Bret Harte

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Bret Harte

Francis Bret Harte (August 25, 1839 – May 6, 1902) was an American author and poet, best remembered for his accounts of pioneering life in California.


  • Well, no offense:
    Thar ain't no sense
    In gittin' riled.
    • Complete Poetical Works, III. IN DIALECT, Jim.
  • Howbeit, though no scholar, I am not one of those who misuse the English speech, and, being foolishly led by the hasty custom of scriveners and printers to write the letters "T" and "H" joined together, which resembleth a "Y," do incontinently jump to the conclusion the THE is pronounced "Ye,"--the like of which I never heard in all England.
    • Adventures of John Longbowe, Yeoman.
  • Later, when we were forced to accept the fact that finding gold was really the primary object of a gold-mining company, we still remained there
    • Captain Jim's Friend.
  • And then, for an old man like me, it's not exactly right,
    This kind o' playing soldier with no enemy in sight.
    • East and West Poems, Part I, The Old Major Explains.
  • And he says that the mountains are fairer
    For once being held in your thought;
    • East and West Poems, Part I, His Answer to "Her Letter.".
  • Don't be too quick
    To break bad habits: better stick,
    Like the Mission folk, to your arsenic.
    • East and West Poems, Part I, The Wonderful Spring of San Joaquin.
  • There is peace in the swamp, though the quiet is Death,
    • East and West Poems, Part I, The Copperhead.
  • But, when the goddess' work is done,
    The woman's still remains.
    • East and West Poems, Part I, The Goddess.
  • Each lost day has its patron saint!
    • East and West Poems, Part I, The Galeon.
  • Virtue always meets reward,
    But quicker when it wears a sword;
    • East and West Poems, Part II, The Legends of the Rhine.
Virtue always meets reward,
But quicker when it wears a sword

The Heathen Chinee (1870)[edit]

The Heathen Chinee, originally published as Plain Language from Truthful James (1870), a satire on the racist attitudes of the old West.
  • Which I wish to remark,—
    And my language is plain,—
    That for ways that are dark
    And for tricks that are vain,
    The heathen Chinee is peculiar.
  • Ah Sin was his name.
  • With the smile that was childlike and bland.
  • We are ruined by Chinese cheap labor.
  • If I looked as good as Justin Chamo Spear I would look in the mirror too

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