Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 10, 1905)
UPWJWPWP, ,wu "gw v'".?TT
NOVEMBER 10, 1905.
tne Commoner. 5
Who Feez Great Truths And Tell Them"
Some one has written that "pcrte are all who
jovo who feel great truths and tell them." That
being true, it may fairly he sa. that Will M.
Maupin, who for so many years had given enter
tainment to Commoner readers, is a poet. The
Commoner receives so many letters commending
Mr. Maupin's work that it had been thought
proper to give to the readers of this publication a
brief sketch of his life and characteristics.
Mr. Maupin was born in Missouri, August 31,
1863. He obtained his primary education, in the
public schools of Illinois and Missouri, and grad
uated from a country print shop. In 1881 he
became en apprentice in the office of the Holt
County Sentinel, Oregon, Mo., and since then has
been connected with some branch of the art prn
servative. In conjunction with his creditors he
has owned and, invariably according to his own
sweet will, has edited several cc-ntry newspapers
and some of these if not, indeed, ajl of them
he has, because of his editorial independence,
made what may, in truth, be called a most
His talents were early recognized by editors
of daily newspapers, and he was soon called to
that field where he made a creditable record.
For many years he wrote paragraphs and verse
for the Omaha Daily World-Herr.ld, and the read
ers of that newspaper havu a delightful recol
lection of the great services Mr. Maupin rendered
in that important field. In 1901 Mr. Maupin asso
ciated himsf with The Commoner, and the char
acter of his work for tliis publication is well un
derstood. Perhaps those Commoner readers who have
been entertained by Mr. Maupin's uniformly ex
cellent work will be interested in knowing that
he has a wife and three children two little girls
and one big boy. A son and caughter died in
infancy, and perhaps those who have been
touched by some of his splendid verses will be
intArntPfi in lcamlne that his noems relating to
children have been inspired Dy the emotions
growing out of his acquaintance with his own lit
Not every one who can make a rhyme Is en
titled to rank as a poet.
"Give me a theme," the little poet cried,
"And I wiir do my part."
"'Tis not a theme you need," the world replied;
"You need a heart."
Mr. Maupin has the "heart." His writings do
not necessarily show it, because some of the
most heartless men have been able to write some
of the most touching verse.
On one occasion I read a beautiful poem de
scriptive of the deep affection tne writer felt for
his wife, and it need not be said that later I was
amazed to learn that one of the breakfast table
diversions of that so-called poet v .3 to hurl tea
cups at the subject of his muse.
That "flowers should not be reserved for tne
bier but should be bestowed at the time when
they will do the most good" Is, a fule to be adhered
to for the benefit of society as well as for the
gratification of the one to whom the tribute is
paid. All too often society learns of the fine char
acteristics of a man when It is too late for society
to avail itself of the opportunities for profit; and
perhaps those who have been pleased with Mr.
Maupin's writings in the past will read his writ
ings in the future with increased interest In the
light of some of the things that are here said.
Commoner readers need not be told of Mr.
Maupin's versatility. His stern arraignment of
"The Frenzied Financiers" of the day as shown, for
instance, in his poem of September 9, entitled
"Valiant Defenders of the National Honcr," or in
his poem of October 6, "Put It Back," indicates
the intensely practical side of his character.
Among all the contributions with respect to the
conclusion of the- peace treaty at Portsmouth, New
Hampshire, none was more complete than Mr.
Maupin's poem of -September 8, entitled "Peace."
His "Fables ia Rhyme and Prose" are now famous
wherever -The Commoner circulates. "My Moth
er's Song," and "The Foundations of Faith," writ
ten years agD must have toucned the heart of
every one v.'.o had the fine privilege of reading
those excellent verses.
But it is in his poems of childhood that Mr.
Maupin is at his best. One of the sweetest poems
is entitled "Whip Behind," and In .nese verses
is emphasized the fact that the meanest man on
earth is the one who, when a little lad hitches
his sled to a wagon "always whips behind." And
those who participate in the innocent pleasures
of the children will have no difficulty In Joining
with Mr. Maupin In the fine tribute:
"God bless the man who's kind enough &
To smilo and look ahead;
"Who never growls because a boy
Hooks on a little sled. --; w .
May health be his, and length or years; "My".
And may he fortune find; " - 4 -
For nothing is too good for him
Who never whips behind."
One poem entitled "Hello Pop!" and another
entitled "The Baby's Shoes" will make an ap
peal to every parent who has loved and lost. But
there are many of Mr. Maupin's associates who
happen to know the circumstancer under which
these two beautiful poems were written. Years
ago, as now, the writer was Mr. Maupin's office
associate, and has no difficulty In remembering
a little one, long since fallen asleep, who had
the habit of poking his little head in the door and
exclaiming "Hello, Pop!" And ror one with that
recollection it is not at all difficult to understand
WILL M. MAUPIN
the lines of the simple verse descriptive of the
cheery greeting, while the little one lived, nor
of the hope expressed in the concluding lines:
"When, after Death's cold, chilly hands
Have loosed the last of earthly bands,
And caused Life's weary load to drop;
I'll feel it is supremest joy
To meet at heaven's gate my boy
And hear his welcome, 'Hello, Pop'!"
