Volume 003

Compiled by Bill Hillman

ERB's Other Side: Poetry 

1. The Poem That Inspired the Mucker

2. OUT THERE SOMEWHERE by Henry Herbert Knibbs
3. Minidoka 937th Earl of One Mile Series M -- An Historical Fairy Tale by ERB
6. 89 S.S.S.!
8."Once there was a man. . ." 1887
13. IT’S ANTS!
14. Other Little-Known Poems by ERB
15. ALONG THE SHORE by Henry Herbert Knibbs
...Evelyn Burroughs McKenzie
Tarzan Wasn't Her Uncle's First Writing...
17. THE BLACK MAN'S BURDEN (1898 or 1899)

1. The Poem That Inspired the Mucker

The title of Henry Herbert Knibbs poem Out There Somewhere was ERB’s original title for Part II of THE MUCKER, written in 1916. A prominent feature of this story was the educated vagabond named Bridge, who was continually breaking into verse with affectionate odes to the open road. Almost everything that is quoted by Bridge in THE MUCKER comes from the same Knibbs poem. Knibbs, born in 1874, was a Canadian contemporary of Burroughs, and it is clearly apparent that ERB was much taken by his verse. It was published in 1914 by the Houghton Mifflin Co. as part of a collection called “Songs of the Outlands: Ballads of the Hoboes and Other Verse.”

There is every indication that ERB actually was inspired to use his poem as a framework around which to build his story. “Out There Somewhere” has fourteen stanzas and Burroughs took them individually (not in their original order) and quoted no less than eleven of them all through the story. Stanzas 2 and 3, which ERB did not quote, appear to be the source for the character of Bridge. In addition to this, he used the last stanza to end the book, thus linking the conclusions of both works.

2. OUT THERE SOMEWHERE by Henry Herbert Knibbs
(The numbers indicate the page where quoted in THE MUCKER) 
323 As I was hiking past the woods, the cool and sleepy summer woods,

I saw a guy a-talking to the sunshine in the air;
Thinks I, he’s going to have a fit -- I’ll stick around and watch a bit;
But he paid no attention, hardly knowing I was there.

He must have been a college guy, for he was talking big and high, --
The trees were standing all around as silent as a church --
A little closer I saw he was manufacturing poetry,
Just like a Mocker sitting on a pussy-willow perch.

I squatted down and rolled a smoke and listened to each word he spoke;
He never stumbled, reared or broke; he never missed a word,
And though he was a Bo like me, he’d been a gent once, I could see;
I ain’t much strong on poetry, but this is what I heard:

219 “We’ll dance a merry saraband from here to drowsy Samarcand.
Along the sea, across the land, the birds are flying South,
267, 297 And you, my sweet Penelope, out there somewhere
                            you wait for me,
341 With buds of roses in your hair and kisses on your mouth.

220 “The mountains are all hid in mist; the valley is like amethyst;
The poplar leaves they turn and twist; oh, silver, silver green!
Out there somewhere along the sea a ship is waiting patiently,
While up the beach the bubbles slip with white afloat between.

259 “The tide-hounds race far up the shore -- the hunt is on!
                    The breakers roar,
(Her spars are tipped with gold and o’er her deck the spray is flung);
The buoys that rollic in the bay, they nod the way, they nod the way!
The hunt is up! I am the prey! The hunter’s bow is strung!”

297 “Out there somewhere, --” says I to me.
                                                “By Gosh! I guess that’s poetry!
Out there somewhere - Penelope - with kisses on her mouth!”
And then, thinks I, “O college guy, your talk it gets me in the eye,
The North is creeping in the air; the birds are flying South.”

266 And yet, the sun was shining down, a-blazing on the little town,
A mile or so ‘way down the track a-dancing in the sun.
But somehow, as I waited there, there came a shiver in the air;
“The birds are flying South,” he says. “The winter has begun.”

252 Says I, “Then let’s be on the float; you certainly have got my goat;
You make me hungry in my throat for seeing things that’s new.
Out ere somewhere we’ll ride the range a-looking for the
                                                                            new and strange;
My feet are tired and need a change. Come on! It’s up to you!

316 “There ain’t no sweet Penelope somewhere that’s longing
                                                                            much for me,
But I can smell the blundering sea and hear the rigging hum;
And I can hear the whispering lips that fly before the outbound ships;,
And I can hear the breakers on the sand a-booming ‘Come!’”

