The troops lined up and answered , " 'Ere," as sargent called the roll,
Till, where there should 'ave been a man there was an empty 'ole.
"Oo's missing from this cavity?" they 'eard the sargent bawl,
And as one man they answered, in two syllables, "Sam Small!"

Just at that moment Sam appeared, and straightway took 'is place.
The sargent stood and glared at Sam with fury in 'is face.
"You're late at roll call, Small," 'e said, "and that's no bloody joke.
What's your excuse?" Sam cleared 'is throat and said, "Me shoestring broke."

They sailed away and by and by they reached the other shore
The sargent lined them up again, then suddenly 'e swore,
For where a sojer should 'ave been there was no man at all.
"Oo's missing?" said the sargent. And the others said, "Sam Small!"
  'E found Sam sitting on a stone, the one called Plymouth Rock.
On one of Sam's feet was a boot, on t'other, just a sock.
The sargent roared, "Why aren't you there with all the other men?"
Sam looked up, 'aughty like, and said, "Me shoestring broke again."

"Well, patch it up!" the sargent said, "We 'ave no time to wait,
We've got to get to Lexington. We're twenty minutes late.
Fall in. Left turn, and forward march!" Away they went, and then
It 'appened as 'e knew it would... Sam's shoestring broke again.

'E slipped out of the ranks and sat down on a pile of 'ay,
And while 'e fixed 'is shoestring up, the Army marched away.
Sam tied a knot, then took 'is shoe and slowly put it on,
And then stood up and wondered which way 'ad the Army gone.
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