“Green Apples,” J. T. Trowbridge (from Our Young Folks, August 1868; pp. 470-471)
Pull down the bough, Bob! Is n’t this fun?
Now give it a shake, and—there goes one!
Now put your thumb up to the other, and see
If it is n’t as mellow as mellow can be!
I know by the stripe
It must be ripe!
That’s one apiece for you and me.
Green, are they? Well no matter for that.
Sit down on the grass, and we ’ll have a chat;
And I ’ll tell you what old Parson Bute
Said last Sunday of unripe fruit.
“Life,” says he,
“Is a bountiful tree,
Heavily laden with beautiful fruit.
“For the youth there’s love, just streaked with red,
And great joys hanging just over his head;
Happiness, honor, and great estate,
For those who patiently work and wait;—
Blessings,” said he,
“Of every degree,
Ripening early, and ripening late.
“Take them in season, pluck and eat,
And the fruit is wholesome, the fruit is sweet;
But, O my friends!—” Here he gave a rap
On his desk like a regular thunder-clap,
And made such a bang,
Old Deacon Lang
Woke up out of his Sunday nap.
Green fruit, he said, God would not bless;
But half life’s sorrow and bitterness,
Half the evil and ache and crime,
Came from tasting before their time
The fruits Heaven sent.
Then on he went
To his Fourthly and Fifthly:—was n’t it prime?
But, I say, Bob! we fellows don’t care
So much for a mouthful of apple or pear;
But what we like is the fun of the thing,
When the fresh winds blow, and the hang-birds bring
Home grubs, and sing
To their young ones, a-swing.
In their basket-nest, tied up by its string.
I like apples in various ways:
They ’re first-rate roasted before the blaze
Of a winter fire; and, O my eyes!
Are n’t they nice, though, made into pies?
I scarce ever saw
One, cooked or raw,
That was n’t good for a boy of my size!
But shake your fruit from the orchard tree,
And the tune of the brook, and the hum of the bee,
And the chipmonks [sic] chippering every minute,
And the clear sweet note of the gay little linnet,
And the grass and the flowers,
And the long summer hours,
And the flavor of sun and breeze, are in it.
But this is a hard one! Why did n’t we
Leave them another week on the tree?
Is yours as bitter? Give us a bite!
The pulp is tough, and the seeds are white,
And the taste of it puckers
My mouth like a sucker’s!
I vow, I believe the old parson was right!