322 And then that slim, poetic guy, turned and looked me in the eye:
“...It’s overland and overland and overseas to -- where?”
“Most anywhere that isn’t here. " I says. His face went kind of queer:
The place we're in is always here. The other place is there."

He smiled, though, as my eye caught his. “Then what a lot of
                                                                                there there is
To go and see and go and see and go and see some more.”
He did a fancy step or two. Says he, “I think I’ll go with you --”
... Two moons, and we were baking in the straits at Singapore.

223 Around the world and back again; we saw it all. The mist and rain
In England and the dry old plain from Needles to Berdoo.
We kept a-rambling all the time. I rustled grub, he rustled rhyme --
Blind baggage, hoof it, ride or climb -- we always put it through.

414 Just for a con I’d like to know (yes, he crossed over long ago;
And he was right, believe me, Bo!) if somewhere in the South,
Down where the clouds lie on the sea, he found his sweet Penelope,
With buds of roses in her hair and kisses on her mouth. 

3. Minidoka 937th Earl of One Mile Series M -- An Historical Fairy Tale (circa 1903 and adapted here from the Porges Bio) By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Minidoka is a captivating, humorous, satirical, and highly imaginative fairy story that presages the ERB talent that was to flower ten years later. Idaho was the setting for the tale and ERB created two imaginary kingdoms separated by the Raft River and “forever at war.” Burroughs’ facility in concocting names that were unusually rhythmic, colourful, or comical, which was strikingly evident in his later works, both the Tarzan and other worlds series, is noticeable at this early period. He liked to experiment with odd syllables and combine them to produce strange words that sounded realistic in the bizarre settings he created. He had a keen ear for original phonetic combinations. There are shades of Lewis Carroll here, and the style surfaces again in the work of John Lennon, the Monty Python comedy troupe and countless fantasy writers. The complete poem which follows, is contained on pages 63-65 of the unpublished Minidoka manuscript.

    AN EVENING LULLABY FOR THE CHILDREN by Edgar Rice Burroughs 1903 
This long poem is now finally available on pages 49-51
in the illustrated hardcover edition of:
MINIDOKA - 937th Earl of One Mile Series M
Illustrated by J. Allen St. John (cover painting), Edgar Rice Burroughs and Michael Wm. Kaluta
Published by Dark Horse Comics, Inc. (1998) $14.95


Horses are large
And horses are small
Some horses kick
But hurrah for them all.

Dogs are good,
And dogs are bad,
Dogs are solom,
And dogs are sad,

Some dogs snarl,
And some dogs bite,
Some dogs are playfull
And their all right.

---Edgar Rice Burroughs, Circa 1887

6. 89 S.S.S.!

In eight teen hundred and eighty nine,
For my brothers to be seniors it will be time
And then you bet their hats will shine,
In eight teen hundred and eighty nine.
From September eighty seven to September eighty eight,
Will be the first and last of their Junior date.

---Edgar Rice Burroughs, Circa 1887


The snow is falling thick and fast
In Chicago
And I hope every gust will be the last
In Chicago
And it falls on every side walk
In Chicago
And the lazy folks talk
In Chicago
How tired they will get Before it will melt,
In Chicago.

---Edgar Rice Burroughs Circa 1887


Once there was a man who thought himself quite grand
There was a dagger in his belt and pistol in each hand
But when he saw a poor blind mole
He climbed up a very tall pole

But before he reached halfway to the top
One of his pistols he had to drop.
But at the bottom it hit the pole
And going off shot dead the mole.

Then this grand man came sliding down.
And carried the mole in to the town
And told the people (the wicked knave)
That he was good, and strong, and brave

He told them too he killed the mole,
But never mentioned climbing the pole.

---Edgar Rice Burroughs - (1887)
Accompanying this poem, included in a letter to his brothers George and Harry, are excellent examples of ERB's early artwork. He illustrated the poem with a man in a cowboy suit climbing an flagpole toward an American flag.


My dear, he said at breakfast time,
The Cubs have lost some more;
But as a loser I’m sublime,
‘A Good Game Loser,’ that is I’m;
List’ not, you’ll hear no roar.

Say, what in -----is this-----stuff?
It tastes to me like slops;
As coffee it’s a rotten bluff.
This steak is raw and awful tough;
Those market guys are wops.

