Famous Single Poems/Casey at the Bat

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3049163Famous Single Poems — Casey at the Bat1924Ernest 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 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 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 '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 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 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 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, 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 little children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville—great Casey has struck out.

Ernest L. Thayer


Mention has been made of the comfortable and consoling theory held by many optimists that every great work of art possesses an immortal soul which ensures its survival through the ages, and that consequently nothing which has passed from human ken is worth lamenting, since the very fact that it died proves that it was not immortal, and therefore not a masterpiece. Francis W. Halsey, in Our Literary Deluge, stated this theory with much eloquence:

We may be absolutely certain that whatever is good will not die. Wherever exists a book that adds to our wisdom, that consoles our thought, it cannot perish. Nothing is so immortal as mere words, once they have been spoken fitly or divinely. A good book die! We shall sooner see the forests cut away from the hillside. . .

and so on.

Which is just empty rhetoric. Of course one cannot say definitely and finally that anything is lost so long as the world continues to support the human race, for there is always a possibility of finding it. Perhaps another Vermeer may be discovered some day, or a statue by Praxiteles, or the Gospel of St. Matthew. But the chances are against it. And it is just as certain that modern literature is built upon a foundation of forgotten masterpieces as that modern life moves over an earth compounded of the forgotten dead.

Indeed, the survival of masterpieces, far from being due to any inherent quality, is largely the result of accident. A few statues catch the conqueror's eye in the captured city and he carries them off—the rest are destroyed; the fleeing inmates snatch a few pictures from the walls of the burning house—the others go up in smoke; the anthologist chooses a few poems from among many to publish in his "Reliques" or "Pastorals," and the others vanish into darkness. We can only hope that, in each case, the best ones were selected, but there is no way to prove it.

And even when a masterpiece does survive, it very often needs a press agent before it is generally recognized as such. It was Chaplain McCabe who advertised the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" by singing it in his incomparable voice, Captain Coghlan who called the world's attention to "Hoch! der Kaiser" by reciting it at the psychological moment, and De Wolf Hopper who furnished the publicity which made a household word of "Casey at the Bat."

And yet Mr. Hopper does not deserve the credit so much as Archibald Clavering Gunter, for it was the latter who discovered the poem in a newspaper, perceived its merits, and gave it to Mr. Hopper with the suggestion that he recite it. Now this was an extraordinary thing. It is easy enough to recognize a masterpiece after it has been carefully cleaned and beautifully framed and hung in a conspicuous place and certified by experts; but to stumble over it in a musty garret, covered with dust, to dig it out of a pile of junk and know it for a thing of beauty—only the true connoisseur can do that.

That is what Mr. Gunter did when he dug "Casey at the Bat" out of the smudgy columns of a newspaper more than thirty years ago. His novels have fallen into undeserved neglect, for some of them are rattling good yarns—who that met her will ever forget the beautiful flowergirl of the Jardin d'Acclimatation, with her white and red roses? At least let it be remembered that to him the American public owes its introduction to the supreme classic of baseball.

For every one has now agreed that that is what "Casey" is. But classics have a way of being despised or ignored by their contemporaries, and when the poem first appeared in the San Francisco Examiner nobody hailed it with shouts of joy or suspected that the great Casey was to become immortal. In fact, the Examiner staff was rather proud that the New York Sun should think well enough of the poem to copy the last eight stanzas. The first five were remorselessly lopped off—but it has always been one of the inalienable rights of exchange editors to mutilate masterpieces, so nobody even thought of protesting, and it was in this acephalous form that Casey started on his travels through the east—a fact whose relevance will appear later on. Luckily it was in the Examiner and not in the Sun that Mr. Gunter saw it, so he got the complete poem. He cut it out and put it in his pocket and bided his time.

