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James Whitcomb Riley's "Chairley Burke's in Town"

The following is the complete text of James Whitcomb Riley's "Chairley Burke's in Town." Our presentation of this classic poem comes from The Works of James Whitcomb Riley: Vol. VII -- Green Fields and Running Brooks (1899). The various books, short stories and poems we offer are presented free of charge with absolutely no advertising as a public service from Internet Accuracy Project.

Visit these other works by James Whitcomb Riley
"The Bear Story"
The Champion Checker-Player of Ameriky
"A Child's Home Long Ago"
"Christine Braibry"
A Large Collection of his Short Poems
"Das Krist Kindel"
"Dead Selves"
"Doc Sifers"
"Dot Leedle Boy"
"Down to the Capital"
"Erasmus Wilson"
"Ezra House"
"Farmer Whipple--Bachelor"
"Grandfather Squeers"
"He Called Her In"
"The Hoosier Folk-Child"
"How John Quit the Farm"
"Jack the Giant-Killer"
"Kingry's Mill"
"Last Christmas Was a Year Ago"
"Little Johnts's Chris'mus"
"Little Mandy's Christmas Tree"

"Maymie's Story of Red Riding-Hood"
"Mr. What's-His-Name"
"My Philosofy"
"Mylo Jones's Wife"
"A Nest-Egg"
"A New Year's Time at Willards's"
"Old John Clevenger on Buckeyes"
"An Old Sweetheart"
"The Old Swimmin'-Hole"
"On the Banks o' Deer Crick"
"The Pathos of Applause"
Poems from "Rhymes of Childhood"
"The Preacher's Boy"
"Regardin' Terry Hut"
"The Rossville Lecture Course"
"The Runaway Boy"
"That-Air Young-Un"
"This Man Jones"
"Thoughts fer the Discuraged Farmer"
"To My Old Friend, William Leachman"
"Tradin' Joe"
"What Chris'mas Fetched the Wigginses"

To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.

Potential uses for the free books, stories and prose we offer
* Rediscovering an old favorite book, short story or poem.
* Bibliophiles expanding their collection of public domain ebooks at no cost.
* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a short story or poem for use in the classroom.

NOTE: We try to present these classic literary works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, offensive language, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.

"Chairley Burke's in Town" by James Whitcomb Riley



It's Chairley Burke's in town, b'ys! He's down til "Jamesy's Place,"
Wid a bran'-new shave upon 'um, an' the fhwhuskers aff his face;
He's quit the Section-Gang last night, an' yez can chalk it down
There's goin' to be the divil's toime, since Chairley Burke's in town.

Ye'll know 'um by the neck av 'um behind--the tan an' fair
The barber left he overfilled before he mowed a hair;
Ye'll know 'um by the ja'nty hat juist bought he's wearin' now--
But Chairley--He'll not miss it in the mornin' onyhow!

It's treatin' iv'ry b'y he is, an' poundin' on the bar
Till iv'ry man he's drinkin' wid musht shmoke a foine cigar;
An' Missus Murphy's little Kate, that's coomin' there for beer,
Can't pay wan cint the bucketful, the whilst that Chairley's here!

He's joompin' oor the tops av shtools, the both forninsht an' back!
He'll lave yez pick the blessed flure, an' walk the straightest crack!
He's liftin' barrels wid his teeth, an' singin' "Garry Owen,"
Till all the house be shtrikin' hands, since Chairley Burke's in town.

He'll sink the glitther av his eye a-dancin' deep an' dim,
The toime yez tie his hands behind an' thin lave go av him!--
An' fwhat's the knots av mortal man ag'insht the nimble twisht
An' shlim an' shlender soopleness that he have in his wrisht!

The Road-Yaird hands coomes dhroppin' in, an' niver goin' back;
An' there's two freights upon the switch--the wan on aither track--
An' Mr. Gearry, from The Shops, he's mad enough to shwear,
An' durstn't spake a word but grin, the whilst that Chairley's there!

Och! Chairley! Chairley! Chairley Burke! ye divil, wid yer ways
Av dhrivin' all the throubles aff, these dhark an' ghloomy days!
Ohone! that it's meself, wid all the graifs I have to dhrown,
Must lave me pick to resht a bit, since Chairley Burke's in town.

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