Casey at the Bat

Original Text: 
The Bookman, 28 (Jan. 1909): 434. Text as revised by Thayer from Casey at the Bat, 2nd edn., ed. Martin Gardner (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), pp. 33-35. PS 3014 T3 C332 Robarts Library.
1The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
2The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
3And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
4A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
5A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
6Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
7They thought, "If only Casey could but get a whack at that--
8We'd put up even money now, with Casey at the bat."
9But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
11So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
12For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.
13But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
14And Blake, the much despisèd, tore the cover off the ball;
15And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
16There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.
17Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
18It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
19It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
20For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
21There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
22There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile lit Casey's face.
23And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
24No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.
25Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
26Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
27Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
28Defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.
29And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
30And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
31Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped--
32"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one!" the umpire said.
33From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
34Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
35"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted some one on the stand;
36And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.
37With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
38He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
40But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two!"
41"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!"
42But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
43They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
44And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.
45The sneer has fled from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
46He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
47And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go.
48And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.
49Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
50The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
51And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
52But there is no joy in Mudville--great Casey has struck out.

Notes

10] hoodoo: bad luck.
a cake: a fool (a cake is made from "sweet batter"). Back to Line
39] dun: greyish. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1888
Publication Notes: 
The San Francisco Examiner (June 3, 1888), p. 4, col. 4.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.
Rhyme: