When our yacht sails seaward on steady keel
And the wind is moist with breath of brine
And our laughter tells of our perfect weal,
We may carol the praises of ruby wine;
But if, automobiling, my woes combine
And fuel gives out in my road-machine
And it’s sixteen miles to that home of mine–
Then ho! For a gallon of gasoline!

When our coach rides smoothly on iron-shod wheel
With a deft touch guiding each taut drawn line
And the inn ahead holds a royal meal,
We may carol the praises of ruby wine;
But when, on some long and steep incline,
In a manner entirely unforeseen
The motor stops with a last sad whine–
Then ho! For a gallon of gasoline!

When the air is crisp and the brooks congeal
And our sleigh glides on with a speed divine
While the gay bells echo with peal on peal,
We may carol the praises of ruby wine;
But when, with perverseness most condign,
In the same harsh snowstorm, cold and keen,
My auto stops at the six-mile sign–
Then ho! For a gallon of gasoline!

ENVOY

When yacht or Coach Club fellows dine
We may carol the praises of ruby wine;
But when Automobile Clubmen convene
Then ho! For a gallon of gasoline!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ellis Parker Butler's poem The Ballade Of The Automobile

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