Tom Johnson's Quit.

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

A passel o' the boys last night -
An' me amongst 'em - kindo got
To talkin' Temper'nce left an' right,
An' workin' up "blue-ribbon," hot;
An' while we was a-countin' jes'
How many bed gone into hit
An' signed the pledge, some feller says, -
"Tom Johnson's quit!"

We laughed, of course - 'cause Tom, you know,
He's spiled more whisky, boy an' man,
And seed more trouble, high an' low,
Than any chap but Tom could stand:
And so, says I "He's too nigh dead.
Far Temper'nce to benefit!"
The feller sighed agin, and said -
"Tom Johnson's quit!"

We all liked Tom, an' that was why
We sorto simmered down agin,
And ast the feller ser'ously
Ef he wa'n't tryin' to draw us in:
He shuck his head - tuck off his hat -
Helt up his hand an' opened hit,
An' says, says he, "I'll swear to that -
Tom Johnson's quit!"

Well, we was stumpt, an' tickled too, -
Because we knowed ef Tom had signed
Ther wa'n't no man 'at wore the "blue"
'At was more honester inclined:
An' then and there we kindo riz, -
The hull dern gang of us 'at bit -
An' th'owed our hats and let 'er whizz, -
"Tom Johnson's quit!"

I've heerd 'em holler when the balls
Was buzzin' 'round us wus 'n bees,
An' when the ole flag on the walls
Was flappin' o'er the enemy's,
I've heerd a-many a wild "hooray"
'At made my heart git up an' git -
But Lord! - to hear 'em shout that way! -
"Tom Johnson's quit!"

But when we saw the chap 'at fetched
The news wa'n't jinin' in the cheer,
But stood there solemn-like, an' reched
An' kindo wiped away a tear,
We someway sorto' stilled agin,
And listened - I kin hear him yit,
His voice a-wobblin' with his chin, -
"Tom Johnson's quit -

"I hain't a-givin' you no game -
I wisht I was!... An hour ago,
This operator - what's his name -
The one 'at works at night, you know? -
Went out to flag that Ten Express,
And sees a man in front of hit
Th'ow up his hands an' stagger - yes, -
Tom Johnson's quit."

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