Garden City, Minnesota Poem by John Daggett - Circa 1862-63, Blue Earth Co., MN

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Made available to The USGenWeb Archives by: William Porter


Garden City! The town I sing,
Of many a great and little thing;
Of daring deeds, of actions rash,
Of gentlemen __ but short of cash;
Of ladies that delight to shine,
In biggest hoops of crinoline,
A town of mill sites, and such mills!
That go "see-saw" and then stand still;
Of fine hotels __ such ones are rare,
Of balloon frame just fit for air;
An armory, too, with muskets filled,
With which the sharp shooters are drilled,
As useful as a row of pins,
To guard us from the wild red skins.
All these give to this growing town,
A lasting fame, wide spread renown.

Alas! What change hath this fast age,
Inscribed upon its history's page!
When this fair spot first met my eyes,
It was indeed, a Paradise,
With gentle slopes bedecked with flowers,
And fragrant groves, with fragrant bowers;
Its Watonwan, whose silvery tide,
Kiss the green willows by its side;
Its tall cliffs crowned with forest trees,
Where gently sighed a passing breeze;
And timid warblers, thrilled their notes,
Unstartled by man's rude approach.
True, twas like Eden's garden then,
With but a few abodes of men;
Her halcyon days were passed in peace,
By her fair Adams and fair Eves.

But lo! From Boston Satan came,
Of tall man's shape, of well known name,
And by his side there came his Imp,
That carried Ledger, Pen and Ink,
And gold watch from the silver Smith,
And fob chain to suspend it with.
Intending now to force the place,
Satan first pries around the Case.
The Case is fast, it is no use,
He's not so easy to break loose;
Then tries the Lock, the gate flies open,
Satan's within, and Lock is broken.
Then looking 'round, lo! he decried,
One S. M. Folsom by his side,
And grinning like a Demons Elf,
Soloquises to himself,
"By Jove, one little man I see,
A morsal fat he'll be to me;
I'll swallow him; yes, that I will,
I'll swallow him just like a pill,
I'll lay a plan, I'll place a snare,
I'll nab him too, e'er he's aware.'

Thus spoke, and at him made a grasp,
That near had been the poor man's last,
As when a snake, by marsh or bog,
With fiery eyes beguiled a Frog.
The Frog when once within its gaze,
In vain can 'scape the dazzling blaze, 
But nearer to the extended jaws,
Unconscious of its fate it draws,
Springing, the snake now holds him tight,
And foolish frog is swallowed quite.
The snake would eat him, but, in vain!
The frog's too large, he's clear again,
Then leaps and croaks for very joy,
Of having 'scaped the dread decoy;
Just so, the Satan of the town,
Had nearly choaked poor S. M. down,
But found he was too large a fellow,
And so he stuck quite in his swallow;
Then struggling with his might and main,
Made Satan spew him out again.
Then like the frog, Sam croaks for joy,
"Ha! I'm too much for you, old boy!"
Man wants but little, is my song,
Nor wants that little very long.

By John Daggett
[Written about 1862 or 1863.]

The poem was written by one John Daggett, an early resident of 
Garden City, Minnesota during the Indian trouble.  The Satan he 
referred to in the poem was [Mr.] E. P. Evans, also an early 
resident of the place.  Edgar Dilley of Parma, Idaho, sent this 
poem to my mother, Mrs. Ellen (Parks) Porter in 1920.  It had 
been saved by Edgar's mother, Mrs. Joseph Dilley an early resident 
of Garden City, MN.  This poem was copied by Mrs. Stella (Porter) 
Clague [b. Ceresco Township, BECo. d. Redwood Falls, MN] from the 
original handwritten version. [The author of this readers note is 
Mrs. Stella (Porter) Clague.]

[The transcriber wishes not to preserve the old wounds of an 
earlier time, but submits this old poem as a moral lesson to 
the current generation.  Your remembrance may not be as eloquent, 
so be mindful of your public demeanor and the people who will later 
remember you.  The poem was faithfully re-typed to preserve all 
grammatical errors and misspellings.  
Transcribed by William W. Porter on 21 February 2001.]