(4 November 1872 - 1934 / Scotia, Lake Erie, Ontario)

As Good As A Girl

Oh, a big broad-shouldered fellow was Ben,
And homely as you would see,
Such an awkward walker and stammering talker,
And as bashful as he could be.

The son of a lone, widowed mother was he,
And right well did he act his part,
A giant at sowing and reaping and mowing-
His farm was the pride of his heart.

His mother depended on his strong arm;
In the cottage so neat and trim
He kept the fires burning, did sweeping and churning-
Oh, the odd jobs saved up for him!

'My Ben's a comfort,' she said every day,
With pride that made his head whirl,
'As handy at sweeping as he is at reaping-
Ben is just as good as a girl!'

'A six-foot fellow to work round the house!
We'll call him 'Miss Ben,'' said the girls;
But Ben, heaven bless him, never let this distress him
Till there came a day when the curls

And blue eyes of Gladys, the prettiest girl,
And the proudest in all the place,
His young heart set beating at every chance meeting-
Though she only laughed in his face.

'I'll have none but a gay and a gallant man'-
Her lips took a scornful curl-
'Your pride is in hearing your mother declaring,
'Ben is just as good as a girl!''

But sweet little Marjory laughed not at Ben;
He was homely, awkward, shy,
But she liked the fellow whose voice was so mellow,
And she smiled as she passed him by.

He went to the front when the war broke out,
And filled his post like a man;
The good-natured giant was bold and defiant
As soon as the battle began.

You'd never have thought of the broom and the churn,
Nor of the nickname 'Miss Ben,'
Had you heard his voice cheering, seen his arm clearing
A path for his own gallant men.

Capt. Benjamin Brooks he came riding home
When the war was over and done,
As homely and backward, as shy and as awkward,
As tender and loyal a son.

Now Gladys gave him her sunniest smile-
On heroes she ever did dote-
And the proud little beauty felt it her duty
To be kind to this young man of note.

But Ben, wise fellow, liked Marjory best;
He knew her lips did not curl
When mother said sweetly, 'Ben does work so neatly-
He is just as good as a girl!'

So he wooed and won this Marjory true,
And made her his loving bride,
While Gladys she fretted, bemoaned and regretted
The goal she had missed by her pride.

To-day Ben is filling a prominent place,
A statesman, honest and bold;
He frees the opprest, and he helps the distrest,
Wins love, which is better than gold.

For the very grandest men you can find
In this great world's busy whirl
Are men like my farmer-no praise need be warmer
Than 'he's just as good as a girl.'

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