1874: Idaho Jargon doggerel

“Cowboy poets” had a vogue around the year 2000, as I recall…

But here’s the real deal, frontier-era verse with references to the great nature poets, card-playing, and Chinook Jargon!

a protest

[Written for the IDAHO WORLD.]


I’m not a poet, but at best
I think right here I will protest
Against this everlasting pest,
That daily grows—
I mean those poets who molest
By rhyming prose.

My friend from Centerville has took
The language of the sage Chinook—
Been reading some old Siwash book
On Nom Deplumes[sic]
Or seen the flashing Tilamook
And aped its tunes.

I like the Hiyu Cum Tux style
Of dealing us a friendly smile,
‘Twill come in play after awhile,
If “Nater [sic] capers.
But he can never make his pile
Contributing to papers.

I like Joaquin’s vehement glow;
Walt. Whitman’s sharp, sarcastic flow,
And the pleasing “apropos”
Of other bards:
But when our poets rise to show,
I yield the cards.

Horseshoe Bend, Jan. 24, 1874.

— from the Idaho City (Idaho Territory) Idaho World of February 12, 1874, page 1, column 3

Siwash = Chinuk Wawa’s sawash ‘Native, Indigenous person’.

Hyu Cum Tux = CW’s hayu kəmtəks ‘much-knowing’.

“Nater is a reference I’m not catching yet. Joaquin is Cincinnatus Heine “Joaquin” Miller, the popular “Poet of the Sierras”.

What do you think?
qʰata mayka təmtəm?