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Why Washington Retreated Analysis



Author: poem of Ellis Parker Butler Type: poem Views: 8

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1775



Said Congress to George Washington:

"To set this country free,

You'll have to whip the Britishers

And chase them o'er the sea."

"Oh, very well," said Washington,

"I'll do the best I can.

I'll slam and bang those Britishers

And whip them to a man."



1777



Said Congress to George Washington:

"The people all complain;

Why don't you fight? You but retreat

And then retreat again."

"That can't be helped," said Washington,

"As you will quite agree

When you see how the novelists

Have mixed up things for me."



Said Congress to George Washington:

"Pray make your meaning clear."

Said Washington: "Why, certainly --

But pray excuse this tear.

Of course we know," said Washington,

"The object of this war --

It is to furnish novelists

With patriotic lore."



Said Congress to George Washington:

"Yes! yes! but pray proceed."

Said Washington: "My part in it

Is difficult indeed,

For every hero in the books

Must sometime meet with me,

And every sweet-faced heroine

I must kiss gallantly."



Said Congress to George Washington:

"But why must you retreat?"

Said Washington: "One moment, please,

My story to complete.

These hero-folk are scattered through

The whole United States;

At every little country town

A man or maiden waits."



To Congress said George Washington:

"At Harlem I must be

On such a day to chat with one,

And then I'll have to flee

With haste to Jersey, there to meet

Another. Here's a list

Of sixty-seven heroes, and

There may be some I've missed."



To Congress said George Washington:

"Since I must meet them all

(And if I don't you know how flat

The novels all will fall),

I cannot take much time to fight,

I must be on the run,

Or some historic novelist

Will surely be undone."



Said Congress to George Washington:

"You are a noble man.

Your thoughtfulness is notable,

And we approve your plan;

A battle won pads very well

A novel that is thin,

But it is better to retreat

Than miss one man and win."



Said Congress to George Washington:

"Kiss every pretty maid,

But do it in a courtly way

And in a manner staid --

And some day when your sword is sheathed

And all our banners furled,

A crop of novels will spring up

That shall appal the world."





Submitted by John Martin






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