Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PIKER'S RUBAIYAT, by FRANKLIN PIERCE ADAMS



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THE PIKER'S RUBAIYAT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The piker's rubaiyat
Last Line: Who never won a single bet. Alas!
Alternate Author Name(s): F. P. A.
Subject(s): Gambling; Wagering; Betting


WAKE! For the Sun is out with all his might
And o'er the Paddock sheds a stream of light.
Ah, that a man might know at one o'clock
What he will know by six o'clock to-night.

Before the Phantom of Last Evening died
I said: "Alas! if I could but decide
To pick the Winner what a Peach I'd be!"
(The Wisdom of which cannot be denied.)

Now, Hiram bets a wad on David Rose
And Joseph's Sev'n-Bone Bet on Highball goes,
But still a Reuben plays the Winter Book
And many a Scad upon the Bookie Blows.

Come, fill the Stand and with the Clothes of Spring
Your summer garments from the Tailor bring.
If you would take a little Tip from me
You'd get a piece of gold on Flower King.

Whether at Harlem or at Washington
Park or where'er the prancing Ponies run,
The odds upon the Equines always drop —
The Mortal Cinches vanish one by one.

Each Car a thousand Pikers brings, you say,
Yes, but who Dreamed the Dope of Yesterday
And some poor Shipping Clerk who wagered Ten
May take about a thousand bones away.

Well, let him take them, what have you to do
With Copperfield or Proceeds or Bran New?
It looks as though that English Lad would win,
But then the odds are only five to two.

Some advertise their Dope and some keep Mum,
And others say, "I told you so, by gum!"
Ah, take the Cash and let the Credit Go!
To have some coming — that is going some.

The worldly Dope men bet their Cash upon
Turns ashes — or it prospers; and anon
I heard one say, "By Heck, what Rotten Luck,
I couldn't get a piece of money on."

They say Prince Silverwings is going cheap;
That Buccaneer amounts to quite a heap;
And also that Fort Hunter — mark my words —
Is not the Pony that will go to sleep.

I sometimes think that never looks so Black
The Race as when I see the awful Track
In Sunday's Paper with the winner's name
In great, big Letters. O, Alas! Alack!

This favorite who prances on the Green
Is just about the best I've ever seen.
Ah, gaze upon him lightly, for who knows?
He may not come in One, Two, Seventeen.

Ah, my Beloved, wise he who Forgets
To hold Post-Mortem, full of vain Regrets.
The Bet you placed to-day at ten o'clock
Is gone with Yesteryear's Sev'n Thousand Bets.

Myself when young did frequently frequent
The Track where myriad Ponies came and went.
I never picked a Winner in my Life.
I don't believe I ever Cashed a Cent.

Strange, is it not, that of the thousands who
Before us passed this Race Track entrance through
Not one returns to tell us of the Race?
Nobody's ever seen it yet. Have YOU?

What! out of senseless Nothing to provoke
Another bet? Oh, no; it is no Joke.
What unpermitted pleasures do you dream —
But what's the good of anything, if broke.

And when, O Derby Winner, you shall pass
Among the other Ponies on the Grass,
Give me a passing thought — nay, neigh for me
Who never won a single bet. Alas!





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