Berton Braley

(1882 - 1966 / Madison, Wisconsin)

Biography of Berton Braley

Berton Braley poet

Berton Braley (29 January 1882 – 23 January 1966) was an American poet.
Braley was born in Madison, Wisconsin. His father, Arthur B. Braley, was a judge; he died when Berton Braley was seven years old. At 16, Braley quit high school and got a job working as a factory hand at a plow plant. After a few years, Braley went back to school and received his high school diploma. Shortly thereafter he discovered Tom Hood's poetry instructional book The Rhymester.
Braley was first published at the age of 11 when a small publication printed a fairy tale he wrote. He was a prolific writer, with verses in many magazines, including Coal Age, American Machinist, Nation's Business, Forbes magazine, Harper's Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, and the Saturday Evening Post. His work appeared in numerous pulp magazines, including Adventure, Breezy Stories, Complete Stories, The Popular Magazine, Short Stories and Snappy Stories. He published twenty books, about half of them being poetry collections.
In 1917, John Philip Sousa composed a marching song for the University of Wisconsin, titled Wisconsin Forward Forever with lyrics by Berton Braley. In 1934, Braley published the autobiographical Pegasus Pulls a Hack: Memoirs of a Modern Minstrel. Updates

The Old Top Sergeant

TWENTY years of the army, of drawing a sergeant's pay
And helping the West Point shavetails, fresh from the training school
To handle a bunch of soldiers and drill 'em the proper way
(Which isn't always exactly according to book and rule).
I've seen 'em rise to Captains and Majors and Colonels, too,
And me still only a sergeant, the same as I used to be,
And I knew that some of them didn't know as much as a sergeant knew,
But I stuck to my daily duty- there wasn't a growl from me

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