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Stock Market
Quotations
From the Works of

SOPHRONIA TIBBS

Collected by

and

LEONARD HATCH
Illustrated' by HERBrROTH

New York

THE JOHN DAY COMPANY

192.6

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COPYRIGHT, 1916, BY LEONARD HATCH


FIRST PUBLISHED, DECEMBER, 19x6

PRINTED IN THE U.

JOHN DAY COMPANY, INC.


BY DOUGLAS C. MCMURTRIE, INC., NEW YORK

FOR THE
S.

A.

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To

To

Those

Who Know All About Wall

This Garland of
Song

is

Fondly Dedicated

Street

and

Those

Who Know Nothing About It

Contents
PAOE

Wall

Street

The Opening

Tip

The

The Broker

Dividend

IO

The Stock Exchange

11

The Stock Certificate

Bulls and Bears

16

Bonds

18

The Pool

10

The

Cutting a Melon

Luncheon Time

The Stenographer

2.6

Selling Short

18

Big Operator

30

The Margin Call

31

The Bargain Hunter

34

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The

Around

the

Ticker

36

The Lamb

38

The Bond Salesman

40

The Panic

4*-

The Closing

44

When Evening

Comes

46

vii

Preface
(in

the approved

manner)

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To those who know and love the poems of


Sophronia Tibbs it may seem a work of super

erogation to mention her personality, so com


pletely do her poems themselves speak for and
of her. And yet those of the great reading
public to whom she comes for the first time if
there be any such, those who will find her a
solace and a galvanic delight, surely all such
are entitled to know more of this priestess of
lyric song.
I remember well the occasion when I met
Sophronia Tibbs for the first time. It was no
coincidence that took my path across hers, for I
had come to the little village of Rawsbury in
the express hope of penetrating her seclusion
and meeting her face to face. And such was my
privilege.
It was on a warm afternoon in late June that
her maidservant, the austere Deborah, answer
ing my tap with the knocker on the old front
door, told me that I should find Miss Tibbs in
the garden. Thither I turned my footsteps, and
there I spied her, amid her beloved rosemary
and thimblewort, her lobelias and dwarf calo
mel, which she has so often sung. She was min
istering to them; indeed at the instant I caught
sight of her she was looping up a loop of lupine

ix

on a lattice out of the way of a parasitical trapweed just beneath. Inevitably there flashed into
my mind her celebrated couplet :
We should always

be

good to herbs and flowers,


very good friends of ours.

For they certainly are

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As she stood there in the sunshine, her black


silk dress and spare figure outlined against a
mass of sunflowers behind her, I realized even
before she spoke that my pilgrimage had not
been in vain. . . .
I realized it still more half an hour later, as I
sat with her in her parlor sipping the gun

powder tea and eating the quaint little cakes


sprinkled with antimony seed which Deborah
had served us. Everything in the room was in
keeping with its owner, from the tatting of the
Hepplewhite antimacassars to the graceful
Chippendale andirons in the fireplace. I shall
never forget the picture Sophronia Tibbs made
as she sat there, erect, shrewd, at once benefi
cent and caustic, humble and proud. Some of
her fellow-townsfolk have called her crabbed;
to me she seemed rather a symbol of serenity.
Indeed, she reminded me of "Mehitable" in her
poem of that name.

You remember, it

begins

She has escaped many of the ups and downs of life,


Never having had the experience of being a wife.

At any

rate, there she sat, a fragment of by


gone days surviving into this twentieth cen

tury, but very much alive for all that. And in


x

her lap lay a portfolio, bound with white


ribbon, containing the voluminous manuscript
of all her poems, which she had entitled
Poems of Passion and Current Events.

It was from this portfolio that I obtained her

consent to extract the separate poems pertain


ing to high finance which now make up the
collection in this slender volume.
So much for the genesis of this collection.

And so much for Sophronia Tibbs herself. Yet


how much more might be told of her. How, for
example, she began writing poetry when she
was hardly more than a child. How she early
attracted the attention of her English teacher
in the grammar grade by leaving on that lady's
desk a rosy-cheeked apple to which was pinned
a slip of paper bearing the lines :
Here

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My

is an apple for you, Teacher Dear.


affection for you

I trust it will make clear.