De Wolf Hopper was appearing at Wallack's Theater in New York City in a comic opera called Prince Methusalem. He was not then the public institution he has since become, but just a rising young comedian for whom "Wang" had not yet been written. However, even then, he had a wide circle of acquaintances, of whom Mr. Gunter was one. It chanced that one morning, as he was looking over the paper, Mr. Gunter saw the announcement that the New York and Chicago baseball clubs were to be at Wallack's that night as Mr. Hopper's guests. He bethought him of "Casey at the Bat," hunted up Mr. Hopper and gave it to him with the suggestion that he recite it. He added that it was a really great poem and was certain to make a hit with the baseball people.

But the lengthy comedian regarded it with dismay, for it seemed to him even longer than himself. But when he read it over he saw its possibilities, pitched into it and mastered it in a couple of hours. He had no need to study its atmosphere, for he had always been a baseball fan himself and could visualize every line.

When the curtain went up that night the two teams, headed by Anson and Ewing, were in the boxes, and in the course of the show Mr. Hopper, as he puts it, "pulled Casey on them." Any one who has ever heard him recite it can imagine the effect. It brought down the house, and then and there took its place in his repertoire.

After the performance he hunted up Mr. Gunter and asked him who wrote "Casey," for it seemed only fair that the author should have a share of the glory; but Mr. Gunter did not know. It was not until four or five years later, after Mr. Hopper had recited the poem during a performance of "Wang" at Worcester, Mass., that a note was sent in to him asking him to come around to a club and meet the author of "Casey." Of course he went, and was introduced to Ernest L. Thayer. "Over the details of the wassail that followed," says Mr. Hopper, "I will draw the veil of charity."

Meanwhile, as is usually the case with famous fugitive poems, many claimants to the authorship had appeared, and some of them had even tried to compel Mr. Hopper to pay a royalty for the privilege of reciting it. The basis of most of these claims was exceedingly fantastic, but one man, at least, succeeded in building an elaborate structure of evidence in support of his own contention, and to this day there is no little confusion in the public mind as to when and by whom the poem was written.

The first person to whom it was ascribed with some appearance of authority was Joseph Quinlan Murphy. In 1902 Frederic Lawrence Knowles edited an anthology called A Treasury of Humorous Poetry, and included an early version of "Casey at the Bat," crediting it to Mr. Murphy. The only information about him was given in the index of authors, where it was stated that he died in 1902. By the time anybody thought to question this, Mr. Knowles himself was dead, and his publishers could say nothing more than that he had always been very careful to trace the authorship of anything of which he was in doubt.

Richter's History and Records of Baseball states, in a chapter on "Writers on Baseball," that Joseph Murphy was at one time on the staff of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, but the editor of that paper writes that "the oldest members of our editorial staff do not recall any person named Joseph Quinlan Murphy ever being connected with this paper. Joseph A. Murphy, nationally known racehorse judge, was sporting editor of the Globe-Democrat in the early 'eighties, but he has never been credited with the authorship of the poem, 'Casey at the Bat.' " So who Joseph Quinlan Murphy was, as well as Mr. Knowles's reasons for attributing the poem to him, remain a matter of conjecture. The publishers of A Treasury of Humorous Poetry, after some investigating of their own, evidently concluded that Mr. Knowles had made a mistake, for in recent editions of the book the poem is credited to Ernest L. Thayer.

Another man to whom the poem has been attributed was an Irishman named William Valentine, who died in the late 'nineties while on the staff of the New York World. The basis for his claim rests largely upon the evidence of Mr. Frank J. Wilstach, the compiler of the Dictionary of Similes. Here is the story as Mr. Wilstach has told it in two recent letters:

Will Valentine, a young Irishman, came up from the Kansas City Star to the Sioux City (Iowa) Tribune in 1885 to be city editor. He was constantly writing verse. On the back page of the Tribune I was at that time conducting a column which, shamefacedly I may say, was supposed to be like Eugene Field's "Sharps and Flats" in the Chicago Record. It was bad; but Valentine every once in a while would hand me a bit of verse which I would run, he signing it "February 14," being St. Valentine's day, as 'twere.

Valentine and I were roommates. My brother Walter sent me a set of Macaulay's works and one Sunday evening, reading "Horatius at the Bridge," I said to Valentine that here was a good opportunity to parody "Horatius" by a poem about a Mick at the Bat. We were then baseball crazy. Valentine read the Macaulay poem and went ahead and wrote a piece he called "Casey at the Bat."

