[Transcriber's notes: -Page vii: The word following "view of what Owen" was unclear, and may not be the "Writes" which has been chosen. -(Mus. Not.) following a title means that the original book contains musical notation for that song.]
AND OTHER FRONTIER BALLADS
What keeps the herd from running, Stampeding far and wide? The cowboy's long, low whistle, And singing by their side.
AND OTHER FRONTIER BALLADS
JOHN A. LOMAX, M.A.
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SHELDON FELLOW FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF AMERICAN BALLADS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY BARRETT WENDELL
New York THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 1929
All rights reserved
COPYRIGHT, 1910, 1916, By STURGIS & WALTON COMPANY.
Set up and electrotyped. Published November, 1910. Reprinted April, 1911; January, 1915.
New Edition with additions, March, 1916; April, 1917; December, 1918; July, 1919.
Reissued January, 1927. Reprinted February, 1929.
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. BY BERWICK & SMITH CO.
MR. THEODORE ROOSEVELT
WHO WHILE PRESIDENT WAS NOT TOO BUSY TO TURN ASIDE—CHEERFULLY AND EFFECTIVELY—AND AID WORKERS IN THE FIELD OF AMERICAN BALLADRY, THIS VOLUME IS GRATEFULLY DEDICATED
Cheyenne Aug 28th 1910
Dear Mr. Lomax,
You have done a work emphatically worth doing and one which should appeal to the people of all our country, but particularly to the people of the west and southwest. Your subject is not only exceedingly interesting to the student of literature, but also to the student of the general history of the west. There is something very curious in the reproduction here on this new continent of essentially the conditions of ballad-growth which obtained in mediaeval England; including, by the way, sympathy for the outlaw, Jesse James taking the place of Robin Hood. Under modern conditions however, the native ballad is speedily killed by competition with the music hall songs; the cowboys becoming ashamed to sing the crude homespun ballads in view of what Owen Writes calls the "ill-smelling saloon cleverness" of the far less interesting compositions of the music-hall singers. It is therefore a work of real importance to preserve permanently this unwritten ballad literature of the back country and the frontier. With all good wishes, I am very truly yours Theodore Roosevelt
ARAPHOE, OR BUCKSKIN JOE 390
ARIZONA BOYS AND GIRLS, THE 211
BILL PETERS, THE STAGE DRIVER 100
BILLY THE KID 344
BILLY VENERO 299
BOB STANFORD 265
BONNIE BLACK BESS 194
BOOZER, THE 304
BOSTON BURGLAR, THE 147
BRIGHAM YOUNG, I 399
BRIGHAM YOUNG, II 401
BRONC PEELER'S SONG 377
BUCKING BRONCHO 367
BUENA VISTA BATTLEFIELD 34
BUFFALO HUNTERS 185
BUFFALO SKINNERS, THE 158
BULL WHACKER, THE 69
BY MARKENTURA'S FLOWERY MARGE 224
CALIFORNIA JOE 139
CALIFORNIA STAGE COMPANY 411
CALIFORNIA TRAIL 375
CAMP FIRE HAS GONE OUT, THE 322
CHARLIE RUTLAGE 267
COLE YOUNGER 106
CONVICT, THE 290
COW CAMP ON THE RANGE, A 358
COWBOY, THE 96
COWBOY AT CHURCH, THE 246
COWBOY AT WORK, THE 352
COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS BALL, THE 335
COWBOY'S DREAM, THE 18
COWBOY'S LAMENT, THE 74
COWBOY'S LIFE, THE 20
COWBOY'S MEDITATION, THE 297
COWGIRL, THE 251
COWMAN'S PRAYER, THE 24
CROOKED TRAIL TO HOLBROOK, THE 121
DAN TAYLOR 51
DAYS OF FORTY-NINE, THE 9
DEER HUNT, A 379
DESERTED ADOBE, THE 350
DISHEARTENED RANGER, THE 261
DOGIE SONG 303
DOWN SOUTH ON THE RIO GRANDE 331
DREARY BLACK HILLS, THE 177
DREARY, DREARY LIFE, THE 233
DRINKING SONG 305
DRUNKARD'S HELL, THE 395
DYING COWBOY, THE 3
DYING RANGER, THE 214
FAIR FANNIE MOORE 219
FOOLS OF FORTY-NINE, THE 404
FOREMAN MONROE 174
FRECKLES, A FRAGMENT 360
FULLER AND WARREN 126
FRAGMENT, A 306
FRAGMENT, A 309
FREIGHTING FROM WILCOX TO GLOBE 207
GAL I LEFT BEHIND ME, THE 342
GOL-DARNED WHEEL, THE 190
GREAT ROUND-UP, THE 282
GREER COUNTY 278
HABIT, THE 327
HAPPY MINER, THE 409
HARD TIMES 103
HARRY BALE 172
HELL IN TEXAS 222
HELL-BOUND TRAIN, THE 345
HERE'S TO THE RANGER 354
HER WHITE BOSOM BARE 271
HOME ON THE RANGE, A 39
HORSE WRANGLER, THE 136
I'M A GOOD OLD REBEL 94
JACK DONAHOO 64
JACK O' DIAMONDS 292
JERRY, GO ILE THAT CAR 112
JESSE JAMES 27
JIM FARROW 237
JOE BOWERS 15
JOHN GARNER'S TRAIL HERD 114
JOLLY COWBOY, THE 284
JUAN MURRAY 276
KANSAS LINE, THE 22
LACKEY BILL 83
LAST LONGHORN, THE 197
LIFE IN A HALF-BREED SHACK 386
LITTLE JOE, THE WRANGLER 167
LITTLE OLD SOD SHANTY, THE 187
LONE BUFFALO HUNTER, THE 119
LONE STAR TRAIL, THE 310
LOVE IN DISGUISE 77
MCCAFFIE'S CONFESSION 164
MAN NAMED HODS, A 307
MELANCHOLY COWBOY, THE 263
METIS SONG OF THE BUFFALO HUNTERS 72
MINER'S SONG, THE 25
MISSISSIPPI GIRLS 108
MORMON SONG 182
MORMON BISHOP'S LAMENT, THE 47
MUSTANG GRAY 79
MUSTER OUT THE RANGER 356
NEW NATIONAL ANTHEM 413
NIGHT-HERDING SONG 324
OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL, THE 58
OLD GRAY MULE, THE 403
OLD MAN UNDER THE HILL, THE 110
OLD PAINT 329
OLD SCOUT'S LAMENT, THE 117
OLD SCOUT'S LAMENT, THE 348
OLD TIME COWBOY 365
ONLY A COWBOY 124
PECOS QUEEN, THE 369
POOR LONESOME COWBOY 32
PRISONER FOR LIFE, A 200
RAILROAD CORRAL, THE 318
RAMBLING BAY 397
RAMBLING COWBOY, THE 244
RANGE RIDERS, THE 269
RATTLESNAKE—A RANCH HAYING SONG 315
RIPPING TRIP, A 407
ROAD TO COOK'S PEAK 388
ROOT HOG OR DIE 254
ROSIN THE BOW 280
ROUNDED UP IN GLORY 393
SAM BASS 149
SHANTY BOY, THE 252
SILVER JACK 332
SIOUX INDIANS 56
SKEW-BALL BLACK, THE 243
SONG OF THE "METIS" TRAPPER, THE 320
STATE OF ARKANSAW, THE 226
SWEET BETSY FROM PIKE 258
TAIL PIECE 326
TEXAS COWBOY, THE 229
TOP HAND 373
TEXAS RANGERS 44
TRAIL TO MEXICO, THE 132
U.S.A. RECRUIT, THE 249
UTAH CARROLL 66
WARS OF GERMANY, THE 204
WAY DOWN IN MEXICO 314
WESTWARD HO 37
WHEN THE WORK IS DONE THIS FALL 53
WHOOPEE-TI-YI-YO, GIT ALONG LITTLE DOGIES 87
WHOSE OLD COW 362
WILD ROVERS 383
WINDY BILL 381
U-S-U RANGE 92
YOUNG CHARLOTTIE 239
YOUNG COMPANIONS 81
ZEBRA DUN, THE 154
It is now four or five years since my attention was called to the collection of native American ballads from the Southwest, already begun by Professor Lomax. At that time, he seemed hardly to appreciate their full value and importance. To my colleague, Professor G.L. Kittredge, probably the most eminent authority on folk-song in America, this value and importance appeared as indubitable as it appeared to me. We heartily joined in encouraging the work, as a real contribution both to literature and to learning. The present volume is the first published result of these efforts.
