Ernest Thayer

American poet

Ernest Lawrence Thayer (Lawrence, Massachusetts, August 14, 1863 - August 21, 1940) was an American writer and poet who wrote "Casey at the Bat". Raised in Worcester, he graduated magna cum laude in philosophy from Harvard in 1885, where he was editor of the Harvard Lampoon. Its business manager, William Randolph Hearst, hired Thayer as humor columnist for the San Francisco Examiner 1886-88.

Ernest Thayer


  • We have reached the age, those of us to whom fortune has assigned a post in life's struggle, when, beaten and smashed and biffed by the lashings of the dragon's tail, we begin to appreciate that the old man was not such a damned fool after all. We saw our parents wrestling with that same dragon, and we thought, though we never spoke the thought aloud, 'Why don't he hit him on the head?' Alas, comrades, we know now. We have hit the dragon on the head and we have seen the dragon smile.
    • Spoken at Thayer's tenth anniversary reunion at Harvard, 1895, as quoted in "American Heritage," (December 1968).

Casey at the BatEdit

San Francisco Examiner (1888-06-03) Complete poem here

  • There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place,
    There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face,
    And when responding to the cheers he lightly of his hat,
    No stranger in the crowd could doubt, 't was Casey at the bat.
    • Lines 21-24.
  • "Strike one" the Umpire said.

    From the bleachers black with people there rose a sullen roar,
    Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore,
    "Kill him! Kill the Umpire!" shouted someone from the stand —
    And it's likely they'd have done it had not Casey raised his hand.

    • Lines 32-36.
  • Oh! somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
    The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
    And somewhere men are laughing and somewhere children shout;
    But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has "struck out."
    • Lines 49-52.

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