Then at the office; “Say, how much
Do you folks think I’ll stand?
That straight front blonde’ll get in Dutch
If she ain’t here on time. Lord, such
A bunch should all be canned.

“Say, boy, you ain’t no brickybrack,
You’re paid to do some work.
Hike out o’ here, and don’t come back.
Who wrote these credits here in black?
Where’s that-----------billing clerk?

“My sweet,” he said, at eats that night,
“Although it’s naught to me,
I note the Cubs played outosight
Today. They’ll nail that pennant right.
This is delicious tea”

Edgar Rice Burroughs Chicago Daily Tribune, Sept. 16, 1911


Oh, who hath copped the Wailing Place
I ask you, dear old pal.
No Place they keep where one may weep
In sunny southern Cal.
The butcher man he robs me blind;
Robs me the grocer deft;
The brigand cruel who sells me fuel
He taketh what is left.
The garage man (accent the gar),
Unmindful of my groans,
He wrecks my car with loud Har! Har!
And later picks my bones.
And now the Wailing Place is gone
Where shall we find us rest?
Unless you say: “Come hither pray,
And weep upon my vest.”

--Normal Bean, San Diego Cal. Chicago Daily Tribune, Feb. 3, 1914


When one first comes to southern Cal
And gloms the cloudless blue,
One swallows nearly everything
While listening to the natives sing
The Climate and the View

And when one’s robbed and bilked and bled
And flimflammed through and through,
The native tries to ease the pain
By bleating loudly and amain
Of Climate and the View.

The lean and hungry realty man
Adheres to one like glue.
He has not eaten for a year,
Yet still one hears him bravely cheer
The Climate and the View.

And when one comes to leave for home,
And bids the south adieu.
One must admit, would one be fair,
That Sunny Southern Cal is there
With Climate and with View.*

*And nothing else.

---Edgar Rice Burroughs Chicago Daily Tribune, March 30, 1914


From out the yellow, musty past
Of faded files and drear
I wriggle from oblivion
To answer, “Master, here!”

My old blood starts and almost flows -
Ah, memory sublime! -
Of long gone day when first I made -
(Aw, shucks! that doesn’t rime.)

Yet once again before I go
To reap reward condign,
I’m glad that I have heard the call -
The old call of the line;

The call that’s old, yet ever young,
Nor time, nor age can stint;
The ancient call for which I fall -
To see my name in print.

---Edgar Rice Burroughs Chicago Daily Tribune, May 31, 1915

13. IT’S ANTS!

I wonder what is wrong with us
And why the dither and the fuss
That we should travel anywhere
To get from here to go to there.
Nor give continental damn
Just so we can be on the lam.
Cuelebra Cut! Kailua hut!
We liked Havana also, but
We didn’t find sands point so bad,
Nor all the planters punch we had
With Mr. X and his Miss Z
Beside an azure tropic sea;
And I will bet that some pretext
Will take us on to Shanghai next,
It seems there’s something in our pants.
My diagnosis is: It’s Ants.

---Edgar Rice Burroughs

A number of typed manuscripts of poems by ERB were discovered in the office safe at Tarzana. The earliest, a short stanza written around 1908, bears the stark title, “Poverty”. Reflecting the family situation at that time, this was one of his first literary efforts. There are a number of ditties written circa 1925 for a Breakfast Club to which Mr. Burroughs belonged. There is also a humorous poem written in August 1936 entitled, The $ Steamship cow”, with references to the Dollar Line’s S.S. President Garfield, on which ERB as possibly a passenger. One of his most elaborate attempts at verse among the papers was a ten-page epic entitled, “Genghis Khan”. Other poems have been reported as having appeared in various newspapers, particularly during his younger days and perhaps even before 1908.

A sample of Burroughs poetry in his published novels is the corrupted version of “God Save the King” which appears on page 69 of the 1957 book edition of BEYOND THIRTY (page 64 in the Ace paperback, “The Lost Continent”). Another example -- probably originally a Breakfast Club special -- is on page 231 of THE MUCKER

15. ALONG THE SHORE by Henry Herbert Knibbs

It has been said that ERB put much of himself into character Bridge in The Mucker, and it has been speculated by some that for the use of Knibbs' verse in his books -- i.e. The Mucker and The Oakdale Affair -- ERB returned the favour by doing some writing for Knibbs.