The value and importance of the work seems to me double. One phase of it is perhaps too highly special ever to be popular. Whoever has begun the inexhaustibly fascinating study of popular song and literature—of the nameless poetry which vigorously lives through the centuries—must be perplexed by the necessarily conjectural opinions concerning its origin and development held by various and disputing scholars. When songs were made in times and terms which for centuries have been not living facts but facts of remote history or tradition, it is impossible to be sure quite how they begun, and by quite what means they sifted through the centuries into the forms at last securely theirs, in the final rigidity of print. In this collection of American ballads, almost if not quite uniquely, it is possible to trace the precise manner in which songs and cycles of song—obviously analogous to those surviving from older and antique times—have come into being. The facts which are still available concerning the ballads of our own Southwest are such as should go far to prove, or to disprove, many of the theories advanced concerning the laws of literature as evinced in the ballads of the old world.
Such learned matter as this, however, is not so surely within my province, who have made no technical study of literary origins, as is the other consideration which made me feel, from my first knowledge of these ballads, that they are beyond dispute valuable and important. In the ballads of the old world, it is not historical or philological considerations which most readers care for. It is the wonderful, robust vividness of their artless yet supremely true utterance; it is the natural vigor of their surgent, unsophisticated human rhythm. It is the sense, derived one can hardly explain how, that here is expression straight from the heart of humanity; that here is something like the sturdy root from which the finer, though not always more lovely, flowers of polite literature have sprung. At times when we yearn for polite grace, ballads may seem rude; at times when polite grace seems tedious, sophisticated, corrupt, or mendacious, their very rudeness refreshes us with a new sense of brimming life. To compare the songs collected by Professor Lomax with the immortalities of olden time is doubtless like comparing the literature of America with that of all Europe together. Neither he nor any of us would pretend these verses to be of supreme power and beauty. None the less, they seem to me, and to many who have had a glimpse of them, sufficiently powerful, and near enough beauty, to give us some such wholesome and enduring pleasure as comes from work of this kind proved and acknowledged to be masterly.
What I mean may best be implied, perhaps, by a brief statement of fact. Four or five years ago, Professor Lomax, at my request, read some of these ballads to one of my classes at Harvard, then engaged in studying the literary history of America. From that hour to the present, the men who heard these verses, during the cheerless progress of a course of study, have constantly spoken of them and written of them, as of something sure to linger happily in memory. As such I commend them to all who care for the native poetry of America.
BARRETT WENDELL. Nahant, Massachusetts, July 11, 1910.
Out in the wild, far-away places of the big and still unpeopled west,—in the canons along the Rocky Mountains, among the mining camps of Nevada and Montana, and on the remote cattle ranches of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona,—yet survives the Anglo-Saxon ballad spirit that was active in secluded districts in England and Scotland even after the coming of Tennyson and Browning. This spirit is manifested both in the preservation of the English ballad and in the creation of local songs. Illiterate people, and people cut off from newspapers and books, isolated and lonely,—thrown back on primal resources for entertainment and for the expression of emotion,—utter themselves through somewhat the same character of songs as did their forefathers of perhaps a thousand years ago. In some such way have been made and preserved the cowboy songs and other frontier ballads contained in this volume. The songs represent the operation of instinct and tradition. They are chiefly interesting to the present generation, however, because of the light they throw on the conditions of pioneer life, and more particularly because of the information they contain concerning that unique and romantic figure in modern civilization, the American cowboy.
The profession of cow-punching, not yet a lost art in a group of big western states, reached its greatest prominence during the first two decades succeeding the Civil War. In Texas, for example, immense tracts of open range, covered with luxuriant grass, encouraged the raising of cattle. One person in many instances owned thousands. To care for the cattle during the winter season, to round them up in the spring and mark and brand the yearlings, and later to drive from Texas to Fort Dodge, Kansas, those ready for market, required large forces of men. The drive from Texas to Kansas came to be known as "going up the trail," for the cattle really made permanent, deep-cut trails across the otherwise trackless hills and plains of the long way. It also became the custom to take large herds of young steers from Texas as far north as Montana, where grass at certain seasons grew more luxuriant than in the south. Texas was the best breeding ground, while the climate and grass of Montana developed young cattle for the market.
A trip up the trail made a distinct break in the monotonous life of the big ranches, often situated hundreds of miles from where the conventions of society were observed. The ranch community consisted usually of the boss, the straw-boss, the cowboys proper, the horse wrangler, and the cook—often a negro. These men lived on terms of practical equality. Except in the case of the boss, there was little difference in the amounts paid each for his services. Society, then, was here reduced to its lowest terms. The work of the men, their daily experiences, their thoughts, their interests, were all in common. Such a community had necessarily to turn to itself for entertainment. Songs sprang up naturally, some of them tender and familiar lays of childhood, others original compositions, all genuine, however crude and unpolished. Whatever the most gifted man could produce must bear the criticism of the entire camp, and agree with the ideas of a group of men. In this sense, therefore, any song that came from such a group would be the joint product of a number of them, telling perhaps the story of some stampede they had all fought to turn, some crime in which they had all shared equally, some comrade's tragic death which they had all witnessed. The song-making did not cease as the men went up the trail. Indeed the songs were here utilized for very practical ends. Not only were sharp, rhythmic yells—sometimes beaten into verse—employed to stir up lagging cattle, but also during the long watches the night-guards, as they rode round and round the herd, improvised cattle lullabies which quieted the animals and soothed them to sleep. Some of the best of the so-called "dogie songs" seem to have been created for the purpose of preventing cattle stampedes,—such songs coming straight from the heart of the cowboy, speaking familiarly to his herd in the stillness of the night.
The long drives up the trail occupied months, and called for sleepless vigilance and tireless activity both day and night. When at last a shipping point was reached, the cattle marketed or loaded on the cars, the cowboys were paid off. It is not surprising that the consequent relaxation led to reckless deeds. The music, the dancing, the click of the roulette ball in the saloons, invited; the lure of crimson lights was irresistible. Drunken orgies, reactions from months of toil, deprivation, and loneliness on the ranch and on the trail, brought to death many a temporarily crazed buckaroo. To match this dare-deviltry, a saloon man in one frontier town, as a sign for his business, with psychological ingenuity painted across the broad front of his building in big black letters this challenge to God, man, and the devil: The Road to Ruin. Down this road, with swift and eager footsteps, has trod many a pioneer viking of the West. Quick to resent an insult real or fancied, inflamed by unaccustomed drink, the ready pistol always at his side, the tricks of the professional gambler to provoke his sense of fair play, and finally his own wild recklessness to urge him on,—all these combined forces sometimes brought him into tragic conflict with another spirit equally heedless and daring. Not nearly so often, however, as one might suppose, did he die with his boots on. Many of the most wealthy and respected citizens now living in the border states served as cowboys before settling down to quiet domesticity.
A cow-camp in the seventies generally contained several types of men. It was not unusual to find a negro who, because of his ability to handle wild horses or because of his skill with a lasso, had been promoted from the chuck-wagon to a place in the ranks of the cowboys. Another familiar figure was the adventurous younger son of some British family, through whom perhaps became current the English ballads found in the West. Furthermore, so considerable was the number of men who had fled from the States because of grave imprudence or crime, it was bad form to inquire too closely about a person's real name or where he came from. Most cowboys, however, were bold young spirits who emigrated to the West for the same reason that their ancestors had come across the seas. They loved roving; they loved freedom; they were pioneers by instinct; an impulse set their faces from the East, put the tang for roaming in their veins, and sent them ever, ever westward.
That the cowboy was brave has come to be axiomatic. If his life of isolation made him taciturn, it at the same time created a spirit of hospitality, primitive and hearty as that found in the mead-halls of Beowulf. He faced the wind and the rain, the snow of winter, the fearful dust-storms of alkali desert wastes, with the same uncomplaining quiet. Not all his work was on the ranch and the trail. To the cowboy, more than to the goldseekers, more than to Uncle Sam's soldiers, is due the conquest of the West. Along his winding cattle trails the Forty-Niners found their way to California. The cowboy has fought back the Indians ever since ranching became a business and as long as Indians remained to be fought. He played his part in winning the great slice of territory that the United States took away from Mexico. He has always been on the skirmish line of civilization. Restless, fearless, chivalric, elemental, he lived hard, shot quick and true, and died with his face to his foe. Still much misunderstood, he is often slandered, nearly always caricatured, both by the press and by the stage. Perhaps these songs, coming direct from the cowboy's experience, giving vent to his careless and his tender emotions, will afford future generations a truer conception of what he really was than is now possessed by those who know him only through highly colored romances.
