Nov. 2. 1920

(1921)

"Nov. 2. 1920" is the 22nd song in Ives's song collection 114 Songs. The following note is found at the beginning of the score:

"Soliloquy of an old man whose son lies in 'Flanders Fields.' It is the day after election; he is sitting by the roadside, looking down the valley toward the station."

It strikes me so...
by Charles Ives


"It strikes me that some men and women got tired of a big job;
but, over there our men did not quit.
They fought and died that better things might be!
Perhaps some who stayed at home are beginning to forget and to quit.
The pocketbook and certain little things talked loud and noble,
And got in the way; too many readers go by the headlines,
party men will muddle up the facts,
So a good many citizens voted as grandpa always did,
or thought a change for the sake of change seemed natural enough.
"It's raining, lets throw out the weather man,
Kick him out! Kick him out! Kick him out! Kick him out! Kick him!"
Prejudice and politics, and the stand-patters came in strong,
and yelled, "Slide back! Now you're safe, that's the easy way!"
Then the timid smiled and looked relieved,
"We've got enough to eat, to hell with ideals!"
All the old women, male and female, had [their] day today,
and the hog-heart came out of his hole,
But he won't stay out long, God always drives him back!
Oh Captain, my Captain!
a heritage we've thrown away;
But we'll find it again, my Captain, Captain, oh my Captain!"


[NOTE from the composer: "The assumption, in the text, that the result of our national election in 1920, was a definite indication, that the country, (at least, the majority-mind) turned its back on a high purpose is not conclusive. Unfortunately election returns coming through the present party system prove nothing conclusively. The voice of the people sounding through the mouth of the parties, becomes somewhat emasculated. It is not inconceivable that practical ways may be found for more accurately registering and expressing popular thought - at least, in relation to the larger primary problems, which concern us all. A suggestion to this end (if we may be forgiven a further digression) in the form of a constitutional amendment together with an article discussing the plan in some detail and from various aspects, will be gladly sent, by the writer, to any one who is interested enough to write for it."]


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