Published Works

Books by Whitman



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A BOSTON BALLAD,
The 78th Year of These States.

1CLEAR the way there, Jonathan!
Way for the President's marshal! Way for the gov-
ernment cannon!
Way for the federal foot and dragoons—and the appa-
ritions copiously tumbling.

2I rose this morning early, to get betimes in Boston
town,
Here's a good place at the corner, I must stand and
see the show.

3I love to look on the stars and stripes, I hope the fifes
will play Yankee Doodle.

4How bright shine the cutlasses of the foremost troops!
Every man holds his revolver, marching stiff through
Boston town.

5A fog follows—antiques of the same come limping,
Some appear wooden-legged, and some appear ban-
daged and bloodless.



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6Why this is a show! It has called the dead out of
the earth!
The old grave-yards of the hills have hurried to
see!
Uncountable phantoms gather by flank and rear
of it!
Cocked hats of mothy mould! crutches made of
mist!
Arms in slings! old men leaning on young men's
shoulders!

7What troubles you, Yankee phantoms? What is all
this chattering of bare gums?
Does the ague convulse your limbs? Do you mis-
take your crutches for fire-locks, and level
them?

8If you blind your eyes with tears, you will not see
the President's marshal,
If you groan such groans you might balk the govern-
ment cannon.

9For shame, old maniacs! Bring down those tossed
arms, and let your white hair be,
Here gape your smart grand-sons—their wives gaze
at them from the windows,
See how well-dressed—see how orderly they conduct
themselves.

10Worse and worse! Can't you stand it! Are you
retreating!
Is this hour with the living too dead for you?



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11Retreat then! Pell-mell!
Back to your graves! Back to the hills, old
limpers!
I do not think you belong here, anyhow.

12But there is one thing that belongs here—shall I tell
you what it is, gentlemen of Boston?

13I will whisper it to the Mayor—he shall send a com-
mittee to England,
They shall get a grant from the Parliament, go with a
cart to the royal vault—haste!
Dig out King George's coffin, unwrap him quick
from the grave-clothes, box up his bones for a
journey,
Find a swift Yankee clipper—here is freight for you,
black-bellied clipper,
Up with your anchor! shake out your sails! steer
straight toward Boston bay.

14Now call for the President's marshal again, bring out
the government cannon,
Fetch home the roarers from Congress, make an-
other procession, guard it with foot and dra-
goons.

15This centre-piece for them:
Look! all orderly citizens—look from the windows,
women!

16The committee open the box, set up the regal ribs,
glue those that will not stay,


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Clap the skull on top of the ribs, and clap a crown on
top of the skull.

17You have got your revenge, old buster! The crown is
come to its own, and more than its own.

18Stick your hands in your pockets, Jonathan—you
are a made man from this day,
You are mighty cute—and here is one of your
bargains.

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