The waves come walkin' up the sand;
"Weep! Weep! and "Hush!" along the shore,
Fretting' and teasin' at the land,
And rollin' up the smooth brown floor,
Frettin' and sayin' things galore.

One night in June I left the ties
And made a fire to boil some tea
Down on the beach; a paradise,
With nothin' round to bother me
Except the talkin' of the sea.

The stars were blinkin' big and still;
The drift-wood fire was snappin' bright;
The moon, back of me on the hill,
Was flirtin' with the summer night,
Just a-pertendin' to make light.

I had the makings and I smoked
and wondered over different things,
Thinkin' as how this old world joked
In callin' only some men kings
While I sat there a-blowin' rings.

Me? I was king of anywhere,
Peggin' away at nothing, hard.
Havin' no pet, paric'lar care;
Havin' no trouble, or no pard;
"Just me," filled up my callin' card.

The waves come walkin' up the sand;
"Weep! Weep! and "Hush!" along the shore;
Fumin' and frettin' at the land,
And rollin' something up the floor;
Frettin' and sayin' things galore.

Something -- The moon was growin' bright
And cold and high and big and round --
Something that floated limp and white;
Something I wish'd I hadn't found,
A woman in the moonlight, drowned!

And then I saw that she was young;
Was pretty-dressed and not long dead.
Her hair was black and thick and hung
Just like a cloth wound round her head.
"Weep! Weep!" and "Hush!" the ocean said.

No storm had lately been that June;
There was no sign of wreck of boat,
But shinin' in the rising moon
I saw a locket on her throat,
And in the locket was a note.

The note I read close to the flame;
--The fire with some fresh wood I fed --
Just one word, and below, a name;
-- Close to the fire a-dancin' red --
One word, "Good-bye" the locket said.

I thought I knew her story then,
For she was pretty-like and sweet;
"Good-bye" I stooped and read again,
I crossed her hands and made her neat;
Then shakin' I got on my feet.

I might 'a' left her there for such
As come and stare to see next day;
But thinks I, I can do this much;
I'll hide her from what folks will say,
Guessin' at why she went away.

I buried her there in the sand.
"Good-bye" I said for her once more.
I left the locket in her hand;
The waves were sayin' things galore;
"Weep! Weep!" and "Hush!" along the shore.

                                                                   ---Henry Herbert Knibbs

                                                                ...Evelyn Burroughs McKenzie
...Tarzan Wasn't Her Uncle's First...

Mrs. McKenzie has proof that ERB's writing career started much earlly than with Under the Moons of Mars. She has three small handmade books composed, lettered and illustrated by the man whose Tarzan of the Apes would beocme one of the most popular and profitable characters of all time.

Her Uncle Ed made them to entertain his little niece around the turn of the century, when he was gold-dredging with his brother Harry, her father, in the rugged Northwest. The books show the same imagination and liveliness their creator would display later in his published work. He was about 25 at the time, an impractical dreamer with a droll sense of humor.

"I adored him," (she) said...as she leafed through a neat collection of yellowed photographs from the time. "He was my favorite uncle. He was always full of jokes and nonsense. And he had a twinkle in his eye that was...well, it was just different."

When her uncle was producing his first books for her personal pleasure, she was a curly-haired child spending summers on the Snake River in southwest Idaho. Her mother would take the two children -- Evvie and her brother Studley -- from Chicago, their winter home, by train.

