Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IX. Tragedy: Humor
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IX. Tragedy: Humor.  1904.
 
Humorous Poems: II. Miscellaneous
Banty Tim
John Hay (1838–1905)
 
   [Remarks of Sergeant Tilmon Joy to the White Man’s Committee of Spunky Point, Illinois]

I RECKON I git your drift, gents—
  You ’low the boy sha’n’t stay;
This is a white man’s country:
  You ’re Dimocrats, you say:
And whereas, and seein’, and wherefore,        5
  The times bein’ all out o’ jint,
The nigger has got to mosey
  From the limits o’ Spunky P’int!
 
Let ’s reason the thing a minute;
  I ’m an old-fashioned Dimocrat, too,        10
Though I laid my politics out o’ the way
  For to keep till the war was through.
But I come back here allowin’
  To vote as I used to do,
Though it gravels me like the devil to train        15
  Along o’ sich fools as you.
 
Now dog my cats if I kin see
  In all the light of the day,
What you ’ve got to do with the question
  Ef Tim shall go or stay.        20
And furder than that I give notice,
  Ef one of you tetches the boy,
He kin check his trunks to a warmer clime
  Than he ’ll find in Illanoy.
 
Why, blame your hearts, jist hear me!        25
  You know that ungodly day
When our left struck Vicksburg Heights, how ripped
  And torn and tattered we lay.
When the rest retreated, I stayed behind,
  Fur reasons sufficient to me,—        30
With a rib caved in, and a leg on a strike,
  I sprawled on that cursed glacee.
 
Lord! how the hot sun went for us,
  And broiled and blistered and burned!
How the rebel bullets whizzed round us        35
  When a cuss in his death-grip turned!
Till along toward dusk I seen a thing
  I couldn’t believe for a spell:
That nigger—that Tim—was a-crawlin’ to me
  Through that fire-proof, gilt-edged hell!        40
 
The rebels seen him as quick as me,
  And the bullets buzzed like bees;
But he jumped for me, and shouldered me,
  Though a shot brought him once to his knees;
But he staggered up, and packed me off,        45
  With a dozen stumbles and falls,
Till safe in our lines he drapped us both,
  His black hide riddled with balls.
 
So, my gentle gazelles, thar ’s my answer,
  And here stays Banty Tim:        50
He trumped Death’s ace for me that day,
  And I ’m not goin’ back on him!
You may rezoloot till the cows come home,
  But ef one of you tetches the boy,
He ’ll wrastle his hash to-night in hell,        55
  Or my name ’s not Tilmon Joy!
 
 
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