The big ranches of the West are now being cut up into small farms. The nester has come, and come to stay. Gone is the buffalo, the Indian warwhoop, the free grass of the open plain;—even the stinging lizard, the horned frog, the centipede, the prairie dog, the rattlesnake, are fast disappearing. Save in some of the secluded valleys of southern New Mexico, the old-time round-up is no more; the trails to Kansas and to Montana have become grass-grown or lost in fields of waving grain; the maverick steer, the regal longhorn, has been supplanted by his unpoetic but more beefy and profitable Polled Angus, Durham, and Hereford cousins from across the seas. The changing and romantic West of the early days lives mainly in story and in song. The last figure to vanish is the cowboy, the animating spirit of the vanishing era. He sits his horse easily as he rides through a wide valley, enclosed by mountains, clad in the hazy purple of coming night,—with his face turned steadily down the long, long road, "the road that the sun goes down." Dauntless, reckless, without the unearthly purity of Sir Galahad though as gentle to a pure woman as King Arthur, he is truly a knight of the twentieth century. A vagrant puff of wind shakes a corner of the crimson handkerchief knotted loosely at his throat; the thud of his pony's feet mingling with the jingle of his spurs is borne back; and as the careless, gracious, lovable figure disappears over the divide, the breeze brings to the ears, faint and far yet cheery still, the refrain of a cowboy song:
Whoopee ti yi, git along, little dogies; It's my misfortune and none of your own. Whoopee ti yi, git along, little dogies; For you know Wyoming will be your new home.
As for the songs of this collection, I have violated the ethics of ballad-gatherers, in a few instances, by selecting and putting together what seemed to be the best lines from different versions, all telling the same story. Frankly, the volume is meant to be popular. The songs have been arranged in some such haphazard way as they were collected,—jotted down on a table in the rear of saloons, scrawled on an envelope while squatting about a campfire, caught behind the scenes of a broncho-busting outfit. Later, it is hoped that enough interest will be aroused to justify printing all the variants of these songs, accompanied by the music and such explanatory notes as may be useful; the negro folk-songs, the songs of the lumber jacks, the songs of the mountaineers, and the songs of the sea, already partially collected, being included in the final publication. The songs of this collection, never before in print, as a rule have been taken down from oral recitation. In only a few instances have I been able to discover the authorship of any song. They seem to have sprung up as quietly and mysteriously as does the grass on the plains. All have been popular with the range riders, several being current all the way from Texas to Montana, and quite as long as the old Chisholm Trail stretching between these states. Some of the songs the cowboy certainly composed; all of them he sang. Obviously, a number of the most characteristic cannot be printed for general circulation. To paraphrase slightly what Sidney Lanier said of Walt Whitman's poetry, they are raw collops slashed from the rump of Nature, and never mind the gristle. Likewise some of the strong adjectives and nouns have been softened,—Jonahed, as George Meredith would have said. There is, however, a Homeric quality about the cowboy's profanity and vulgarity that pleases rather than repulses. The broad sky under which he slept, the limitless plains over which he rode, the big, open, free life he lived near to Nature's breast, taught him simplicity, calm, directness. He spoke out plainly the impulses of his heart. But as yet so-called polite society is not quite willing to hear.
It is entirely impossible to acknowledge the assistance I have received from many persons. To Professors Barrett Wendell and G.L. Kittredge, of Harvard, I must gratefully acknowledge constant and generous encouragement. Messrs. Jeff Hanna, of Meridian, Texas; John B. Jones, a student of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas; H. Knight, Sterling City, Texas; John Lang Sinclair, San Antonio; A.H. Belo & Co., Dallas; Tom Hight, of Mangum, Oklahoma; R. Bedichek, of Deming, N.M.; Benjamin Wyche, Librarian of the Carnegie Library, San Antonio; Mrs. M.B. Wight, of Ft. Thomas, Arizona; Dr. L.W. Payne, Jr., and Dr. Morgan Callaway, Jr., of the University of Texas; and my brother, R.C. Lomax, Austin;—have rendered me especially helpful service in furnishing material, for which I also render grateful thanks.
Among the negroes, rivermen, miners, soldiers, seamen, lumbermen, railroad men, and ranchmen of the United States and Canada there are many indigenous folk-songs not included in this volume. Of some of them I have traces, and I shall surely run them down. I beg the co-operation of all who are interested in this vital, however humble, expression of American literature.
J.A.L. Deming, New Mexico, August 8, 1910.
AND OTHER FRONTIER BALLADS
THE DYING COWBOY
"O bury me not on the lone prairie," These words came low and mournfully From the pallid lips of a youth who lay On his dying bed at the close of day.
He had wailed in pain till o'er his brow Death's shadows fast were gathering now; He thought of his home and his loved ones nigh As the cowboys gathered to see him die.
"O bury me not on the lone prairie Where the wild cayotes will howl o'er me, In a narrow grave just six by three, O bury me not on the lone prairie.
"In fancy I listen to the well known words Of the free, wild winds and the song of the birds; I think of home and the cottage in the bower And the scenes I loved in my childhood's hour.
"It matters not, I've oft been told, Where the body lies when the heart grows cold; Yet grant, Oh grant this wish to me, O bury me not on the lone prairie.
"O then bury me not on the lone prairie, In a narrow grave six foot by three, Where the buffalo paws o'er a prairie sea, O bury me not on the lone prairie.
"I've always wished to be laid when I died In the little churchyard on the green hillside; By my father's grave, there let mine be, And bury me not on the lone prairie.
"Let my death slumber be where my mother's prayer And a sister's tear will mingle there, Where my friends can come and weep o'er me; O bury me not on the lone prairie.
"O bury me not on the lone prairie In a narrow grave just six by three, Where the buzzard waits and the wind blows free; Then bury me not on the lone prairie.
"There is another whose tears may be shed For one who lies on a prairie bed; It pained me then and it pains me now;— She has curled these locks, she has kissed this brow.
"These locks she has curled, shall the rattlesnake kiss? This brow she has kissed, shall the cold grave press? For the sake of the loved ones that will weep for me O bury me not on the lone prairie.
"O bury me not on the lone prairie Where the wild cayotes will howl o'er me, Where the buzzard beats and the wind goes free, O bury me not on the lone prairie.
"O bury me not," and his voice failed there, But we took no heed of his dying prayer; In a narrow grave just six by three We buried him there on the lone prairie.
Where the dew-drops glow and the butterflies rest, And the flowers bloom o'er the prairie's crest; Where the wild cayote and winds sport free On a wet saddle blanket lay a cowboy-ee.
"O bury me not on the lone prairie Where the wild cayotes will howl o'er me, Where the rattlesnakes hiss and the crow flies free O bury me not on the lone prairie."
O we buried him there on the lone prairie Where the wild rose blooms and the wind blows free, O his pale young face nevermore to see,— For we buried him there on the lone prairie.
Yes, we buried him there on the lone prairie Where the owl all night hoots mournfully, And the blizzard beats and the winds blow free O'er his lowly grave on the lone prairie.
And the cowboys now as they roam the plain,— For they marked the spot where his bones were lain,— Fling a handful of roses o'er his grave, With a prayer to Him who his soul will save.
"O bury me not on the lone prairie Where the wolves can howl and growl o'er me; Fling a handful of roses o'er my grave With a prayer to Him who my soul will save."
[Footnote 1: In this song, as in several others, the chorus should come in after each stanza. The arrangement followed has been adopted to illustrate versions current in different sections.]
The Dying Cowboy (Mus. Not.)
"O bu-ry me not on the lone prai-rie," These words came low ... and mourn-ful-ly ... From the pal-lid lips of a youth who lay On his dy-ing bed at the close of day.
THE DAYS OF FORTY-NINE
We are gazing now on old Tom Moore, A relic of bygone days; 'Tis a bummer, too, they call me now, But what cares I for praise? It's oft, says I, for the days gone by, It's oft do I repine For the days of old when we dug out the gold In those days of Forty-Nine.
My comrades they all loved me well, The jolly, saucy crew; A few hard cases, I will admit, Though they were brave and true. Whatever the pinch, they ne'er would flinch; They never would fret nor whine, Like good old bricks they stood the kicks In the days of Forty-Nine.
There's old "Aunt Jess," that hard old cuss, Who never would repent; He never missed a single meal, Nor never paid a cent. But old "Aunt Jess," like all the rest, At death he did resign, And in his bloom went up the flume In the days of Forty-Nine.
There is Ragshag Jim, the roaring man, Who could out-roar a buffalo, you bet, He roared all day and he roared all night, And I guess he is roaring yet. One night Jim fell in a prospect hole,— It was a roaring bad design,— And in that hole Jim roared out his soul In the days of Forty-Nine.
There is Wylie Bill, the funny man, Who was full of funny tricks, And when he was in a poker game He was always hard as bricks. He would ante you a stud, he would play you a draw, He'd go you a hatful blind,— In a struggle with death Bill lost his breath In the days of Forty-Nine.
There was New York Jake, the butcher boy, Who was fond of getting tight. And every time he got on a spree He was spoiling for a fight. One night Jake rampaged against a knife In the hands of old Bob Sine, And over Jake they held a wake In the days of Forty-Nine.
There was Monte Pete, I'll ne'er forget The luck he always had, He would deal for you both day and night Or as long as he had a scad. It was a pistol shot that lay Pete out, It was his last resign, And it caught Pete dead sure in the door In the days of Forty-Nine.
Of all the comrades that I've had There's none that's left to boast, And I am left alone in my misery Like some poor wandering ghost. And as I pass from town to town, They call me the rambling sign, Since the days of old and the days of gold And the days of Forty-Nine.
