It was my lineage that I strayed from at first.

Born into a fame of moderate proportions.

“I’ll follow in your footsteps, Father.

I’ll read Shakespeare’s sonnets throughout my days.”

That Soothsayer’s prediction of a doomed short life

Have trapped me in my ways.

This barn would make a lovely stage.

But the feeling of freedom,

Morphing into classical molds,

I haven’t got today.

This War Within was silly from the start.

Caused by an ape of abolition.

And what right have you, Mr. President?

You will never speak for me.

Your edicts and actions apply to none;

Damn your democratic monarchy!

Dead in love with Lucy and Liberty.

I’ll not let him ruin either.

I wagged my finger at him once

From under the theater light.

He took no notice of my reproach

But stowed it under his stovepipe.


More drastic actions were arranged.

To Montreal I went.

My silver tongue and handsome face

Gathered a few dirty-collars.

Though illiterate and simple-minded,

There is virtue in the followers.

I should like to steal you, Honest Abe.

I’m sure you wouldn’t mind.

I’d cut the head off of the North,

And watch the Union die.

At Appomattox, I can find my heart

In the mush of cannon tracks.

Leave it to the lead of this play

To put the performance on his back.

A familiar balcony, I’ve seen him sit there before.

The final act: an awaiting audience.

My delicate Derringer gave the first clap.

I shouted something I can’t remember

The bearded tyrant leaked and I leapt.

My bones were sturdier once before.

A dull snap, a sharp pain, filled my ears.

I’m sure they were applauding though.

A good actor always leaves them wanting more.

I didn’t look; an ovation was in order.

Encore!  Encore! Encore!

I hobbled through Maryland’s great hills.

My tender leg fixed by a Doctor Mudd.

I told him “I’m John Booth, the savior of the South.”

Now his name is with a shame and like a shadow follows.

I hear they hanged that good Samaritan

And left his tender legs to dangle from the gallows.

The critics all came crashing down.

They consider me a common cutthroat?

For as much as Caesar was reviled

Brutus was doubly so.

For what?  Et tu Brute? 

You believe in patriotism as well?

This barn would have made a lovely stage.

A fitting set for a tragic play.

The Union soldiers approach me now

Their guns give my final applause.

Hold my head up, my boy in blue.

Let me gaze upon them yet.

My hands can do nothing now,

They’re useless…useless.

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