But yesterday I banked on fistic fame,
Figgerin' I'd be a champion of the Ring.
Today I've half a mind to quit the Game,
For all them rosy dreams have taken wing,
Since last night a secondary bout
I let a goddam nigger knock me out.
It must have been that T-bone steak I ate;
They might have doped it, them smart gambling guys,
For round my heart I felt a heavy weight,
A stab of pain that should have put me wise.
But oh the cheering of the fans was sweet,
And never once I reckoned on defeat.
I had the nigger licked - twice he went down,
And there was just another round to go.
I played with him, I made him look a clown,
Yet he was game, and traded blow for blow.
And then that piston pain, the dark of doom . . .
Like meat they lugged me to my dressing-room.
So that's the pay-off to my bid for fame.
But yesterday my head was in the sky,
And now I slink and sag in sorry shame,
And hate to look my backers in the eye.
They think I threw the fight; I sorto' feel
The ringworms rate me for a lousy heel.
Oh sure I could go on - but gee! it's rough
To be a pork-and-beaner at the best;
To beg for bouts, yet getting not enough
To keep a decent feed inside my vest;
To go on canvas-kissing till I come
To cadge for drinks just like a Bowery bum.
Hell no! I'll slug my guts out till I die.
I'll be no bouncer in a cheap saloon.
I'll give them swatatorium scribes the lie,
I'll make a come-back, aye and pretty soon.
I'll show them tinhorn sports; I'll train and train,
I'll hear them cheer - oh Christ! the pain, the PAIN . . .
"Poor punk! you're sunk - you'll never scrap again."
Robert William Service