Days of Forty-Nine (Mus. Not.)
You are gaz-ing now on old Tom Moore, A rel-ic of by-gone days; 'Tis a bum-mer now they call me. But what cares I for praise; It is oft, says I, for days gone by, It's oft do I repine For those days of old when we dug out the gold, In the days of For-ty-nine, In those days of old when we dug out the gold, In the days of For-ty-nine.
My name is Joe Bowers, I've got a brother Ike, I came here from Missouri, Yes, all the way from Pike. I'll tell you why I left there And how I came to roam, And leave my poor old mammy, So far away from home.
I used to love a gal there, Her name was Sallie Black, I asked her for to marry me, She said it was a whack. She says to me, "Joe Bowers, Before you hitch for life, You ought to have a little home To keep your little wife."
Says I, "My dearest Sallie, O Sallie, for your sake, I'll go to California And try to raise a stake." Says she to me, "Joe Bowers, You are the chap to win, Give me a kiss to seal the bargain,"— And I throwed a dozen in.
I'll never forget my feelings When I bid adieu to all. Sal, she cotched me round the neck And I began to bawl. When I begun they all commenced, You never heard the like, How they all took on and cried The day I left old Pike.
When I got to this here country I hadn't nary a red, I had such wolfish feelings I wished myself most dead. At last I went to mining, Put in my biggest licks, Came down upon the boulders Just like a thousand bricks.
I worked both late and early In rain and sun and snow, But I was working for my Sallie So 'twas all the same to Joe. I made a very lucky strike As the gold itself did tell, For I was working for my Sallie, The girl I loved so well.
But one day I got a letter From my dear, kind brother Ike; It came from old Missouri, Yes, all the way from Pike. It told me the goldarndest news That ever you did hear, My heart it is a-bustin' So please excuse this tear.
I'll tell you what it was, boys, You'll bust your sides I know; For when I read that letter You ought to seen poor Joe. My knees gave 'way beneath me, And I pulled out half my hair; And if you ever tell this now, You bet you'll hear me swear.
It said my Sallie was fickle, Her love for me had fled, That she had married a butcher, Whose hair was awful red; It told me more than that, It's enough to make me swear,— It said that Sallie had a baby And the baby had red hair.
Now I've told you all that I can tell About this sad affair, 'Bout Sallie marrying the butcher And the baby had red hair. But whether it was a boy or girl The letter never said, It only said its cussed hair Was inclined to be red.
THE COWBOY'S DREAM
Last night as I lay on the prairie, And looked at the stars in the sky, I wondered if ever a cowboy Would drift to that sweet by and by.
Roll on, roll on; Roll on, little dogies, roll on, roll on, Roll on, roll on; Roll on, little dogies, roll on.
The road to that bright, happy region Is a dim, narrow trail, so they say; But the broad one that leads to perdition Is posted and blazed all the way.
They say there will be a great round-up, And cowboys, like dogies, will stand, To be marked by the Riders of Judgment Who are posted and know every brand.
I know there's many a stray cowboy Who'll be lost at the great, final sale, When he might have gone in the green pastures Had he known of the dim, narrow trail.
I wonder if ever a cowboy Stood ready for that Judgment Day, And could say to the Boss of the Riders, "I'm ready, come drive me away."
For they, like the cows that are locoed, Stampede at the sight of a hand, Are dragged with a rope to the round-up, Or get marked with some crooked man's brand.
And I'm scared that I'll be a stray yearling,— A maverick, unbranded on high,— And get cut in the bunch with the "rusties" When the Boss of the Riders goes by.
For they tell of another big owner Whose ne'er overstocked, so they say, But who always makes room for the sinner Who drifts from the straight, narrow way.
They say he will never forget you, That he knows every action and look; So, for safety, you'd better get branded, Have your name in the great Tally Book.
[Footnote 2: Sung to the air of My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.]
THE COWBOY'S LIFE
The bawl of a steer, To a cowboy's ear, Is music of sweetest strain; And the yelping notes Of the gray cayotes To him are a glad refrain.
And his jolly songs Speed him along, As he thinks of the little gal With golden hair Who is waiting there At the bars of the home corral.
For a kingly crown In the noisy town His saddle he wouldn't change; No life so free As the life we see Way out on the Yaso range.
His eyes are bright And his heart as light As the smoke of his cigarette; There's never a care For his soul to bear, No trouble to make him fret.
The rapid beat Of his broncho's feet On the sod as he speeds along, Keeps living time To the ringing rhyme Of his rollicking cowboy song.
Hike it, cowboys, For the range away On the back of a bronc of steel, With a careless flirt Of the raw-hide quirt And a dig of a roweled heel!
The winds may blow And the thunder growl Or the breezes may safely moan;— A cowboy's life Is a royal life, His saddle his kingly throne.
Saddle up, boys, For the work is play When love's in the cowboy's eyes,— When his heart is light As the clouds of white That swim in the summer skies.
[Footnote 3: Attributed to James Barton Adams.]
THE KANSAS LINE
Come all you jolly cowmen, don't you want to go Way up on the Kansas line? Where you whoop up the cattle from morning till night All out in the midnight rain.
The cowboy's life is a dreadful life, He's driven through heat and cold; I'm almost froze with the water on my clothes, A-ridin' through heat and cold.
I've been where the lightnin', the lightnin' tangled in my eyes, The cattle I could scarcely hold; Think I heard my boss man say: "I want all brave-hearted men who ain't afraid to die To whoop up the cattle from morning till night, Way up on the Kansas line."
Speaking of your farms and your shanty charms, Speaking of your silver and gold,— Take a cowman's advice, go and marry you a true and lovely little wife, Never to roam, always stay at home; That's a cowman's, a cowman's advice, Way up on the Kansas line.
Think I heard the noisy cook say, "Wake up, boys, it's near the break of day,"— Way up on the Kansas line, And slowly we will rise with the sleepy feeling eyes, Way up on the Kansas line.
The cowboy's life is a dreary, dreary life, All out in the midnight rain; I'm almost froze with the water on my clothes, Way up on the Kansas line.
THE COWMAN'S PRAYER
Now, O Lord, please lend me thine ear, The prayer of a cattleman to hear, No doubt the prayers may seem strange, But I want you to bless our cattle range.
Bless the round-ups year by year, And don't forget the growing steer; Water the lands with brooks and rills For my cattle that roam on a thousand hills.
Prairie fires, won't you please stop? Let thunder roll and water drop. It frightens me to see the smoke; Unless it's stopped, I'll go dead broke.
As you, O Lord, my herd behold, It represents a sack of gold; I think at least five cents a pound Will be the price of beef the year around.
One thing more and then I'm through,— Instead of one calf, give my cows two. I may pray different from other men But I've had my say, and now, Amen.
THE MINER'S SONG
In a rusty, worn-out cabin sat a broken-hearted leaser, His singlejack was resting on his knee. His old "buggy" in the corner told the same old plaintive tale, His ore had left in all his poverty. He lifted his old singlejack, gazed on its battered face, And said: "Old boy, I know we're not to blame; Our gold has us forsaken, some other path it's taken, But I still believe we'll strike it just the same.
"We'll strike it, yes, we'll strike it just the same, Although it's gone into some other's claim. My dear old boy don't mind it, we won't starve if we don't find it, And we'll drill and shoot and find it just the same.
"For forty years I've hammered steel and tried to make a strike, I've burned twice the powder Custer ever saw. I've made just coin enough to keep poorer than a snake. My jack's ate all my books on mining law. I've worn gunny-sacks for overalls, and 'California socks,' I've burned candles that would reach from here to Maine, I've lived on powder, smoke, and bacon, that's no lie, boy, I'm not fakin', But I still believe we'll strike it just the same.
"Last night as I lay sleeping in the midst of all my dream My assay ran six ounces clear in gold, And the silver it ran clean sixteen ounces to the seam, And the poor old miner's joy could scarce be told. I lay there, boy, I could not sleep, I had a feverish brow, Got up, went back, and put in six holes more. And then, boy, I was chokin' just to see the ground I'd broken; But alas! alas! the miner's dream was o'er.
"We'll strike it, yes, we'll strike it just the same, Although it's gone into some other's claim. My dear old boy, don't mind it, we won't starve if we don't find it, And I still believe I'll strike it just the same."
[Footnote 4: Printed as a fugitive ballad in Grandon of Sierra, by Charles E. Winter.]
Jesse James was a lad that killed a-many a man; He robbed the Danville train. But that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard Has laid poor Jesse in his grave.
Poor Jesse had a wife to mourn for his life, Three children, they were brave. But that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard Has laid poor Jesse in his grave.
It was Robert Ford, that dirty little coward, I wonder how he does feel, For he ate of Jesse's bread and he slept in Jesse's bed, Then laid poor Jesse in his grave.
Jesse was a man, a friend to the poor, He never would see a man suffer pain; And with his brother Frank he robbed the Chicago bank, And stopped the Glendale train.
