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Aspirants Three
by [?]


O, give me a life on the tented field,
Where the cannon roar and ring,
Where the flag floats free and the foemen yield
And bleed as the bullets sing.
But be it not mine to wage the fray
Where matters are ordered the other way,
For that is a different thing.

O, give me a life in the fierce campaign–
Let it be the life of my foe:
I’d rather fall upon him than the plain;
That service I’d fain forego.
O, a warrior’s life is fine and free,
But a warrior’s death–ah me! ah me!
That’s a different thing, you know.


Some claim I might myself advance to that
Portfolio. When Rebellion raised its head,
And you, my friends, stayed meekly in your shirts,
I marched with banners to the party stump,
Spat on my hands, made faces fierce as death,
Shook my two fists at once and introduced
Brave resolutions terrible to read!
Nay, only recently, as you do know,
I conquered Treason by the word of mouth,
And slew, with Samson’s weapon, the whole South!


You once fought Stanford, too.


Enough of that–
Give me the Interior and I’ll devote
My mind to agriculture and improve
The breed of cabbages, especially
The Brassica Celeritatis, named
For you because in days of long ago
You sold it at your market stall,–and, faith,
‘Tis said you were an honest huckster then.
I’ll be Attorney-General if you
Prefer; for know I am a lawyer too!


I never have heard that!–did you, De Young?


Never, so help me! And I swear I’ve heard
A score of Judges say that he is not.

SWIFT (to Estee):

You take the Interior. I might aspire
To military station too, for once
I led my party into Pixley’s camp,
And he paroled me. I defended, too,
The State of Oregon against the sharp
And bloody tooth of the Australian sheep.
But I’ve an aptitude exceeding neat
For bloodless battles of diplomacy.
My cobweb treaty of Exclusion once,
Through which a hundred thousand coolies sailed,
Was much admired, but most by Colonel Bee.
Though born a tinker I’m a diplomat
From old Missouri, and I–ha! what’s that?

(Exit Moon. Enter Blue Lights on all the tombs, and a circle of Red Fire on the grass; in the center the Spirit of Broken Hopes, and round about, a Troupe of Coffins, dancing and singing.)


Two bodies dead and one alive–
Yo, ho, merrily all!
Now for boodle strain and strive–
Buzzards all a-warble, O!
Prophets three, agape for bread;
Raven with a stone instead–
Providential raven!
Judges two and Colonel one–
Run, run, rustics, run!
But it’s O, the pig is shaven,
And oily, oily all!

(Exeunt Coffins, dancing. The Spirit of Broken Hopes advances, solemnly pointing at each of the Three Worthies in turn.)


Governor, Governor, editor man,
Rusty, musty, spick-and-span,
Harlequin, harridan, dicky-dout,
Demagogue, charlatan–o, u, t, OUT!
(De Young falls and sleeps.)

Antimonopoler, diplomat,
Railroad lackey, political rat,
One, two, three–SCAT!
(Swift falls and sleeps.)

Boycotting chin-worker, working to woo
Fortune, the fickle, to smile upon you,
Jo-coated acrobat, shuttle-cock–SHOO!
(Estee falls and sleeps.)

Now they lie in slumber sweet,
Now the charm is all complete,
Hasten I with flying feet
Where beyond the further sea
A babe upon its mother’s knee
Is gazing into skies afar
And crying for a golden star.
I’ll drag a cloud across the blue
And break that infant’s heart in two!

(Exeunt the Spirit of Broken Hopes and the Red and Blue Fires. Re-enter Moon.)

ESTEE (waking):