It is rather curious that all the claimants for this poem have been seemingly unaware that "Casey at the Bat" is a parody on "Horatius at the Bridge," with the same meter and the end of each stanza very nearly the same.

I left Sioux City in 1887 and never heard of Valentine or thought anything of his poem until one night I met him on lower Broadway in 1898. I was then press agent at the Broadway Theatre and Valentine was employed on the New York World. He promised to come to see me at the Broadway Theatre. About the first thing he mentioned to me at this meeting was that De Wolf Hopper, who was reciting his poem "Casey at the Bat," was giving credit for its authorship to a man named Thayer. He asked me if I didn't recall the fact that I had suggested "Casey at the Bat" to him in consequence of reading "Horatius at the Bridge." I told him that I did recall it, but that I had forgotten all about it during the years intervening. I subsequently learned that Will Valentine died of typhoid fever while an employee of the New York World a few months after I met him.

This is a clear-cut narrative, but it is modified a little in Mr. Wilstach's second letter, in which he says:

This matter of "Casey at the Bat" is so nebulous that I would really like to withdraw from it. However, I am certain of two things: first, that I suggested to Will Valentine that he write a burlesque of Macaulay's "Horatius at the Bridge"; second that he did write this burlesque and that it was called "Casey at the Bat." I was present in the room when he wrote it. I haven't seen his copy since that afternoon, or a day or two afterwards, when it appeared in the Tribune. Whether the present "Casey at the Bat" is a re-write of Valentine's I can't say.

An inquiry of the Sioux City Tribune had previously elicited the information that Mr. Valentine had indeed been employed on the paper in 1887, but that there was no apparent foundation for the statement that he had written "Casey at the Bat." It was also stated (by Mr. Thayer) that Mr. Valentine's claim had been investigated about 1905 by the San Francisco law firm of Lent & Humphrey, who had sent an agent to Sioux City especially for that purpose, and that no evidence had been found to support it. But in view of the letters from Mr. Wilstach, it was evident that the only way to settle the question definitely was by a careful search of the Tribune files. Mr. John H. Kelly, the editor of the Tribune, was accordingly requested to have such a search made. He did so, and the following letter from him is self-explanatory:

We have had one of our men go over every copy of the Tribune during 1885–1888 inclusive, and he found the column referred to in your letter in numerous forms; but did not find the much sought "Casey at the Bat." It would have been a very real pleasure and distinction to have claimed the great "Casey."

So, whatever the poem was that Mr. Valentine wrote at Mr. Wilstach's suggestion, it was evidently not the present "Casey at the Bat." Indeed, this might fairly be inferred from Mr. Wilstach's own letters, in which he emphasizes the fact that Mr. Valentine's poem was written as a parody on "Horatius at the Bridge." "Casey at the Bat" in no way suggests "Horatius"—except perhaps by a very faint similarity in the basic idea. But its form and character are entirely different, as the first stanza of "Horatius" will show:

Lars Porsena of Clusium
By the Nine Gods he swore
That the great house of Tarquin
Should suffer wrong no more.
By the Nine Gods he swore it,
And named a trysting-day,
And bade his messengers ride forth,
East and west and south and north,
To summon his array.

There is still a third aspirant. A man with the extraordinary name of D'Vys—George Whitefield D'Vys—of Cambridge, Mass., has been a persistent and undiscouraged claimant for many years; he has related the circumstances of the composition of the poem repeatedly and at great length; he has even, at the instance of the late Dr. Harry Thurston Peck, who discussed the question of authorship in the Scrap Book for December, 1908, gone before a notary public and sworn that his story was true. This story, much condensed from D'Vys's diffuse narrative, but with all its essential details, is as follows:

On the first or second Sunday of August, 1886, D'Vys and a friend named Edward L. Cleveland were loitering about the ball grounds at Franklin Park, Boston, when a sudden inspiration seized D'Vys, and he started to write "Casey" on the margin of a Boston Globe he found flying across the field. "I was fairly wild as I mapped it out," he says, "and when I got home I wrote it, 'There was ease in Casey's manner,' etc., and the thirty-two lines I sent to Mr. O. P. Caylor, of the New York Sporting Times, of which I held his red card credentials as correspondent." He adds that the poem appeared in the Sporting Times within the following week.