It was his brother Frank that robbed the Gallatin bank, And carried the money from the town; It was in this very place that they had a little race, For they shot Captain Sheets to the ground.
They went to the crossing not very far from there, And there they did the same; With the agent on his knees, he delivered up the keys To the outlaws, Frank and Jesse James.
It was on Wednesday night, the moon was shining bright, They robbed the Glendale train; The people they did say, for many miles away, It was robbed by Frank and Jesse James.
It was on Saturday night, Jesse was at home Talking with his family brave, Robert Ford came along like a thief in the night And laid poor Jesse in his grave.
The people held their breath when they heard of Jesse's death, And wondered how he ever came to die. It was one of the gang called little Robert Ford, He shot poor Jesse on the sly.
Jesse went to his rest with his hand on his breast; The devil will be upon his knee. He was born one day in the county of Clay And came from a solitary race.
This song was made by Billy Gashade, As soon as the news did arrive; He said there was no man with the law in his hand Who could take Jesse James when alive.
Jesse James (Mus. Not.)
Jes-se James was a lad that killed a-ma-ny a man; He robbed the Dan-ville train; But that dirt-y lit-tle cow-ard that shot Mis-ter How-ard Has laid poor Jes-se in the grave.
Poor Jes-se had a wife to mourn for his life. Three chil-dren, they were brave; But that dir-ty lit-tle cow-ard That shot Mis-ter How-ard Has laid poor Jes-se in the grave.
POOR LONESOME COWBOY
I ain't got no father, I ain't got no father, I ain't got no father, To buy the clothes I wear.
I'm a poor, lonesome cowboy, I'm a poor, lonesome cowboy, I'm a poor, lonesome cowboy And a long ways from home.
I ain't got no mother, I ain't got no mother, I ain't got no mother To mend the clothes I wear.
I ain't got no sister, I ain't got no sister, I ain't got no sister To go and play with me.
I ain't got no brother, I ain't got no brother, I ain't got no brother To drive the steers with me.
I ain't got no sweetheart, I ain't got no sweetheart, I ain't got no sweetheart To sit and talk with me.
I'm a poor, lonesome cowboy, I'm a poor, lonesome cowboy, I'm a poor, lonesome cowboy And a long ways from home.
BUENA VISTA BATTLEFIELD
On Buena Vista battlefield A dying soldier lay, His thoughts were on his mountain home Some thousand miles away. He called his comrade to his side, For much he had to say, In briefest words to those who were Some thousand miles away.
"My father, comrade, you will tell About this bloody fray; My country's flag, you'll say to him, Was safe with me to-day. I make a pillow of it now On which to lay my head, A winding sheet you'll make of it When I am with the dead.
"I know 'twill grieve his inmost soul To think I never more Will sit with him beneath the oak That shades the cottage door; But tell that time-worn patriot, That, mindful of his fame, Upon this bloody battlefield I sullied not his name.
"My mother's form is with me now, Her will is in my ear, And drop by drop as flows my blood So flows from her the tear. And oh, when you shall tell to her The tidings of this day, Speak softly, comrade, softly speak What you may have to say.
"Speak not to her in blighting words The blighting news you bear, The cords of life might snap too soon, So, comrade, have a care. I am her only, cherished child, But tell her that I died Rejoicing that she taught me young To take my country's side.
"But, comrade, there's one more, She's gentle as a fawn; She lives upon the sloping hill That overlooks the lawn, The lawn where I shall never more Go forth with her in merry mood To gather wild-wood flowers.
"Tell her when death was on my brow And life receding fast, Her looks, her form was with me then, Were with me to the last. On Buena Vista's bloody field Tell her I dying lay, And that I knew she thought of me Some thousand miles away."
I love not Colorado Where the faro table grows, And down the desperado The rippling Bourbon flows;
Nor seek I fair Montana Of bowie-lunging fame; The pistol ring of fair Wyoming I leave to nobler game.
Sweet poker-haunted Kansas In vain allures the eye; The Nevada rough has charms enough Yet its blandishments I fly.
Shall Arizona woo me Where the meek Apache bides? Or New Mexico where natives grow With arrow-proof insides?
Nay, 'tis where the grizzlies wander And the lonely diggers roam, And the grim Chinese from the squatter flees That I'll make my humble home.
I'll chase the wild tarantula And the fierce cayote I'll dare, And the locust grim, I'll battle him In his native wildwood lair.
Or I'll seek the gulch deserted And dream of the wild Red man, And I'll build a cot on a corner lot And get rich as soon as I can.
A HOME ON THE RANGE
Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam, Where the deer and the antelope play, Where seldom is heard a discouraging word And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Home, home on the range, Where the deer and the antelope play; Where seldom is heard a discouraging word And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Where the air is so pure, the zephyrs so free, The breezes so balmy and light, That I would not exchange my home on the range For all of the cities so bright.
The red man was pressed from this part of the West, He's likely no more to return To the banks of Red River where seldom if ever Their flickering camp-fires burn.
How often at night when the heavens are bright With the light from the glittering stars, Have I stood here amazed and asked as I gazed If their glory exceeds that of ours.
Oh, I love these wild flowers in this dear land of ours, The curlew I love to hear scream, And I love the white rocks and the antelope flocks That graze on the mountain-tops green.
Oh, give me a land where the bright diamond sand Flows leisurely down the stream; Where the graceful white swan goes gliding along Like a maid in a heavenly dream.
Then I would not exchange my home on the range, Where the deer and the antelope play; Where seldom is heard a discouraging word And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Home, home on the range, Where the deer and the antelope play; Where seldom is heard a discouraging word And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Home on the Range (Mus. Not.)
Oh, give me a home where the buf-fa-lo roam, Where the deer and the an-te-lope play;... Where sel-dom is heard a dis-cour-ag-ing word And the skies are not cloud-y all day. Home, home on the range, Where the deer and the antelope play; Where sel-dom is heard a dis-cour-ag-ing word And the skies are not cloud-y all day.
Come, all you Texas rangers, wherever you may be, I'll tell you of some troubles that happened unto me. My name is nothing extra, so it I will not tell,— And here's to all you rangers, I am sure I wish you well.
It was at the age of sixteen that I joined the jolly band, We marched from San Antonio down to the Rio Grande. Our captain he informed us, perhaps he thought it right, "Before we reach the station, boys, you'll surely have to fight."
And when the bugle sounded our captain gave command, "To arms, to arms," he shouted, "and by your horses stand." I saw the smoke ascending, it seemed to reach the sky; The first thought that struck me, my time had come to die.
I saw the Indians coming, I heard them give the yell; My feelings at that moment, no tongue can ever tell. I saw the glittering lances, their arrows round me flew, And all my strength it left me and all my courage too.
We fought full nine hours before the strife was o'er, The like of dead and wounded I never saw before. And when the sun was rising and the Indians they had fled, We loaded up our rifles and counted up our dead.
And all of us were wounded, our noble captain slain, And the sun was shining sadly across the bloody plain. Sixteen as brave rangers as ever roamed the West Were buried by their comrades with arrows in their breast.
'Twas then I thought of mother, who to me in tears did say, "To you they are all strangers, with me you had better stay." I thought that she was childish, the best she did not know; My mind was fixed on ranging and I was bound to go.
Perhaps you have a mother, likewise a sister too, And maybe you have a sweetheart to weep and mourn for you; If that be your situation, although you'd like to roam, I'd advise you by experience, you had better stay at home.
I have seen the fruits of rambling, I know its hardships well; I have crossed the Rocky Mountains, rode down the streets of hell; I have been in the great Southwest where the wild Apaches roam, And I tell you from experience you had better stay at home.
And now my song is ended; I guess I have sung enough; The life of a ranger I am sure is very tough. And here's to all you ladies, I am sure I wish you well, I am bound to go a-ranging, so ladies, fare you well.
THE MORMON BISHOP'S LAMENT
I am a Mormon bishop and I will tell you what I know. I joined the confraternity some forty years ago. I then had youth upon my brow and eloquence my tongue, But I had the sad misfortune then to meet with Brigham Young.
He said, "Young man, come join our band and bid hard work farewell, You are too smart to waste your time in toil by hill and dell; There is a ripening harvest and our hooks shall find the fool And in the distant nations we shall train them in our school."
I listened to his preaching and I learned all the role, And the truth of Mormon doctrines burned deep within my soul. I married sixteen women and I spread my new belief, I was sent to preach the gospel to the pauper and the thief.
'Twas in the glorious days when Brigham was our only Lord and King, And his wild cry of defiance from the Wasatch tops did ring, 'Twas when that bold Bill Hickman and that Porter Rockwell led, And in the blood atonements the pits received the dead.
They took in Dr. Robertson and left him in his gore, And the Aiken brothers sleep in peace on Nephi's distant shore. We marched to Mountain Meadows and on that glorious field With rifle and with hatchet we made man and woman yield.
