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Poem by Ellis Parker Butler

No Beer, No Work

The shades of night was fallin slow
As through New York a guy did go
  And nail on evry barroom door
  A card that this here motter bore:
              No beer, no work.

His brow was sad, his mouth was dry;
It was the first day of July,
  And where, all parched and scorched it hung,
  These words was stenciled on his tongue:
              No beer, no work.

Oh, stay, the maiden said, and sup
This malted milk from this here cup.
  A shudder passed through that there guy,
  But with a moan he made reply:
              No beer, no work.

At break of day, as through the town
The milkman put milk bottles down,
  Onto one stoop a sort of snore
  Was heard, and then was heard no more
              No beer, no work.

The poor old guy plumb dead was found
And planted in the buryin ground,
  Still graspin in his hand of ice
  Them placards with this sad device:
              No beer, no work.

Ellis Parker Butler

Ellis Parker Butler's other poems:
  1. New England Magazine
  2. The Rich Boys Christmas
  3. Why I Went to the Foot
  4. Cupid Caught Napping
  5. The Final Tax

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