Ernest Lawrence Thayer

(14 August 1863 - 21 August 1940 / Lawerence / Massachusetts)

Casey At The Bat - Poem by Ernest Lawrence 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 despisèd, 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- mighty Casey has struck out.

Topic(s) of this poem: joy


Comments about Casey At The Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

  • (12/4/2018 2:01:00 PM)


    Wasn't the opposing team: Centerville, and wasn't the opposing pitcher Snedeker? Somehow that runs in my mind? (Report) Reply

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  • (8/28/2018 2:49:00 PM)


    Just like the Bible says pride is before a crash, And a haughty spirit before stumbling. Poor, poor haughty, prideful Casey....... (Report) Reply

  • (4/8/2018 3:49:00 PM)


    Loved It :) so much it made my family cry I loved it so much that we wrote another stanza (Report) Reply

    (5/23/2018 1:17:00 PM)

    ITS OK YES PEOPLE YEAH YEA

  • (4/8/2018 12:52:00 AM)


    Loved and enjoyed the poem very much (Report) Reply

  • (1/12/2018 4:04:00 PM)


    Can anyone recommend a good children’s poem with good illustrations Thank you (Report) Reply

    (6/17/2018 3:48:00 PM)

    I read A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Lewis Stevenson to my children and they loved the poems.

  • Barry Middleton (8/14/2016 6:24:00 AM)


    My mother would read us poetry for a set of Junior Classics that inhabited the numerous bookshelves in our home. This was one of my favorites. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (8/14/2016 12:13:00 AM)


    The pitcher holds the ball! ! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • (6/19/2016 3:56:00 PM)


    Loved the poem, it was very well written and was perfectly sound and sense related (Report) Reply

  • Kim Barney (8/16/2015 4:06:00 PM)


    This has been one of my favorite poems since I first heard it in junior high school many decades ago. I, too, was surprised by the ending the first time I heard it. I still love it. (Report) Reply

  • (8/14/2015 9:50:00 AM)


    I love it. Worth the read :) (Report) Reply

  • (7/19/2012 9:29:00 PM)


    Literally held my attention longer than any baseball game-and actually took me by surprise too. Couldn't feel better after a poem. (Report) Reply

  • Martin O'Neill (3/25/2010 12:59:00 PM)


    Brilliant study of arrogance and pride in an almost comedic style. Thorughly enjoyed this one. (Report) Reply

  • (3/13/2007 7:27:00 PM)


    I can't wait for opening day (Report) Reply

Read all 15 comments »

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Read poems about / on: smile, money, despair, hate, pride, silence, rose, children, joy, people, hope, sun, light, child, spring



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Thursday, February 5, 2015


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