'Twas there we were victorious with our legions fierce and brave. We left the butchered victims on the ground without a grave. We slew the load of emigrants on Sublet's lonely road And plundered many a trader of his then most precious load.
Alas for all the powers that were in the by-gone time. What we did as deeds of glory are condemned as bloody crime. No more the blood atonements keep the doubting one in fear, While the faithful were rewarded with a wedding once a year.
As the nation's chieftain president says our days of rule are o'er And his marshals with their warrants are on watch at every door, Old John he now goes skulking on the by-roads of our land, Or unknown he keeps in hiding with the faithful of our band.
Old Brigham now is stretched beneath the cold and silent clay, And the chieftains now are fallen that were mighty in their day; Of the six and twenty women that I wedded long ago There are two now left to cheer me in these awful hours of woe. The rest are scattered where the Gentile's flag's unfurled And two score of my daughters are now numbered with the world.
Oh, my poor old bones are aching and my head is turning gray; Oh, the scenes were black and awful that I've witnessed in my day. Let my spirit seek the mansion where old Brigham's gone to dwell, For there's no place for Mormons but the lowest pits of hell.
Dan Taylor is a rollicking cuss, A frisky son of a gun, He loves to court the maidens And he savies how it's done.
He used to be a cowboy And they say he wasn't slow, He could ride the bucking bronco And swing the long lasso.
He could catch a maverick by the head Or heel him on the fly, He could pick up his front ones Whenever he chose to try.
He used to ride most anything; Now he seldom will. He says they cut some caper in the air Of which he's got his fill.
He is done and quit the business, Settled down to quiet life, And he's hunting for some maiden Who will be his little wife,—
One who will wash and patch his britches And feed the setting hen, Milk old Blue and Brindy, And tend to baby Ben.
Then he'll build a cozy cottage And furnish it complete, He'll decorate the walls inside With pictures new and sweet.
He will leave off riding broncos And be a different man; He will do his best to please his wife In every way he can.
Then together in double harness They will trot along down the line, Until death shall call them over To a bright and sunny clime.
May your joys be then completed And your sorrows have amend, Is the fondest wish of the writer,— Your true and faithful friend.
WHEN WORK IS DONE THIS FALL
A group of jolly cowboys, discussing plans at ease, Says one, "I'll tell you something, boys, if you will listen, please. I am an old cow-puncher and here I'm dressed in rags, And I used to be a tough one and take on great big jags.
"But I've got a home, boys, a good one, you all know, Although I have not seen it since long, long ago. I'm going back to Dixie once more to see them all; Yes, I'm going to see my mother when the work's all done this fall.
"After the round-ups are over and after the shipping is done, I am going right straight home, boys, ere all my money is gone. I have changed my ways, boys, no more will I fall; And I am going home, boys, when work is done this fall.
"When I left home, boys, my mother for me cried, Begged me not to go, boys, for me she would have died; My mother's heart is breaking, breaking for me, that's all, And with God's help I'll see her when the work's all done this fall."
That very night this cowboy went out to stand his guard; The night was dark and cloudy and storming very hard; The cattle they got frightened and rushed in wild stampede, The cowboy tried to head them, riding at full speed.
While riding in the darkness so loudly did he shout, Trying his best to head them and turn the herd about, His saddle horse did stumble and on him did fall, The poor boy won't see his mother when the work's all done this fall.
His body was so mangled the boys all thought him dead, They picked him up so gently and laid him on a bed; He opened wide his blue eyes and looking all around He motioned to his comrades to sit near him on the ground.
"Boys, send mother my wages, the wages I have earned, For I'm afraid, boys, my last steer I have turned. I'm going to a new range, I hear my Master's call, And I'll not see my mother when the work's all done this fall.
"Fred, you take my saddle; George, you take my bed; Bill, you take my pistol after I am dead, And think of me kindly when you look upon them all, For I'll not see my mother when work is done this fall."
Poor Charlie was buried at sunrise, no tombstone at his head, Nothing but a little board and this is what it said, "Charlie died at daybreak, he died from a fall, And he'll not see his mother when the work's all done this fall."
I'll sing you a song, though it may be a sad one, Of trials and troubles and where they first begun; I left my dear kindred, my friends, and my home, Across the wild deserts and mountains to roam.
I crossed the Missouri and joined a large train Which bore us over mountain and valley and plain; And often of evenings out hunting we'd go To shoot the fleet antelope and wild buffalo.
We heard of Sioux Indians all out on the plains A-killing poor drivers and burning their trains,— A-killing poor drivers with arrows and bow, When captured by Indians no mercy they show.
We traveled three weeks till we came to the Platte And pitched out our tents at the end of the flat, We spread down our blankets on the green grassy ground, While our horses and mules were grazing around.
While taking refreshment we heard a low yell, The whoop of Sioux Indians coming up from the dell; We sprang to our rifles with a flash in each eye, "Boys," says our brave leader, "we'll fight till we die."
They made a bold dash and came near to our train And the arrows fell around us like hail and like rain, But with our long rifles we fed them cold lead Till many a brave warrior around us lay dead.
We shot their bold chief at the head of his band. He died like a warrior with a gun in his hand. When they saw their bold chief lying dead in his gore, They whooped and they yelled and we saw them no more.
With our small band,—there were just twenty-four,— And the Sioux Indians there were five hundred or more,— We fought them with courage; we spoke not a word, Till the end of the battle was all that was heard.
We hitched up our horses and we started our train; Three more bloody battles this trip on the plain; And in our last battle three of our brave boys fell, And we left them to rest in a green, shady dell.
THE OLD CHISHOLM TRAIL
Come along, boys, and listen to my tale, I'll tell you of my troubles on the old Chisholm trail.
Coma ti yi youpy, youpy ya, youpy ya, Coma ti yi youpy, youpy ya.
I started up the trail October twenty-third, I started up the trail with the 2-U herd.
Oh, a ten dollar hoss and a forty dollar saddle,— And I'm goin' to punchin' Texas cattle.
I woke up one morning on the old Chisholm trail, Rope in my hand and a cow by the tail.
I'm up in the mornin' afore daylight And afore I sleep the moon shines bright.
Old Ben Bolt was a blamed good boss, But he'd go to see the girls on a sore-backed hoss.
Old Ben Bolt was a fine old man And you'd know there was whiskey wherever he'd land.
My hoss throwed me off at the creek called Mud, My hoss throwed me off round the 2-U herd.
Last time I saw him he was going cross the level A-kicking up his heels and a-running like the devil.
It's cloudy in the West, a-looking like rain, And my damned old slicker's in the wagon again.
Crippled my hoss, I don't know how, Ropin' at the horns of a 2-U cow.
We hit Caldwell and we hit her on the fly, We bedded down the cattle on the hill close by.
No chaps, no slicker, and it's pouring down rain, And I swear, by god, I'll never night-herd again.
Feet in the stirrups and seat in the saddle, I hung and rattled with them long-horn cattle.
Last night I was on guard and the leader broke the ranks, I hit my horse down the shoulders and I spurred him in the flanks.
The wind commenced to blow, and the rain began to fall, Hit looked, by grab, like we was goin' to loss 'em all.
I jumped in the saddle and grabbed holt the horn, Best blamed cow-puncher ever was born.
I popped my foot in the stirrup and gave a little yell, The tail cattle broke and the leaders went to hell.
I don't give a damn if they never do stop; I'll ride as long as an eight-day clock.
Foot in the stirrup and hand on the horn, Best damned cowboy ever was born.
I herded and I hollered and I done very well, Till the boss said, "Boys, just let 'em go to hell."
Stray in the herd and the boss said kill it, So I shot him in the rump with the handle of the skillet.
We rounded 'em up and put 'em on the cars, And that was the last of the old Two Bars.
Oh it's bacon and beans most every day,— I'd as soon be a-eatin' prairie hay.
I'm on my best horse and I'm goin' at a run, I'm the quickest shootin' cowboy that ever pulled a gun.
I went to the wagon to get my roll, To come back to Texas, dad-burn my soul.
I went to the boss to draw my roll, He had it figgered out I was nine dollars in the hole.
I'll sell my outfit just as soon as I can, I won't punch cattle for no damned man.
Goin' back to town to draw my money, Goin' back home to see my honey.
With my knees in the saddle and my seat in the sky, I'll quit punching cows in the sweet by and by.
Coma ti yi youpy, youpy ya, youpy ya, Coma ti yi youpy, youpy ya.
The Old Chisholm Trail (Mus. Not.)
Come a-long, boys, and list-en to my tale, I'll tell you of my trou-bles on the old Chisholm trail.
Co-ma ti yi you-pe, you-pe ya, you-pe ya, Co-ma ti yi you-pe, you-pe ya.
Come, all you bold, undaunted men, You outlaws of the day, It's time to beware of the ball and chain And also slavery. Attention pay to what I say, And verily if you do, I will relate you the actual fate Of bold Jack Donahoo.