From that day on it has been just one lyric after


another, poured forth at white heat.
A vast amount of curiosity has been expended
in wondering how it came about that Sophronia
Tibbs, in the secluded vale of Rawsbury, could
ever have acquired her knowledge of the world
of finance, and all its procedure. The answer is
simple. When only thirty-one she inherited
seventeen hundred and fifty dollars from a
distant uncle. With this she promptly bought
seventeen hundred and fifty shares of stock in a
xi

gold mine in Arizona. Though every cent of


that money was lost, the incident kindled in
her an inextinguishable interest in Wall Street

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and its ways. She was not embittered; but pos


sibly the episode is the cause of the latent
sardonic note which appears to a greater extent
in these lyrics of Wall Street than in her poems
of love or horticulture.
There is even a story that Sophronia Tibbs,
leaving home for six months, disguised herself
as a boy and for all that time worked as a
messenger in the Stock Exchange itself in order
to learn just what Wall Street is like. I place
little credence in this rumor myself: I can as
easily imagine Sophronia surrendering her vir
tue as to think of her with clipped hair and
trousered limbs running errands in the canyons
of downtown New York. Yet there is the story,
and, incredible as it sounds, it would serve to
explain Miss Tibbs' grasp of the financial

world.

For it must

be admitted, even by the most


captious, that she shows an almost uncanny
acquaintance with what she in one of her
poems (not included in this collection) refers

to

as
. . . the throbbing financial marts of trade
Where men and their souls are marred or made.

Those best versed in Wall Street affairs have


admitted and admired Sophronia Tibbs' accu

xii

racy and insight in a field which might well be


foreign to her. No less a personage than Rufus
Dalrymple, the railroad king, upon reading the
proof sheets of this book, said: "A veritable
compendium of useful financial data. I heartily
recommend it as a manual to anyone under
taking either investment or speculation in the
Stock Market." Paxton Pelham, the financial
wizard, was less kindly; with something akin
to a sneer, he remarked: "Hm! I thought the
muck-rakers had all died off"!" But then he
added: "Just the same, you got to hand it to
this Sophie person; she knows her Wall Street

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onions."

Slang, if you will; but none the less a tribute.


Yet no one would be more surprised than
Miss Tibbs herself at such expert analyses of her
poems' subject matter. For, rightly or wrongly,
she regards herself not as critic, controversial
ist, nor moralist, but as a humble handmaiden
of the Muse. True, she has a rigid moralistic
philosophy, as is implied in such poems as
'
' '
'The Stenographer, "When Evening Comes,
' '
or the final line of "The Panic. But Sophronia
Tibbs is above all a singer, and her lines need
no more justification than the haunting and in
effable lyric aroma pervading them. By that she
must stand or fall.
LEONARD HATCH

xiii

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Stock Market Quotations

Wall

Street

It's not so much like Main Street


As it is similar to the Zoo,
For there are bulls and bears there,
And of lambs more than

a few.

It is not at all surprising

That it contains a great deal of noise,


For lots of people are hurrying about,
Both millionaires and messenger boys.
Also many members of the public,
All on the lookout for pelf,
For an important rule of Wall Street is :
"Every man for himself.

great many brokers offer


To assist you till their last breath;

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But 'tis well for you to realize


They don't mean to starve to death.
However, there is no other place
Exactly like Wall Street;
Whether you make money or lose it,
The experience is quite a treat.

2.

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A
great many brokers offer

To assist you

till their

last breath

The Opening
The Stock Market opens at ten o'clock,
And all about the members flock;
For exactly five hours they will try
To buy stocks low and sell them high.
If of that they cannot make a go,
At least they can buy them high and sell them low.
So step up, ladies and gents, the Market is open.

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And from the bottom of my heart Here's hoping


That the day's events will so luckily run
That you'll make your fortune, each one,
Whether you happen to be a million dollar buyer
Or a shipping clerk taking his very first flier.

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So step up, ladies and gents, the Market

is
open

The Tip
A tip is very quiet,
It doesn't make much

noise;
But what a sacred thing it is
Among the Wall Street boys.

Tis passed

along from mouth to mouth,


It skips from ear to ear,
And if you'll just believe it,
It is beautiful to hear.

It tells you just what stocks and

bonds

Are going up, and why;


It fills you with the impulse

To immediately buy.

It

covers every naughty hook

With most alluring bait;

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And the nicest thing about it is


That it is always termed straight.
And if upon a banana peel
You've ever had a slip,
You know exactly how it feels
Whene'er you take a

"tip."

