Monday, November 06, 2006

But there is no Joy in Mudville

Tomorrow we will know for sure, who has struck out. Will it be the mighty Casey? Or will it be the people of Pennsylvania? For if the mighty Casey wins, we, the people will lose.
Casey at the Bat
by Ernest L. Thayer 1888

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the
Mudville nine that day,
The score stood four to two, with but
one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first,
and Barrows did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the
patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in
deep despair.
The rest clung to that hope which
springs eternal in the human breast.
They thought, "if only Casey could
but get a whack at that.
We'd put up even money now, with
Casey at the bat."

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did
also Jimmy Blake;
and the former was a hoodoo, while
the latter was a cake.
So upon that stricken multitude,
grim melancholy sat;
for there seemed but little chance
of Casey getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to
the wonderment of all.
And Blake, the much despised,
tore the cover off the ball.
And when the dust had lifted,
and men saw what had occurred,
there was Jimmy safe at second
and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from five thousand throats
and more there rose a lusty yell;
it rumbled through the valley,
it rattled in the dell;
it pounded through on the mountain
and recoiled upon the flat;
for Casey, mighty Casey,
was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner
as he stepped into his place,
there was pride in Casey's bearing
and a smile lit Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers,
he lightly doffed his hat,
no stranger in the crowd could
doubt t'was Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as
he rubbed his hands with dirt.
Five thousand tongues applauded
when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then, while the writhing pitcher
ground the ball into his hip,
defiance flashed in Casey's eye,
a sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere
came hurtling through the air,
and Casey stood a-watching it in
haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the
ball unheeded sped --
"That ain't my style," said Casey.
"Strike one!" the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people,
there went up a muffled roar,
like the beating of the storm waves
on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted
someone on the stand,
and it's likely they'd have killed
him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity,
great Casey's visage shone,
he stilled the rising tumult,
he bade the game go on.
He signaled to the pitcher, and
once more the dun sphere flew,
but Casey still ignored it, and
the umpire said, "Strike two!"

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands,
and echo answered "Fraud!"
But one scornful look from Casey
and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold,
they saw his muscles strain,
and they knew that Casey wouldn't
let that ball go by again.

The sneer has fled from Casey's lip,
the teeth are clenched in hate.
He pounds, with cruel violence,
his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball,
and now he lets it go,
and now the air is shattered by
the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land
the sun is shining bright.
The band is playing somewhere, and
somewhere hearts are light.
And, somewhere men are laughing,
and little children shout,
but there is no joy in Mudville -
mighty Casey has struck out.


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