Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant

THE TREADMILL SONG.

THE stars are rolling in the sky,
The earth rolls on below,
And we can feel the rattling wheel
Revolving as we go.
Then tread away, my gallant boys,
And make the axle fly;
Why should not wheels go round about,
Like planets in the sky?
Wake up, wake up, my duck-legg'd man,
And stir your solid pegs;
Arouse, arouse, my gawky friend,
And shake your spider-legs;
What though you're awkward at the trade
There's time enough to learn,
So lean upon the rail, my lad,
And take another turn.
They've built us up a noble wall
To keep the vulgar out;
We've nothing in the world to do
But just to walk about:
So faster, now, you middle men,
And try to beat the ends;
It's pleasant work to ramble round
Among one's honest friends.
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Here! tread upon the long man's toes;
He sha'n't be lazy here:
And punch the little fellow's ribs,
And tweak that lubber's ear—
He's lost them both: don't pull his hair,
Because he wears a scratch,
But poke him in the farther eye,
That isn't in the patch.
Hark! fellows, there's the supper-bell,
And so our work is done;
It's pretty sport—suppose we take
A round or two for fun!
If ever they should turn me out
When I have better grown,
Now hang me, but I mean to have
A treadmill of my own!