Her first book is called Snake River Cotton-Tail Tales, the cover embellished with two cotton-tail bunnies who continue through the book. Inside, neatly lettered and signed with a flourish is the inscription:
            Author's Autographed Edition -- Ed R. Burroughs --
Limited to One Copy Of Which This is No. 1
The young author used his imagination to play on words, but for his lively water color illustrations he took his models from the outdoor life around him. Facingthe page illustrations of an angry bull rushing after a man barely escaping by somersaulting the fence is the drawing of a bullrush (cattail) and the following poem:
"A bull rush in the meadow,
As the blue-jay on the wing,
Informs me, "said the rabbit,
"That we'll see an early spring."
Facing a page on which the bunnies watch a cow slippping
down a slope is this rhyme:
"When I see the little cow-slip,"
Said the rabbit to his chum,
"I can read the story plainly
That another Fall has come."
Opposite a ranch house scene with farm animals and barnyard fowls is:
"That great big ugly eggplant, ma.
"Just bit me on the leg."
"That is a hen you foolish child."
"Well I saw her lay an egg."
"Good morning Mrs. Bunnie, could you loan a friend some money?
"I have not tasted food for several days.
"I who used to be the real thing could eat a cast iron cinch ring
"Who's bucked th egiddy tender-foot
"Who's gi'en 'em all the shakes."
"Good morning Pinto Cayuse, you used to pass right by us,
"Your appetite's improving of your ways.
"If you starve a little longer your manners may grow strong.
"Since you're such a wondrous bucker"
"Why don't you Buckwheat Cakes?"
"Is this what they call a cabbage, ma,
"I've been eating for an hour?"
"No, you silly little child
"It's what they cauliflower."
Another book her uncle put together is Grandma Burroughs' Cook book, also illustrated in color and hand-lettered, inscribed (with old-fashioned long Ss like Fs), for Miftrefs Evelyn, Christmas 1901. The recipes are subdivided for a child, some of the measurements so small they are given in gills, drops and pinches. They seem quite accurate. "They must have been, for I remember making biscuits when I was 5 or 6 and getting praised for it." There are recipes for cookies, fried chicken, angel-food cake, and other goodies...all illustrated with performing angels, one of them startled by a star bouncing off her halo.
A third little book by the unknown author is a kind of family book, rhymed stories with jokes referring to the various personages of the household. It also gives advice to Mistress Evelyn on the kind of a man a girl should seek to marry -- not a Dude or a Ward Heeler or a "Hahvaahd Boy," but a real Yale Man. (Harry was Yale '89). The book shows the same playful wit as the others, and the pen-and-ink sketches exaggerate the costumes the times, including the women's big leg-o-mutton sleeves. Ed liked women of generous proportions, she said, and the illustrations bear her out. They are highly expressive of character. "He never had a drawing lesson," his niece said, "and he never studied writing.
                                     -- Mrs. Evelyn Burroughs McKenzie
interviewed for a Charlotte Observer feature article

17. THE BLACK MAN'S BURDEN (A Parody) (1898 or 1899)
(Introduction by the editor of the Pocatello Tribune: The following clever lines, in imitation of a recent very celebrated poem (The White Man's Burden by Rudyard Kipling), are the composition of one of the well-known young men of Pocatello --Ed.)
Take up the white man's burden,
The yoke ye sought to spurn;
And spurn your father's customs;
Your father's temples burn.
O learn to love and honor
The white God's favored sons.
Forget the white-haired fathers
Fast lashed to mouths of guns
Take up the white man's burden,
Your own was not enough;
He'll burden you with taxes;
But though the road be rough,
"To him who waits," remember,
"All things in time shall come;"
The white man's culture brings you
The white man's God, and rum.
Take up the white man's burden;
'Tis called "protectorate,"
And lift your voice in thanks to
The God ye well might hate.
Forget your exiled brothers;
Forget your boundless lands;
In acres that they gave for
The blood upon their hands.
Take up the white man's burden;
Poor simple folk and free;
Abandon nature's freedom,
Embrace his "Liberty;"
The goddess of the white man
Who makes you free in name;
But in her heart your color
Will brand you "slave" the same.
Take up the white man's burden;
'And learn by what you've lost
That white men called as counsel
Means black mean pays the cost.
Your right to fertile acres
Their priests will teach you well
 Have gained your fathers only
A desert claim in hell.
Take up the white man's burden;
Take it because you must;
Burden of making money;
Burden of greed and lust;
Burden of points strategic,
Burden of harbors deep,
Burden of greatest burdens;
Burden, these burdens to keep
Take up the white man's burden;
His papers take, and read;
'Tis all for your salvation;
The white man knows not greed.
For you he's spending millions --
To him, more than his God --
To make you learned, and happy,
Enlightened, cultured, broad.
Take up the white man's burden
While he makes laws for you,
That show your fathers taught you
The things you should not do.
Cast off your foolish feathers,
Your necklace, beads, and paint;
Buy raiment for your mother,
Lest fairer sisters faint.
Take up the white man's burden;
Go learn to wear his clothes;
You may look like the devil;
But nobody cares who knows.
Peruse a work of Darwin --
Thank gods that you're alive --
And learn the reason clearly: --
The fittest alone survive.
                    -- Edgar Rice Burroughs

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All Original Work ©1996-2003 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
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