Song Of The Night-Riders

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

It's up and out with the bat and owl!
We ride by night in fair and foul;
In foul and fair we take the pike,
And no man knows where our hand shall strike;
For, gun and pistol, and torch and mask,
These are our laws let any ask:
And should one ask, why, tell him then
That we are the New-Jeans Gentlemen.
It's up and out with owl and bat!
Where the road winds back by wood and flat.
Black clouds are hunting the flying moon
Let them hunt her down! and midnight soon
Shall blossom a wilder light, when down
We gallop and shoot and burn the town.
Who cares a curse who asks us then!
For we are the New-Jeans Gentlemen.
It's up and on! give the horse his head!
The rain is out and the world in bed.
Ride on to the village, and then ride back,
Where stands a house by the railroad track:
Riddle its windows and batter its door,
And call him out and shoot some more.
And if he question, why, damn him! then
Just shoot him down like gentlemen.
Why, he was a wretch beneath all scorn
Who planted the weed instead of corn.
And here is another who sold, by God!
Just bare his back and ply the rod!
Now burn his barn! and, sink or swim,
It's sport for us but Hell for him.
And well he'll know when we leave him then
That we are the New-Jeans Gentlemen.
Yes; we are kin to the bat and owl:
We wait till night, then prey and prowl.
The man who plants or sells this year
Our hounds shall smell him out, no fear.
The hunt is up! Who'll bid us halt?
We'll sow his beds with grass and salt,
Or shoot him down like a dog, and then
Ride off like New-Jeans Gentlemen.

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