I knew an old philanthropist, a farming man was he,
Shrewd at a deal, but still withal a man of charity.
He had three sons - three hefty lads - Josiah, Jim and Joe,
And each of these had his own land, and made a goodly show.
But still the farming methods of Josiah, Joe and Jim
Distressed their good old parent and disturbed the mind of him.
'These sons o' mine appear to be a sight too slow,' thought he
'They need a better class o' stock and more machinery.'
Wherefore this old philanthropist, this shrewd old farming man,
He sat him down and pondered long, and thus evolved a plan
A simple scheme, beneficent, and calculated so
That it would guard the interests of Josiah, Jim and Joe.
'I have acquired,' reflected he, 'a lot of tillage land
Much more than I can work; and my affairs get out of hand.
If I can but amalgamate their properties and mine,
And call the whole the Empire Farm, the prospect will be fine.
Then rose the good old farming man and called his sons around,
And thus his philanthropic scheme did earnestly expound:
'My sons, it grieves my heart to see you struggling on the land;
And I've decided, after thought, to lend a helping hand.
'You all have been good sons to me, and this is my great plan:
We shall amalgamate the farms and work them as one man.
But first you need machinery; your methods are too slow.
The cost of this will fall on you - Josiah, Jim and Joe.
'Josiah I'll allow to buy a good, upstanding team;
And Joe a separator, for there's coin in milk and cream;
To Jim I give permission - he's a fav'rite son o' mine
To buy a brand new harvester of up-to-date design.
'Josiah, he will feed the nags, and Joe can buy some cows
And these be privileges, mind, not ev'ry dad allows
While Jim can mind the harvester till harvest comes around,
When you can fetch it, with the nags, and work it on MY ground.
'And, as Joe's cows come into milk, he'll fetch 'em up to me,
'Long with the separator; I will work it - do you see?'
But, strange to say, they did not see - Josiah, Jim nor Joe.
They said rude things that plunged their parent into deepest woe.
They called him many ugly names, such as 'a mean old man';
And told him pretty plainly their opinion of his 'plan.'
'We'll buy our harvesters,' said they, 'and work 'em on our own;
And if you get hard-pressed - why, you can have 'em for a loan.'
The poor old farmer bowed his head. 'Ingratitude!' he cried,
'And after all I've done for you, my offer is denied!'
And dad, to-day, is forced to plough and harrow, dig and sow,
For they were most ungrateful sons, Josiah, Jim and Joe.