In another statement D'Vys says, "It went bearing the word 'Anon.' as a signature because of the great antipathy held by my stern parent toward all things literary." As D'Vys says he was born in 1860, and was consequently twenty-six years old in 1886, one might suppose he would have somewhat outgrown his awe of the stern parent. But apparently he never did—at least he never wrote any more poetry!

Unfortunately no file of the Sporting Times of 1886 is known to exist, and Mr. Caylor has long been dead. Also unfortunately D'Vys's evidence was lost. His story is that in 1897, while he was ill, the Boston Globe (the same paper whose margin, by a singular coincidence, had recorded the first draft of "Casey" eleven years before!) printed the poem, with five additional stanzas, and attributed it to Ernest L. Thayer. Being too ill to go himself, he sent his mother around to the Globe office next day with his one and only copy of the Sporting Times containing the eight original stanzas, and also two letters from Mr. Caylor confirming his authorship. The Globe people assured Mrs. D'Vys that her son would receive full justice, but no correction was ever made.

"Unfortunately," continues D'Vys, "the little mother left with the gentleman with whom she talked the proof positive, and unfortunately she failed to ask his name"; and for the third time unfortunately D'Vys was never able to get his evidence back; yes, and even for the fourth time unfortunately D'Vys further records that a notebook filled with all his other rhymes about baseball and Mudville was carelessly left by him on a seat in Cambridge Common and could never again be found. From which it would appear that D'Vys certainly had a run of bad luck!

Out of this farrago one fact emerges: that D'Vys claims to have written the last eight stanzas of "Casey at the Bat" some time in August, 1886. He was always complaining about the fellow who had spoiled his poem by prefixing five other stanzas to it. Now let it be recalled that in the summer of 1888 the New York Sun had introduced the poem to the East by quoting the last eight stanzas only. Then finally consider a letter from Edward L. Cleveland, of Shelby, Montana, to the effect that he was indeed with Mr. D'Vys on that memorable Sunday at Franklin Park, and that D'Vys had really written out a part at least of "Casey at the Bat,"—but that the Sunday was in the latter part of September, 1889. The inference is obvious.

James V. McClaverty, of Cambridge, Mass., who had kept for many years a complete file of Sporting Life, to which he made an index, and had also in his possession many copies of the Sporting Times, subsequently produced further evidence—if any were needed—to disprove D'Vys's claim.

D'Vys alleged that he sent his poem at once to O. P. Caylor, editor of the New York Sporting Times; but in Sporting Life for October 23, 1897, there is an obituary of Mr. Caylor, who died in that month and year, in which it is stated that he did not become editor of the Sporting Times until 1890.

D'Vys also asserted that his poem was published in the Sporting Times some time during August, 1886; but in an editorial in the issue of that paper for August 26, 1888, it is distinctly stated that its first issue was dated March 6, 1887.

Finally, in the issue for Sunday, July 29, 1888, the Sporting Times actually contains the last eight stanzas of "Casey at the Bat," in what is substantially the correct form, except that the name "Casey" is changed to "Kelly," "Mudville" to "Boston," and the poem is entitled, "Kelly at the Bat," with a sub-title which states that it was "Adapted from the San Francisco Examiner."

Surely, after all this, it is perfectly safe, so far as the falsity of Mr. D'Vys's claim is concerned, to write: Q. E. D.

