Ellen Bailey Poems

Casey at the Bat

by Ernest L. Thayer

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 sickly 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 lulu
and the latter was a cake;

So upon that stricken multitude
grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance
of Casey's 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 the men saw what had occurred,
There was Johnnie safe at second
and Flynn a-hugging third

Then from 5,000 throats and more
there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley,
it rattled in the dell;

It knocked upon 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 on Casey's face.

And when, responding to the cheers,
he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt
'twas 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 gleamed 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 some one 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 spheroid 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 is gone from Casey's lip,
his 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 somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville--
mighty Casey has struck out.

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