Plea of the negro soldier and a hundred other poems
Charles Frederick White


[To a Friend.]
Last night was Hallowe'en, you know;
The cowbells rang, the horns did blow,
The goblins stalked o'er stones and planks
And small boys played their annual pranks.
The women dressed in men's attire;
The small girl, too, quenched her desire
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To get into her brother's pants:
The hollow pumpkin had its chance.
The sidewalks creaked, the street cars balked,
The sign boards moved, the lamp posts mocked,
The wagons went to roof resorts
And front gates climbed poles of all sorts.
The Indians at tobacco stores
Went on the warpath by the scores.
The ticktacks played on window panes
And stuffed men mounted weather vanes.
The larger boys played other tricks;
They tied dogs' tails to large-sized bricks:
Pinned placards on policemen's coats
And set fire to the tails of goats.
They masked themselves as spooks and ghosts.
And stood behind trees and big posts;
They set logs 'gainst some folk's front doors,
Then knocked and ran away, of course.
They put torpedoes on the rails
For streetcars, and painted cats' tails;
And many more such things as these
They did, which you may name with ease;
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For, if you were not once a boy,
I'm rather sure you did enjoy,
At some time, hearing stories told
Of how the boys did do of old.
But boys must have their fun and play,
Although they often have to pay
Quite dearly for their tricks and sport,
Which sometimes wind up in a court.
Yet, boys can play their pranks and jokes
On numerous good-natured folks
Who think that boys must have their fun,
E'en though they sometimes have to run.
So Hallowe'en may come and go,
And cranky folk may often show
Their temper, but the boys don't care;
For what's a boy who will not dare?
Nov., 1904.