From 'The Book of Coarse Sport' (1965) An Ancient Cricketer goeth in to bat.
It is an Ancient Cricketer
And he stoppeth one of three.
The others whistle past his ear
Or strike him on the knee.
The pavilion gate is open wide
And he is last man in.
With creaking joints he walketh forth,
Thirty to make to win.
He sendeth a catch to first slip, who droppeth it.
His bat is in his skinny hand,
There are three slips thinks he.
He snicks a ball up to the first,
Eftsoons the catch drops he.
His opponents beat their bosoms.
A chance! A chance! Another chance!
The Cricketer giveth three.
The fielding captain beats his breast
And curseth him roundly.
The field was there, the field was here,
So thick upon the ground;
They crouched and growled, appealed and howled
The Cricketer’s bat around.
Fielders, fielders, everywhere,
About his bat did creep.
Fielders, fielders everywhere,
Nor anyone in the deep.
The Cricketer doth fear he hath a hole in his bat.
God save thee, Ancient Cricketer!
Have mercy on thy soul!
Like many men before thee gone,
Thy bat must have an hole.
Yet still the Cricketer batteth on,
A full half-hour bats he.
He doth not score a single run
Though he trieth mightily.
Although he scoreth no runs, the Cricketer helpeth his side to win.
‘Tis done! ‘Tis done! The game is won
And well and truly fought,
The Cricketer limpeth happily in
Although his score was nought.
He batteth best, who scoreth most,
And hath but little luck.
Yet though the Cricketer made no runs
It was a noble duck.