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47. the Stolen Stars.

At a dinner, at which were present Major-General Lewis Wallace, Thomas Buchanan Read, and James E. Murdock, a conversation sprang up respecting ballads for soldiers. The General maintained that hardly one had been written suited for the camp. It was agreed that each of them should write one. The following is that of General Wallace:

When good old Father Washington
     Was just about to die,
He called our Uncle Samuel
     Unto his bedside nigh:
“This flag I give you, Sammy dear,”
     Said Washington, said he;
“Where'er it floats, on land or wave,
     My children shall be free.”

[33] And fine old Uncle Samuel
     He took the flag from him,
And spread it on a long pine pole,
     And prayed and sung a hymn--
A pious man was Uncle Sam
     Back fifty years and more;
The flag should fly till judgment-day,
     So, by the Lord, he swore!

And well he kept that solemn oath;
     He kept it well, and more:
The thirteen stars first on the flag
     Soon grew to thirty-four;
And every star bespoke a State,
     Each State an empire won:
No brighter were the stars of night
     Than those of Washington.

Beneath that flag two brothers dwelt;
     To both 'twas very dear;
The name of one was Puritan,
     The other Cavalier.
“Go build ye towns,” said Uncle Sam
     Unto those brothers dear;
“Build anywhere, for in the world
     You've none but God to fear.”

“I'll to the South,” said Cavalier,
     “I'll to the South,” said he;
“And I'll to the North,” said Puritan--
     “The North's the land for me.”
Each took a flag, each left a tear
     To good old Uncle Sam;
He kissed the boys, he kissed the flags,
     And doleful sung a psalm.

And in a go-cart Puritan
     His worldly goods did lay;
With wife, and gun, and dog, and axe,
     He, singing, went his way.
Of buckskin was his Sunday suit,
     His wife wore linsey-jeans;
And fat they grew, like porpoises,
     On hoe-cake, pork, and beans.

But Cavalier a cockney was;
     He talked French and Latin;
Every day he wore broadcloth,
     While his wife wore satin.
He went off in a painted ship--
     In glory he did go;
A thousand niggers up aloft,
     A thousand down below.

The towns were built, and I've heard said,
     Their likes were never seen;
They filled the North, they filled the South,
     They filled the land between.
“The Lord be praised!” said Puritan;
     “Bully!” said Cavalier;
“There's room and town-lots in the West,
     If there isn't any here.”

Out to the West they journeyed then,
     And in a quarrel got;
One said 'twas his, he knew it was;
     The other said 'twas not.
One drew a knife, a pistol t'other,
     And dreadfully they swore:
From Northern Lake to Southern Gulf
     Wild rang the wordy roar.

And all the time good Uncle Sam
     Sat by his fireside near,
Smokina of his kinnikinick,
     And drinkina lager beer.
He laughed and quaffed, and quaffed and laughed,
     Nor thought it worth his while,
Until the storm in fury burst
     On Sumter's sea-girt isle.

O'er the waves to the smoking front,
     When came the dewy dawn,
To see the flag, he looked — and lo!
     Eleven stars were gone!
“My pretty, pretty stars!” he cried,
     And down did roll a tear.
I've got your stars, Old Fogy Sam;
     “Ha, ha!” laughed Cavalier.

“I've got your stars in my watch-fob;
     Come take them if you dare!”
And Uncle Sam he turned away,
     Too full of wrath to swear.
“Let thunder all the drums!” he cried,
     While swelled his soul, like Mars:
“A million Northern boys I'll get
     To bring me home my stars.”

And on his mare, stout Betsey Jane,
     To Northside town he flew;
The dogs they barked, the bells did ring,
     And countless bugles blew.
“My stolen stars!” cried Uncle Sam--
     “My stolen stars!” cried he.
“A million soldiers I must have
     To bring them home to me.”

“Dry up your tears, good Uncle Sam;”
     “Dry up!” said Puritan.
“We'll bring you home your stolen stars,
     Or perish every man!”
And at the words a million rose,
     All ready for the fray;
And columns formed, like rivers deep,
     And Southward marched away.
. . . . . . . .

And still old Uncle Samuel
     Sits by his fireside near,
Smokina of his killikinick
     And drinkina lager beer;
While there's a tremble in the earth,
     A gleaming of the sky,
And the rivers stop to listen
     As the million marches by.

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