He had scarcely landed, as I tell you, Upon Australia's shore, Than he became a real highwayman, As he had been before. There was Underwood and Mackerman, And Wade and Westley too, These were the four associates Of bold Jack Donahoo.
Jack Donahoo, who was so brave, Rode out that afternoon, Knowing not that the pain of death Would overtake him soon. So quickly then the horse police From Sidney came to view; "Begone from here, you cowardly dogs," Says bold Jack Donahoo.
The captain and the sergeant Stopped then to decide. "Do you intend to fight us Or unto us resign?" "To surrender to such cowardly dogs Is more than I will do, This day I'll fight if I lose my life," Says bold Jack Donahoo.
The captain and the sergeant The men they did divide; They fired from behind him And also from each side; It's six police he did shoot down Before the fatal ball Did pierce the heart of Donahoo And cause bold Jack to fall.
And when he fell, he closed his eyes, He bid the world adieu; Come, all you boys, and sing the song Of bold Jack Donahoo.
And as, my friend, you ask me what makes me sad and still, And why my brow is darkened like the clouds upon the hill; Run in your pony closer and I'll tell to you the tale Of Utah Carroll, my partner, and his last ride on the trail.
'Mid the cactus and the thistles of Mexico's fair lands, Where the cattle roam in thousands, a-many a herd and brand, There is a grave with neither headstone, neither date nor name,— There lies my partner sleeping in the land from which I came.
We rode the range together and had rode it side by side; I loved him as a brother, I wept when Utah died; We were rounding up one morning, our work was almost done, When on the side the cattle started on a mad and fearless run.
The boss man's little daughter was holding on that side. She rushed; the cattle saw the blanket, they charged with maddened fear. And little Varro, seeing the danger, turned her pony a pace And leaning in the saddle, tied the blanket in its place.
In leaning, she lost her balance and fell in front of that wild tide. Utah's voice controlled the round-up. "Lay still, little Varro," he cried. His only hope was to raise her, to catch her at full speed, And oft-times he had been known to catch the trail rope off his steed.
His pony reached the maiden with a firm and steady bound; Utah swung out from the saddle to catch her from the ground. He swung out from the saddle, I thought her safe from harm, As he swung in his saddle to raise her in his arm.
But the cinches of his saddle had not been felt before, And his back cinch snapt asunder and he fell by the side of Varro. He picked up the blanket and swung it over his head And started across the prairie; "Lay still, little Varro," he said.
Well, he got the stampede turned and saved little Varro, his friend. Then he turned to face the cattle and meet his fatal end. His six-shooter from his pocket, from the scabbard he quickly drew,— He was bound to die defended as all young cowboys do.
His six-shooter flashed like lightning, the report rang loud and clear; As the cattle rushed in and killed him he dropped the leading steer. And when we broke the circle where Utah's body lay, With many a wound and bruise his young life ebbed away.
"And in some future morning," I heard the preacher say, "I hope we'll all meet Utah at the round-up far away." Then we wrapped him in a blanket sent by his little friend, And it was that very red blanket that brought him to his end.
I'm a lonely bull-whacker On the Red Cloud line, I can lick any son of a gun That will yoke an ox of mine. And if I can catch him, You bet I will or try, I'd lick him with an ox-bow,— Root hog or die.
It's out on the road With a very heavy load, With a very awkward team And a very muddy road, You may whip and you may holler, But if you cuss it's on the sly; Then whack the cattle on, boys,— Root hog or die.
It's out on the road These sights are to be seen, The antelope and buffalo, The prairie all so green,— The antelope and buffalo, The rabbit jumps so high; It's whack the cattle on, boys,— Root hog or die.
It's every day at twelve There's something for to do; And if there's nothing else, There's a pony for to shoe; I'll throw him down, And still I'll make him lie; Little pig, big pig, Root hog or die.
Now perhaps you'd like to know What we have to eat, A little piece of bread And a little dirty meat, A little black coffee, And whiskey on the sly; It's whack the cattle on, boys,— Root hog or die.
There's hard old times on Bitter Creek That never can be beat, It was root hog or die Under every wagon sheet; We cleaned up all the Indians, Drank all the alkali, And it's whack the cattle on, boys,— Root hog or die.
There was good old times in Salt Lake That never can pass by, It was there I first spied My China girl called Wi. She could smile, she could chuckle, She could roll her hog eye; Then it's whack the cattle on, boys,— Root hog or die.
Oh, I'm going home Bull-whacking for to spurn, I ain't got a nickel, And I don't give a dern. 'Tis when I meet a pretty girl, You bet I will or try, I'll make her my little wife,— Root hog or die.
THE "METIS" SONG OF THE BUFFALO HUNTERS
Hurrah for the buffalo hunters! Hurrah for the cart brigade! That creak along on its winding way, While we dance and sing and play. Hurrah, hurrah for the cart brigade!
Hurrah for the Pembinah hunters! Hurrah for its cart brigade! For with horse and gun we roll along O'er mountain and hill and plain. Hurrah, hurrah for the cart brigade!
We whipped the Sioux and scalped them too, While on the western plain, And rode away on our homeward way With none to say us nay,— Hurrah, hurrah for the cart brigade! Hurrah!
Mon ami, mon ami, hurrah for our black-haired girls! That braved the Sioux and fought them too, While on Montana's plains. We'll hold them true and love them too, While on the trail of the Pembinah, hurrah! Hurrah, hurrah for the cart brigade of Pembinah!
We have the skins and the meat so sweet. And we'll sit by the fire in the lodge so neat, While the wind blows cold and the snow is deep. Then roll in our robes and laugh as we sleep. Hurrah, hurrah for the cart brigade! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
THE COWBOY'S LAMENT
As I walked out in the streets of Laredo, As I walked out in Laredo one day, I spied a poor cowboy wrapped up in white linen, Wrapped up in white linen as cold as the clay.
"Oh, beat the drum slowly and play the fife lowly, Play the Dead March as you carry me along; Take me to the green valley, there lay the sod o'er me, For I'm a young cowboy and I know I've done wrong.
"I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy," These words he did say as I boldly stepped by. "Come sit down beside me and hear my sad story; I was shot in the breast and I know I must die.
"Let sixteen gamblers come handle my coffin, Let sixteen cowboys come sing me a song, Take me to the graveyard and lay the sod o'er me, For I'm a poor cowboy and I know I've done wrong.
"My friends and relations, they live in the Nation, They know not where their boy has gone. He first came to Texas and hired to a ranchman, Oh, I'm a young cowboy and I know I've done wrong.
"Go write a letter to my gray-haired mother, And carry the same to my sister so dear; But not a word of this shall you mention When a crowd gathers round you my story to hear.
"Then beat your drum lowly and play your fife slowly, Beat the Dead March as you carry me along; We all love our cowboys so young and so handsome, We all love our cowboys although they've done wrong.
"There is another more dear than a sister, She'll bitterly weep when she hears I am gone. There is another who will win her affections, For I'm a young cowboy and they say I've done wrong.
"Go gather around you a crowd of young cowboys, And tell them the story of this my sad fate; Tell one and the other before they go further To stop their wild roving before 'tis too late.
"Oh, muffle your drums, then play your fifes merrily; Play the Dead March as you go along. And fire your guns right over my coffin; There goes an unfortunate boy to his home.
"It was once in the saddle I used to go dashing, It was once in the saddle I used to go gay; First to the dram-house, then to the card-house, Got shot in the breast, I am dying to-day.
"Get six jolly cowboys to carry my coffin; Get six pretty maidens to bear up my pall. Put bunches of roses all over my coffin, Put roses to deaden the clods as they fall.
"Then swing your rope slowly and rattle your spurs lowly, And give a wild whoop as you carry me along; And in the grave throw me and roll the sod o'er me, For I'm a young cowboy and I know I've done wrong.
"Go bring me a cup, a cup of cold water, To cool my parched lips," the cowboy said; Before I turned, the spirit had left him And gone to its Giver,—the cowboy was dead.
We beat the drum slowly and played the fife lowly, And bitterly wept as we bore him along; For we all loved our comrade, so brave, young, and handsome, We all loved our comrade although he'd done wrong.
LOVE IN DISGUISE
As William and Mary stood by the seashore Their last farewell to take, Returning no more, little Mary she said, "Why surely my heart will break." "Oh, don't be dismayed, little Mary," he said, As he pressed the dear girl to his side, "In my absence don't mourn, for when I return I'll make little Mary my bride."
Three years passed on without any news. One day as she stood by the door A beggar passed by with a patch on his eye, "I'm home, oh, do pity, my love; Have compassion on me, your friend I will be. Your fortune I'll tell besides. The lad you mourn will never return To make little Mary his bride."
She startled and trembled and then she did say, "All the fortune I have I freely give If what I ask you will tell unto me,— Say, does young William yet live?" "He lives and is true and poverty poor, And shipwreck has suffered beside; He'll return no more, because he is poor, To make little Mary his bride."