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THE TIP

'Tis

passed along from mouth to mouth

The Broker
When stocks go up, he seems to think
That they will never drop;
But when way, way, way down they sink
He fears they'll never stop.
When Bulls are plenty as can be,
Then nothing else will do;
But when the Bears get busy, he
Puts on a bear-skin too.
Sometimes he's talkative as sin,
Sometimes he won't say nothing,

And when you ask him how to win,


He's mum as any muffin.

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As for predicting how things'll go


He always seems to fear it:
He loves to say "I told you so!"
But hates like time to hear it.
He's non-committal if you try
To force him that he tell,
He'll say it might be wise to buy,
And also wise to sell.

In other words,
That

he

such is his position,

doesn't object to the usual commission.

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He'll
say

it might
be

And also wise to sell

9
wise to buy,

The Dividend
"Hurrah, the dividend check has come;
The postman brought it today;
Of course it is not a very large sum,
But 'twill help us on our way.

'Twill aid to buy the baby

shoes,

And paper the sitting room.


Also a part of father's lodge dues,
And many another boon.

"Of

course

'twill not do all

these things;

To claim that would be rash;


And yet it many a blessing brings,
Like any other cash.
"We hope that great prosperity
Will continue without end;

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And that no corporation adversity


Will stop our dividend."

10

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Hurrah, the dividend

II
check has come

The Stock Exchange


It is housed in a stately edifice on Wall Street;
It is very massive and grand, but also shipshape
and neat;
Its hours are ten to three, and every working day,
It carries on its business in jts own unique way.

In from all directions telephone

messages pour,

And spirited buying and selling is conducted "on


the floor;"

Each member is free to select his favorite "post;"


The man who can shout the loudest, generally does
the most.
It's funny to see grown men like jumping jacks
hop around,
For though they pay thousands for their seats, they
very seldom sit down.

In spite of looking brave,

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these men are very scary;


When they hear bad news they become very wary :
When crops are poor, or Death some financier

claims
They consider that a mean trick to interfere with
their aims ;
Also elections and legislation they consider bad biz.
They'd like to see everything in the world stay
just as it is.

Though they may have a lot of common sense, they


always seem to "park it"
Somewhere outside their heads when they enter
the Stock Market.

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For though they fay thousands for their seats, they


seldom sit down

13
very

The Stock Certificate


Beautiful, beautiful parchment of blue,
Green, or brown, or other hue,
The sound of your crackle so crisp
Is delightful (in its way) as a babe's lisp.

love your signatures and seals,


Your scrollwork looking much like wheels,
Your pictures of engine, or angel, or miner,
Surely no other art could look finer.

If you are as worthy as you look,


I feel like cutting a caper.

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But often the best-looking certificates


Turn out to be just "a scrap of paper."

14

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Bulls and Bears


Bulls and Bears are very fine beasts,
But don't get on together, to say the least.
I don't know which is wrong, or which is right,
But while they're both on Wall Street, there'll
always be a fight.
Bulls always want to see the Market go higher,
Until it's as high as the tallest spire;
Bears always want to see it go lower,
They don't care who gets covered with gore.

To

it has always

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seemed very funny


That, whichever it does, somebody loses money.
And so it's as plain as plain can be
That Bulls and Bears can never agree.
me

And this is the moral of this song:


Whichever you choose, you're sure to choose wrong:
For if you're a Bull, then prices will drop;
But if you're a Bear, they'll soar to the top.

16

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Whichever you choose, you're sure to choose wrong

17

Bonds
When some extra money is needed
By any of the foreign nations,
Or when the same predicament
Is encountered by our own corporations,
They get out an issue of bonds
To tempt the public with tempting percents;
And they leave the matter of selling these

With clever Wall Street

gents.

The latter announce in advance


When they will open the books,
And the public is supposed to subscribe
As eagerly as rooks.

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When the books are opened,


The buying public responds;
Many individuals got the habit
When they first bought Liberty Bonds.

"Heavily over-subscribed"

Is what they always say;


never read anything else,
So of course it must be that way.

And

if you

are a

widow or orphan,

With not too many

a penny,

Probably buying bonds with gilt edges


Is as good a way as any.
18

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"Heavily over-subscribed"

19

The Pool
You'd think anything which is called

Pool

Is a sheet of water, moist and cool;


But if you don't get out of one when you "orter,"
You will find yourself in very hot water.