I remember well the occasion when "The
Baby's Shoes" was written. Mr. Maupin and my
self were then employed on the Omaha World
Herald. The members of the family were visit
ing at North Bend, Neb., and he was suddenly
summoned there to the death ned of the baby
who had so often greeted him "Hello, Pop!" The
baby was stricken with diphtheria and died, and
on the next evening's mail we received from Mr.
Maupin the following verses:
THE BABY'S SHOES
Lay them away, stained by a mother's tears;
Precious keepsakes through the coming years.
The baby's shoes, the tips now slightly worn,
Their spring heels frayed by r-nning o'er the
floor . . t. ,
Lay them away, with hqartstrin wrenched
For baby's feet will wear them never more.
But through the gloom of all the coming years
The baby's shoes will ope the foui . of tears.
Lay them away, and sacred memory
Will cluster 'round them till his face we hog
Until In robes of angel's purest white,
With harp swopt by his little fingers blest,
His smile shall banish all tho gloom of night
And call us to tho Father's endless rost.
Thoso little shoos! Through all tho coming years
They'll speak of him, and fill our eyes with tears.
Lay them away! No more will baby's feet
Run to the gate with patt'ring music swoct.
Upon the shoros of brighter, ondloss day
Ho stands. lie smiles and wavos his hand, "
And after we have quit life's woary way
We'll greet our baby In that hotter land.
And so wo'Il keop thoBe shoos through all tho
And they shall banish all our doubts and fears.
Perhaps a dozen nowspapor men wore gath
ered In the reporters' room when these versos
were given to one of them to road. Every ono
of these men had seen much of life. Tho man
to whom the verses had first boon handed read,
perhaps, two or three lines, and then passing
it to a neighbor hurriedly left tho room. The
other started to read, but he In turn passod It to
another, and departed; and so o. e after tho other,
in tho parlance of tho street, "roll down" In the
effort to read these simple verses. Of course the
familiarity with the circumstances under which
they had been written had much to do with the
fact that no ono was able to read tho poem
throughout. The last man to wnom It was hand
ed sent it to tho printer while all tho other mem
bers of the group of "hardened" newspaper men.
hurriedly made their exit.
When you know the circumstances under
which this touching bit of verse was written, can
you blame thom?
"The Road to Smilovlllo" Is ono of Mr. Mau
pin's optimistic poems, with which, doubtless,
many Commoner readers are entirely familiar;
and "Dood Mornin' " Is another ono doscrlptivo
of the cheer, daily greeting familiar to every
happy parent. "The Beautiful Kingdom" Ib ono
of his sweetest poems. This, as will bo remem
bered, had reference to tho "Kingdom of Never
Grow Old," whore "hearts that are light as the
clear skies above," where "children aro ruling
with scepters In hand, for youtn is tho monarch
of one happy band," where "tho la igl tor of little
ones, borne u the air, is surceas. for sorrow and
cure for all care," where "the gates aro unlocked
by a sweet baby kiss, and love sits enthroned In
tho city of bliss, in tho kingdom of Never-Grow-
"Tho Look-Out Man" is one or tho prettiest
poems ever written appropriate to the Christmas
time. It contains a warning to tho children
some such warning as even we grown folks often
need. According to this tale
Nov listen, little children, an I'll tell a story true,
An'-better you remoraber, 'cause it means a lot to
An' If you heed th' lesson, then vrr.en Chrls'raas
time Is here
You'll get a lot of pleasure, an' a lot o' Chris'mas
"The Look-Out man is walkin' when the stars
begin to peep
To see if little children are in bed and fast asleep,
And all who act up naughty and don't mind their
ma's and pa's
Tho Look-Out man is watchln' and he'll tell old
"The Look-Out man is peepin' through the winders
And countln' up the children who are always
An' goin' off to bed at onct when told 'tis tlmo
An' never poutin', not a bit, or takin' clothes off
"He puts 'em in his good book, but the bad ones
in tl.e bad,
And when he writes a bad one he jus' looks, Oh,
'Cause he knows they won't get nothin'. Better
mind your ma's and pa's;
The Took-Out man is watchln' and he'll tell old
If "poetry is something to make us wiser
and better by continually revealing those types
of beauty and truth which God has set In all men's
souls," then Will M. Maupin r rendered service
to the world In tho manv beautiful lines he ha
written. RICHARD L. METCALFE.
.,:, -..,... ..A,..,.,;...- s ,&.!
Powered by Open ONI