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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 395

  FIRST HAM—You can’t tell. It might flop in a bigger house. It’s just a little every-day family troupe, if you know what I mean. Nothin’ to it but Craven and the notion.
  SECOND HAM—I give him the notion.

4. Vers Américain
  [The following “Élégie Américaine,” by John V. A. Weaver, of Chicago, 4 marks the first appearance of the American vulgate, I believe, in serious verse. It has been attempted often enough by comic poets, though seldom with the accuracy shown by Mr. Lardner’s prose. But it was Mr. Weaver who first directed attention to the obvious fact that the American proletarian is not comic to himself but quite serious, and that he carries on his most lofty and sentimental thoughts in the same tongue he uses in discussing baseball.]
I wished I’d took the ring, not the Victrola.
You get so tired of records, hearin’ an’ hearin’ ’em,
And when a person don’t have much to spend
They feel they shouldn’t ought to be so wasteful.
And then these warm nights makes it slow inside,
And sittin’s lovely down there by the lake
Where him and me would always use ta go.
He thought the Vic’d make it easier
Without him; and it did at first. I’d play
Some jazz-band music and I’d almost feel
His arms around me, dancin’; after that
I’d turn out all the lights, and set there quiet
Whiles Alma Gluck was singin’ “Home, Sweet Home”,
And almost know his hand was strokin’ my hand.
“If I was you, I’d take the Vic,” he says,
“It’s somethin’ you can use; you can’t a ring.
Wisht I had ways ta make a record for you,
So’s I could be right with you, even though