But the adaptation in the Sporting Times added one more snarl to the tangle. "Mike" Kelly, "the $10,000 beauty," "the Only Mike," "King Kelly," to mention only a few of his nicknames, was at that time the bright particular star of the Boston team, which had paid the then unprecedented sum of $10,000 for him. He was already the hero of a very popular song, "Slide, Kelly, Slide!" The Boston fans worshiped him, and his prowess at the bat had more than once pulled his team out of a hole. The poem fitted him perfectly and to change "Casey" to "Kelly" and "Mudville" to "Boston" was to give it a point which every baseball enthusiast at once understood. So it became increasingly popular with exchange editors, and many old-time devotees of the diamond still treasure it in its adapted form, believing it to be the original one.

Now for the real story of the poem.

When the late George Hearst decided to run for senator from California in 1885, he realized the need of an influential organ, and bought the San Francisco Examiner to promote his political ambitions. When the campaign was over, he had no further use for the paper, and presented it to his son, William Randolph Hearst, who had just graduated from Harvard College. The latter had already shown some journalistic leanings, having been associated with the Harvard Lampoon, and when he started west to demonstrate to the people of California how a newspaper should be run, he took along three members of the Lampoon staff to help him do it. They were Eugene Lent, F. H. Briggs and Ernest L. Thayer. Thayer had been president of the Lampoon during his last three years in college, and was Ivy Orator of his class.

Of course they all had nicknames. "Genie" Lent was to assist with the editorial work; "Fatty" Briggs was to do the cartoons; "Phinnie" Thayer was to conduct a humorous column. Thayer signed his column "Phin," and his most successful contributions to it were a series of ballads begun in the fall of 1887, and continuing every Sunday for two or three months. During the winter his health failed, and he was compelled to return to his home at Worcester, Mass. He continued, however, to write the ballads, and in the spring of 1888 wrote "Casey at the Bat" and sent it on. It was published by the Examiner on Sunday, June 3, 1888, signed, as usual, "Phin." There it is to this day for anybody to see.

Every newspaperman in San Francisco, of course, knew who "Phin" was, but nobody else did, and so when the poem was copied by other papers, the meaningless signature was usually lopped off. Meanwhile, Mr. Thayer had quit the newspaper business and gone into the more profitable vocation of manufacturing woolen goods at Worcester, and people gradually forgot that he had once been a humorist. But after Mr. D'Vys's claims had been given a wide publicity, he went before a notary public at Worcester and made an affidavit to the facts of the case—although, as he remarks, the affidavit "left D'Vys quite undiscouraged." He too had made an affidavit!

But Mr. Thayer's story is supported by a great deal of outside evidence. Eugene Lent, who went west with him and was a member of the Examiner staff when "Casey" was written, became afterwards one of the best known lawyers in San Francisco, the senior member of the firm of Lent & Humphrey, and on more than one occasion has borne testimony to his personal knowledge that Mr. Thayer wrote the poem; Theodore F. Bonnet, who was covering baseball for the Examiner at the time, has also told the story of the poem's first appearance; in 1896, Mr. Hearst asked Mr. Thayer to write another series of ballads, this time for the New York Journal, and he contributed four during the following winter, all but one of which, "Oppenheimer's Barbecue," appeared in the Sunday supplement; many persons have testified to their long acquaintance with Mr. Thayer, to their familiarity with his verse, and to its similarity in style and quality to "Casey at the Bat."

In May, 1908, the New York Sun published a somewhat imaginative interview with a San Francisco newspaperman (name not given), which, although inaccurate in some of its details, gives a little further information about Mr. Thayer. It says in part:

Genie Lent's father wanted him to be a lawyer, and he is a lawyer now, and Thayer's father wanted him to go into the wool business at Worcester. He's there now. But both rich papas could be made to yield to a touch now and then, and at such times journalism did not greatly concern that bunch of Harvard stars.

Then there were times when papas were obdurate, and Briggs would draw some pictures to illustrate Phinnie Thayer's verses. Thayer could write rhymes while thinking about anything else that pleased him. One day he wrote "Casey at the Bat." He didn't think much of it, but he sat up and took notice when the Sun praised it.

I guess it was the Sun's praise that started trouble. The verses began to appear in the backwoods and mountain-top papers signed with the names of local bards. Then the song birds on the city papers began to sign their names to it, and pretty soon you could get a rise out of Phinnie by asking which of the poets he lifted it from.

