Phonozoic Text Archive, Document 069

Herwick C. Dodge
"The Speaking Phonograph"

St. Louis Evening Post, May 31, 1878.

A country church our patience tries,
A country sermon shuts the eyes.

Yet, there and then the sweetest notes
That ever thrilled from human throats,
And organ tones, full, rich and rare,
Came floating dream-like in the air.

The music ceased--alas, too soon,
And I commenced my nap till noon;
But started when the text was roared,
And stared at Beecher, Henry Ward.

And as he pounded, laughed and cried,
The country people opened wide
Their mouths in wonder, as they gazed,
While I, like them, felt much amazed.

When baskets had been passed around,
And all with benediction crowned,
I straightway found an honest deacon,
Whose fiery nose shone like a beacon,

And said: "Good deacon, tell me why
This country church is up so high,
With music, and that preacher gay,
When city churches cannot pay?"

He looked at me and laughed a laugh;
"Why, stranger, that's a phonograph!
From all the prima donnas, rare,
We wire their latest opera air,

"And Beecher--mind, I tell you facts--
Is but an image made of wax;
With other churches we exchange,
And thus secure the widest range

"Of pastors, eloquent and good,
And save, both in their ways and food!
But Talmage, fastened on a string
From ceiling, so that he can fling

"The antics of a jumping jack,
Is called the best card of the pack.
These men of wax, so nice to handle,
Have never yet made one wax scandal.

"Therefore they cause us no concern,
For shining lights like these don't burn."