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- 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 Burrows 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,
- They'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 pudd'n, and the latter was a fake,
- So upon the stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
- For there seemed but little hope 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 they saw what had occurred,
- There was Jimmy safe on second, and Flynn a-hugging third.
- Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a mighty yell,
- It rumbled in the valley and it rattled on the dell,
- It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled on the flat,
- For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
- There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped up to 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 as he wiped them on his shirt.
- And when 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 comes hurtling through the air,
- And Casey stands 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 arose a muffled roar,
- Like the beating of the storm-waves on some stern and distant shore.
- "Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone in 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!
- Ernest L. Thayer
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