Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/188

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Roman dude will pat your red brawn, and bet his shekels upon your blood.

"O Rome! Rome! Thou hast been a tender nurse to me. Thou hast given to that gentle, timid, shepherd lad, who never knew a harsher tone than a flute note, muscles of iron, and a heart of steel. Thou hast taught him to drive his sword through plaited mail and links of rugged brass, and warm it in the stomach of his foe; to gaze into the glaring-eyeballs of a fierce Numidian lion, even as the smooth-cheeked senator looks into the laughing eyes of the chamber-maid. And he shall pay thee back till the rushing Tiber is red as frothing wine, and in its deepest ooze thy life-blood lies curdled. Ye doubtless hear the gentle murmur of my bazoo.

"Hark! Hear ye yon lion roaring in his den? 'Tis three days since he tasted flesh, but to-morrow he will have gladiator on toast, and don't you forget it; and he will fling your vertebrae around his cage, and wipe his nose on your clustering hair.

"If ye are brutes, then stand here like fat oxen waiting the butcher's knife. If ye are men, arise and follow me! Strike down the warden and the turnkey, slide our baggage out the third story window of the amphitheatre, overpower the public, and cut for the tall timber!

"O comrades! Warriors! Gladiators! If we be men, let us die like men, beneath the blue sky, and by the still waters, and be buried according to Hoyle, instead of having our shin-bones polished off by Numidian lions, amid the groans and hisses of the populace here in Rome, New York. Let us break loose, chaw the ear of the night watchman, buy our tickets via the Chicago, Milwaukee, & St. Paul Railway, and go to farming in Dakota! Then if the fierce Roman don't like our style, he knows our post-office address."

Bill Nye.


It was in the days when Claverhouse
Was scouring moor and glen,
To change, with fire and bloody sword,
The faith of Scottish men.