A pool is

of men, blithe and gay,


But not resembling the Y. M. C. A.
a group

They take a stock not very well known


And put it clear up on a golden throne.
Then they say to the public: "Better get in,
Or you'll lose a chance to make lots of 'tin'."
But they don't tell the public about the pool,
For that of themselves would be making a fool.

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They say: "This stock will be worth lots more;


If you don't buy it now, later you'll be sore."
And it often goes up, like 'twould never stop,
And the public buys it, right at the top.
Then it often goes down as if zero it would reach,
But the pool doesn't care, for they've gone to
Palm Beach.
If the pool sticks together, everything's all right,
If not, 'tis like the slang expression "Good

Night!"

zo

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But

the pool doesn't care,

for they've

gone to

Palm Beach

Cutting

Melon

When a corporation is prosperous,


The Market begins to surmise
That the future will contain
Some delightful surprise.
Perhaps an extra dividend
Will go to each stock holder;
Maybe a melon will be cut
'Ere the company's much older.

When a melon is cut


That is exceedingly nice,
Because then those concerned

Each get

a slice.

say "melon"
Has never been understood,

Why they

If they

said

"pie" or "cucumber"

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'Twould do just

as good.

And sometimes those who've thought


There 'd be a melon soon
Find to their dismay
It turned out to be a prune.

11

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Each
.
.
.

then those concerned

get

a slice.

2-3

Luncheon Time
The Market opens at ten o'clock,
It does not close till three,
But at noon the stomach feels it cannot
Wait till it's time for tea.

For

even a banker or broker

Cannot do without food,


But he has to get it quickly
Lest his absence should be rued.
So perched upon a stool

He frequently has his luncheon;


Neither a messenger nor Morgan
Has time for leisurely munching.

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He gets back very quickly,


But still 'tis an open question
Whether his gain in stocks and bonds
Is worth the loss in digestion.

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Neither a
messenger

2-5

nor Morgan

Has time for leisurely munching.

The Stenographer
A girl who is fond of admiration
Cannot do better than a situation
As Wall Street stenographer, because then
She is surrounded by many men.

The work is not too difficult,


And yet good pay is the result.
In her position she can stick,
Provided she's good at arithmetic.

Of course to be safe from temptation's lure,


A girl should be modest and demure;
Hell's hellish pitfalls are too close
To girls who put powder on their nose.

For

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alas ! 'mid the frenzied quest for gold,


There are some men there, both young and old,
Who fiends that they are are not above
Betraying the sacred name of Love.

Yet no young Wall

Street stenographer

Should feel that Fate is unkind to her:


For many, beginning there, end their life
By a hearthstone as some rich banker's wife.

2.6

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fiends . . . not above


Betraying the sacred name of Love
.

2-7

Selling Short
Oh, roller-skating 's exciting,
And so are volcanoes too,
And a good old-fashioned blizzard
Will put you in quite a stew;
But of all exciting pastimes,
Or any kind of sport,
There's nothing quite so thrilling
As the game of Selling Short.

It isn't

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merely selling
Something which you have got;
It's much more complicated,
You sell what you have not.
And the thing that makes it exciting
(If you don't believe me, try it)
Is that after you have sold it
You have simply got to buy it.

And so, when you go to buy it,


If you have to pay a price
Higher than what you sold it for
That isn't quite so nice.
And the market is most disobliging
Though no one seems to know why,
For it's always down when you have to sell,
And it's up when you have to buy.

2.8

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The Big Operator


Some people call him a

"Bull;"

Others consider him a "Bear;"


But all admit he is a mystery
.

Hiding within his lair.

Frequently he

To

uses the telephone


purchase many a share;

But when he gives an order to sell


His rivals had best beware.

If you

should see his Private office


With mahogany desk and chair,
Whether the Market goes up or down
You'd think he did not care.

And yet

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though young and envied


Gray locks are in his hair,
For sometimes the Market's behavior
Has given him many a scare.

30

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The Margin Call


My God What is this Hellish Letter
!

The postman brings today?


think a bomb would please father better
He cannot say it Nay.

He bought his stocks outright at first,


But his account kept on enlarging,

Until at last

he became so immersed

He took to buying "On Margin."


And oh ! that is a dangerous act,
For in trying to get rich quick,

Many

a soul has found

it

a fact

That in the end it made him sick.

For

a margin call is a danger flash,

If you

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get one you must not lag


To put up more collateral or cash,
Or else your fortune will sag.

