A play in one scene
O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those in Brattle-town
That are at home to-day!
A BRATTLEBORO CITIZEN:
What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Mod’rator? No, my fair cousin:
If we are registered, we are enow
To give our town our vote; and if elected,
The fewer we, the greater share of honour.
Seven score in all will do the trick.
How know I this? ‘Tis Charter tells me so.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not weighted down with gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my arg’ments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a crowd from town:
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more than Charter says should be
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Mod’rator, through my town,
That he which hath no will to this debate,
Let him depart; his absence shall be noted
And wishes for his presence keenly felt:
Especially if Meeting through wrong voting make mistake!
We would not stand in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to stand with us.
This day is called the feast of Voting Day:
He that outstands this day, and is elect,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Town Meeting.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Town Meeting Day.’
Then he’ll roll up his sleeve, show his Report.
And say ‘These votes I had on Meeting Day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What points he made that day: then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,
Selectboard and School Board, Listers and Town Manager,
Committee-of-the-Whole, and escape therefrom,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
This story shall the good man teach his child;
And Town Meeting Day shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers,
For all my smart sisters are brothers, too.
For he to-day that spends his vote with me
Shall be my brother; whate’er our district,
This day shall seal us Brattleborians all:
And gentlefolk in our town now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That stood with us upon Town Meeting Day.
[with deepest respect and thanks to Rebecca Balint for her inspirational column in the Brattleboro Reformer of 1/14/2014, and deepest apologies to all lovers of the Bard’s King Henry The Fifth, Act IV, Scene 3]
Orion M. Barber II
751 South Street
Brattleboro, VT 05301