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A Blasted Hope

From the Rock Island Argus, January 8, 1914. By Henry Howland.

Joe Brigham was our “white man’s hope,” Joe measures six foot four;
He tips the beam around about two fifty, mebbe more;
His muscles are as hard as rocks; he has a bulldog jaw
And fists that are about as big as I have ever saw.

He’s workin’ in our shingle mill, and till a week ago
We all felt confident that he could lay Jack Johnson low;
He beat up nearly every man around this neighborhood—
At least the ones who couldn’t run as fast as big Joe could.

We brought an expert up from town to learn him how to box;
Joe nearly killed him the first night with one or two swift knocks;
A feller from Chicago come to look him over then;
He told us that the white race soon would be on top agen.

He said that John L., even when he had been at his best,
Would not have made a match for Joe—that made him throw some chest!
He give up workin’ in the mill and trained a week or so
And then knocked out a giant that they’d brought from Buffalo.

Although he’d licked us nearly all, we put our hate aside;
You see he’d got us fairly filled with what’s called local pride;
We watched his trainin’ right along, and cheered him when he passed;
It seemed as though the white man’s sun had rose agen at last.

But all our hopes are blasted now; Joe beat his wife one night,
And when her daddy found it out he went to set things right;
When he’d got through the neighbors found Joe bleedin’ on the floor,
And he is meekly workin’ in the shingle mill once more.

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