For Wall Street has its wicked men


Who, with many a ghoulish shout,
Just lure their victims in and then
Proceed to sell them out.

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My God! What is this Hellish Letter

33

The Bargain Hunter


When stocks are all a-booming
And things seem in Plenty's lap,
And the public flocks to buy in swarming ranks,

Tis

then the Bargain Hunters


Do not seem to care a rap,
But keep their money in the Savings Banks.

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When prices are a-tumbling


Until they're way down low,
And prospects are as dismal as can be,
'Tis then the Bargain Hunters
On the horizon show,
And look about to see what they can see.
They seemed so kind of stupid
When they would not seize the chance
To follow with the crowd when wild it went;
But they somehow look quite different
When the pockets of their pants
Bulge with stock which later brings them twelve
percent.

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Around the Ticker


If you

watch a crowd about a "ticker,"


You might think they had been drinking liquor

Or at least beer;
For some look glum, and some look mad,
And some look pleased, and some look sad,
As they peer.
Some are grumbling to their neighbors,
Some look willing to cut up capers,

As the tape's unrolled;


Some seem almost ready to frolic,
Some look as if they had the colic,
At what they behold.

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They stay for hours, with these funny actions,


Watching jumbled alphabets and fractions
On the tape;
From ten to three it ticks away,
And from the verdict it has to say,
There's no escape.

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37

The Lamb
Little Lambs,
Do not roam,
Stay at home;

Do not turn your feet


Toward Wall Street.

Little Lambs,

Though you think

In

twink

You'll gain cash,

Don't

be rash.

Little Lambs,
Don't play the fool,
But save your wool;
Wall Street shears

Will bring

you tears.

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Little Lambs,
Oh, beware!
Have a care !
In that lair
Wolves are there.

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Little Lambs, do not roam

39

The Bond Salesman


Father hoped he'd be a lawyer;
Mother wished him a preacher to be;
His sister favored him for an artist;
But a Bond Salesman is he.

At college he was

mighty athlete;
It was a wonderful thing to see
Him run right past the opposing tacklers;

Now

a Bond Salesman is he.

He'd have made an excellent truckman;


He could have chopped many a tree;
Had brains enough to be a movie actor;
But a Bond Salesman is he.

Still, he might have turned out a gun-man


Now languishing in "Cell 33;"
Or he might have been pickpocket or bootlegger
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Instead, a Bond Salesman is he.

He had to be doing something,


So his mother's kind brother, Uncle G.,
Gave him a desk in his office;
And now a Bond Salesman is he.

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The Panic
The bottom's dropped out of the Market,
It simply will not stay,
And so the newsboys are shouting:
"Panic on Wall Street today!"
Stocks go lower and lower
As if they would never stop;
Of failures and of suicides
There is a largish crop.

The President and Secretary of Treasury


Generally issue a proclamation,
"Great wave of Prosperity
Saying:
Existing throughout the nation."

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But what good are proclamations


When stocks go down and down,
And everyone watching the "tickers"
Is wearing a frightened frown?

Of course, after

an endless time,
Lowest levels the Market reaches;

Nevertheless a panic is deplorable,

And what

a lesson

it teaches

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"Panic
on

Wall

43
Street today!"

The Closing
Three o'clock has struck at last,
All the day's transactions are past;
With the setting of the sun,
Some have lost and some have won.

If you

lost, pray do not sorrow,


You may win it back tomorrow;
Besides,
those who won today
Tomorrow will probably throw it all away.
Anyhow

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For

three

is past,
o'clock has struck at last.
one more day

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You may win it back tomorrow

45

When Evening Comes


All day

they have worked hard on the Street,


And now they are entitled to eat;
And so they pause and haste away
To keep their tryst with old Broadway.

Amid the music, lights, and flowers,


Some brokers beguile themselves for hours;
And some neglect alas for these!
The lessons learned at Mother's knees.
The lights of Broadway are so bright,
So tempting is its rare delight,
Even Babylon, you may be sure,
Possessed no greater feminine lure.

But who shall blame them? Say, ah, who?

Although

one must such actions rue

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After their long day's arduous task,


Forgetfulness is all they ask.

Although they yield to Woman's wiles,

And bask in painted and purchased smiles,


Though to rum they may succumb, or beer,
Let us grant them our prayers and shed a tear.

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All
day they have worked hard on the Street

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