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Two Inland Noodles at the Sea


Those of us who live near the ocean forget it is a new experience for the land-locked. In this 1885 poem by Will Carleton, a comic farmer wrestles with the mighty sea. For readers who can handle this wave of Victorian verse, there is a lot of clever stuff here and some funny illustrations from the dawn of the age of seacoast tourism. 






The Farmer in the Ocean by Will Carleton


noodle01.jpgIn this rollicking bit of Victorian fluff, farmer Stebbins and his wife experience the sea for the first time. Writer Will Carleton (1845 – 1912) humorously captured the moment in his book City Ballads. The farmer tells his story in rhyme in a letter to his cousin John. Although his work is rarely seen today, at least in the East, Carleton was well read in his day. Raised on a Michigan farm, Carleton was best known for his rural and farm tales and his ability to depict lovable characters. The artist who penned these clever illustrations is not credit in the collection. --- JDR


We got here safe -- my worthy wife and me --
And took a tent here in the woods contigious to the sea;
We've harvested such means of grace as growed within our reach --
We've been to several meetings here, and heard the Bishop preach;
And everything went easy like until we took a whim --
My wife and I — one breezy day, to take an ocean swim.

We shouldn't have ventured on't, I thlink, if Sister Sunnyhopes
Hadn't urged us over and again, and said she knew "the ropes,"
And told how soothing it would be "in ocean rills to lave,"
And "sport within the bounding surf," and "ride the crested wave;"
And so we went along with her -- my timid wife and ime --
Two inland noodles, for our first acquaintance with the sea.

They put me in a work-day rig, as usually is done --
A warnpus and short overalls all sewed up into one.
I had to pull and tug and shrink to make the thing go 'round
(You are aware my peaceful weight will crowd three hundred pound).
They took my wig and laid it up -- to keep it dry, they said –
And strapped a straw-stack of a hat on my devoted head.


They put my wife into a frock too short by full a third;
'Twas somewhat in the Bloomer style -- I told her 'twas absurd!
You, know she's rather long and slim — somewhat my opposite —
And clothes that was not made for her is likely not to fit;
But as we was we vent'red in -- my timid wife and me
And formed our first acquaintance with the inconsistent sea.

CONTINUE with Rustic in the Ocean

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