In final proof of Mr. Thayer's claim there is the internal evidence of the poem itself, and if there were no affidavits or other evidence at all, it would be sufficient. Mr. D'Vys claims that he wrote the last eight stanzas, and that somebody else tacked on the first five; he even made the remarkable assertion that he was convinced that the person who had written those five stanzas was the same one who had picked up the notebook full of his verses which he (D'Vys) had carelessly left lying on a bench in Cambridge Common, "because he used the names I ever used in all my baseball rhymes."

This, of course, is too puerile for words; and an examination of the poem will convince any one that it was written by one man. It is an entity in style and manner. More than that, the poem is incomplete without the first five stanzas, which describe the situation at the moment Casey goes to bat and are necessary to an understanding of it.

So the case seems complete.

The only rift in it is furnished by the reminiscences of De Wolf Hopper. He writes:

"Casey at the Bat" first appeared in the San Francisco Examiner in the early eighties. It was found by Archibald Clavering Gunter, who gave it to me. I recited it in New York City at Wallack's Theatre. I should think about '85. I did not find out until four years later that the initials E. L. T. at the bottom of the article were those of Mr. Ernest L. Thayer of Worcester, Mass. I met him very pleasantly and he gave me some manuscripts of other works of his, which are just as good as "Casey" but not so appealing to the public. Many people have claimed the authorship of "Casey," but I know beyond the peradventure of a doubt that Mr. Thayer was the one. I have recited it heaven knows how many thousand times, and shall probably continue so to do until the end of my terrestrial career, and probably in the Great Beyond.

In an interview published in Caste, some years ago, Mr. Hopper names 1887 definitely as the year in which he began to recite the poem, and here again he says that the copy which Mr. Gunter gave him was signed E. L. T. Now of course he could not have recited it either in 1885 or 1887 if Mr. Thayer wrote it; and if the version Mr. Gunter gave him was signed E. L. T. it could not have been cut from the Examiner, or been copied from the Examiner, because the verses there were signed "Phin."

When these discrepancies were pointed out to Mr. Hopper, he replied that very possibly it was not until 1888 he first recited the poem, but he adds quite positively, "the initials E. L. T. were at the foot of the copy Mr. Gunter gave me. The nom de plume 'Phin' did not appear." This is probably a slip of memory, but if Mr. Hopper is right, it is one more item in Mr. Thayer's favor.

It is worth pointing out that the poem has sometimes been ascribed to "Phineas Thayer"—it is easy to see why.

Mr. Thayer was born at Lawrence, Mass., in 1863, but his family shortly thereafter moved to Worcester, and he was graduated from the Worcester high school in 1881. Four years later he graduated from Harvard College, engaged in journalistic work, as has been said, in San Francisco until the winter of 1887, when he returned to Worcester and went into his father's woolen business. He retired some years later, and after traveling widely, settled down at Santa Barbara, Cal., where he now lives. He has never thought it worth while to gather his verse together in book form.

"Please to understand that I never had any pretensions as a writer of verse," Mr. Thayer writes. "During my brief connection with the Examiner, I put out large quantities of nonsense, both prose and verse, sounding the whole newspaper gamut from advertisements to editorials. In general quality 'Casey' (at least in my judgment), is neither better nor worse than much of the other stuff. Its persistent vogue is simply unaccountable, and it would be hard to say, all things considered, if it has given me more pleasure than annoyance. The constant wrangling about the authorship, from which I have tried to keep aloof, has certainly filled me with disgust."

The version of "Casey at the Bat" which accompanies this article is the one supplied by Mr. Thayer to the Bookman some years ago. It is not as good in some respects as the earlier version—revision has destroyed a little of its spontaneity and vim. But it is used here in accordance with the specific request of the author. There have been numberless imitations, and parodies, and sequels, the best of which is perhaps "Casey's Revenge," by Grantland Rice, but none of them possesses the rich humor and masterly rhythm of the one and only original.