -
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an'
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'for she knowed
what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'bugs in dew is all squenched away, -
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' cherish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you


John W. May said...

Now that is a great poem (it’s neat to me how the chosen meter produces a visual beauty to the structure of it). I wonder what region the dialect of it is based on? Can’t wait to read Andy’s tomorrow.

Real people! Who knew?

Doug P. Baker said...

Hey John,

The dialect is Hoosier, the southern half of Indiana. It is heavily German influenced (there are still a few communities around here where English is used in the street, but a version of German is used in the homes). And of course, it is also made to sound like a young kid's way of speaking.

I agree! The meter allows for a very cool layout on the page. Very dramatic, isn't it!