"No tongue can tell the joy I do feel Although his misfortune I mourn, And he's welcome to me though poverty poor, His jacket all tattered and torn. I love him so dear, so true and sincere, I'll have no other beside; Those with riches enrobed and covered with gold Can't make little Mary their bride."
The beggar then tore the patch from his eye, His crutches he laid by his side, Coat, jacket and bundle; cheeks red as a rose, 'Twas William that stood by her side. "Then excuse me, dear maid," to her he said, "It was only your love I tried." So he hastened away at the close of the day To make little Mary his bride.
There once was a noble ranger, They called him Mustang Gray; He left his home when but a youth, Went ranging far away.
But he'll go no more a-ranging, The savage to affright; He has heard his last war-whoop, And fought his last fight.
He ne'er would sleep within a tent, No comforts would he know; But like a brave old Tex-i-an, A-ranging he would go.
When Texas was invaded By a mighty tyrant foe, He mounted his noble war-horse And a-ranging he did go.
Once he was taken prisoner, Bound in chains upon the way, He wore the yoke of bondage Through the streets of Monterey.
A senorita loved him, And followed by his side; She opened the gates and gave to him Her father's steed to ride.
God bless the senorita, The belle of Monterey, She opened wide the prison door And let him ride away.
And when this veteran's life was spent, It was his last command To bury him on Texas soil On the banks of the Rio Grande;
And there the lonely traveler, When passing by his grave, Will shed a farewell tear O'er the bravest of the brave.
And he'll go no more a-ranging, The savage to affright; He has heard his last war-whoop, And fought his last fight.
Come all you young companions And listen unto me, I'll tell you a story Of some bad company.
I was born in Pennsylvania Among the beautiful hills And the memory of my childhood Is warm within me still.
I did not like my fireside, I did not like my home; I had in view far rambling, So far away did roam.
I had a feeble mother, She oft would plead with me; And the last word she gave me Was to pray to God in need.
I had two loving sisters, As fair as fair could be, And oft beside me kneeling They oft would plead with me.
I bid adieu to loved ones, To my home I bid farewell, And I landed in Chicago In the very depth of hell.
It was there I took to drinking, I sinned both night and day, And there within my bosom A feeble voice would say:
"Then fare you well, my loved one, May God protect my boy, And blessings ever with him Throughout his manhood joy."
I courted a fair young maiden, Her name I will not tell, For I should ever disgrace her Since I am doomed for hell.
It was on one beautiful evening, The stars were shining bright, And with a fatal dagger I bid her spirit flight.
So justice overtook me, You all can plainly see, My soul is doomed forever Throughout eternity.
It's now I'm on the scaffold, My moments are not long; You may forget the singer But don't forget the song.
Come all you good old boys and listen to my rhymes, We are west of Eastern Texas and mostly men of crimes; Each with a hidden secret well smothered in his breast, Which brought us out to Mexico, way out here in the West.
My parents raised me tenderly, they had no child but me, Till I began to ramble and with them could never agree. My mind being bent on rambling did grieve their poor hearts sore, To leave my aged parents them to see no more.
I was borned and raised in Texas, though never come to fame, A cowboy by profession, C.W. King, by name. Oh, when the war was ended I did not like to work, My brothers were not happy, for I had learned to shirk.
In fact I was not able, my health was very bad, I had no constitution, I was nothing but a lad. I had no education, I would not go to school, And living off my parents I thought it rather cool.
So I set a resolution to travel to the West, My parents they objected, but still I thought it best. It was out on the Seven Rivers all out on the Pecos stream, It was there I saw a country I thought just suited me.
I thought I would be no stranger and lead a civil life, In order to be happy would choose myself a wife. On one Sabbath evening in the merry month of May To a little country singing I happened there to stray.
It was there I met a damsel I never shall forget, The impulse of that moment remains within me yet. We soon became acquainted, I thought she would fill the bill, She seemed to be good-natured, which helps to climb the hill.
She was a handsome figure though not so very tall; Her hair was red as blazes, I hate it worst of all. I saw her home one evening in the presence of her pap, I bid them both good evening with a note left in her lap.
And when I got an answer I read it with a rush, I found she had consented, my feelings was a hush. But now I have changed my mind, boys, I am sure I wish her well. Here's to that precious jewel, I'm sure I wish her well.
This girl was Miss Mollie Walker who fell in love with me, She was a lovely Western girl, as lovely as could be, She was so tall, so handsome, so charming and so fair, There is not a girl in this whole world with her I could compare.
She said my pockets would be lined with gold, hard work then I'd leave o'er If I'd consent to live with her and say I'd roam no more. My mind began to ramble and it grieved my poor heart sore, To leave my darling girl, her to see no more.
I asked if it made any difference if I crossed o'er the plains; She said it made no difference if I returned again. So we kissed, shook hands, and parted, I left that girl behind. She said she'd prove true to me till death proved her unkind.
I rode in the town of Vagus, all in the public square; The mail coach had arrived, the post boy met me there. He handed me a letter that gave me to understand That the girl I loved in Texas had married another man.
So I read a little farther and found those words were true. I turned myself all around, not knowing what to do. I'll sell my horse, saddle, and bridle, cow-driving I'll resign, I'll search this world from town to town for the girl I left behind.
Here the gold I find in plenty, the girls to me are kind, But my pillow is haunted with the girl I left behind. It's trouble and disappointment is all that I can see, For the dearest girl in all the world has gone square back on me.
WHOOPEE TI YI YO, GIT ALONG LITTLE DOGIES
As I walked out one morning for pleasure, I spied a cow-puncher all riding alone; His hat was throwed back and his spurs was a jingling, As he approached me a-singin' this song,
Whoopee ti yi yo, git along little dogies, It's your misfortune, and none of my own. Whoopee ti yi yo, git along little dogies, For you know Wyoming will be your new home.
Early in the spring we round up the dogies, Mark and brand and bob off their tails; Round up our horses, load up the chuck-wagon, Then throw the dogies upon the trail.
It's whooping and yelling and driving the dogies; Oh how I wish you would go on; It's whooping and punching and go on little dogies, For you know Wyoming will be your new home.
Some boys goes up the trail for pleasure, But that's where you get it most awfully wrong; For you haven't any idea the trouble they give us While we go driving them all along.
When the night comes on and we hold them on the bedground, These little dogies that roll on so slow; Roll up the herd and cut out the strays, And roll the little dogies that never rolled before.
Your mother she was raised way down in Texas, Where the jimson weed and sand-burrs grow; Now we'll fill you up on prickly pear and cholla Till you are ready for the trail to Idaho.
Oh, you'll be soup for Uncle Sam's Injuns; "It's beef, heap beef," I hear them cry. Git along, git along, git along little dogies You're going to be beef steers by and by.
Whoopee Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies (Mus. Not.)
As I was a-walk-ing one morn-ing for pleasure, I spied a cow-punch-er all rid-ing a-lone; His hat was throw'd back and his spurs was a-jing-lin', As he ap-proach'd me a-sing-in' this song:
Whoopee ti yi yo, git a-long little dog-ies, Its your mis-for-tune and none of my own. Whoop-ee ti yi yo, git a-long lit-tie dog-ies, For you know Wy-o-ming will be your new home.
THE U-S-U RANGE
O come cowboys and listen to my song, I'm in hopes I'll please you and not keep you long; I'll sing you of things you may think strange About West Texas and the U-S-U range.
You may go to Stamford and there see a man Who wears a white shirt and is asking for hands; You may ask him for work and he'll answer you short, He will hurry you up, for he wants you to start. He will put you in a wagon and be off in the rain, You will go up on Tongue River on the U-S-U range.
You will drive up to the ranch and there you will stop. It's a little sod house with dirt all on top. You will ask what it is and they will tell you out plain That it's the ranch house on the U-S-U range.
You will go in the house and he will begin to explain; You will see some blankets rolled up on the floor; You may ask what it is and they will tell you out plain That it is the bedding on the U-S-U range.
You are up in the morning at the daybreak To eat cold beef and U-S-U steak, And out to your work no matter if it's rain,— And that is the life on the U-S-U range.
You work hard all day and come in at night, And turn your horse loose, for they say it's all right, And set down to supper and begin to complain Of the chuck that you eat on the U-S-U range.
The grub that you get is beans and cold rice And U-S-U steak cooked up very nice; And if you don't like that you needn't complain, For that's what you get on the U-S-U range.
Now, kind friends, I must leave you, I no longer can remain, I hope I have pleased you and given you no pain. But when I am gone, don't think me strange, For I have been a cow-puncher on the U-S-U range.
I'M A GOOD OLD REBEL
Oh, I'm a good old rebel, that's what I am; And for this land of freedom, I don't care a damn, I'm glad I fought agin her, I only wish we'd won, And I don't axe any pardon for anything I've done.
I served with old Bob Lee, three years about, Got wounded in four places and starved at Point Lookout; I caught the rheumatism a-campin' in the snow, But I killed a chance of Yankees and wish I'd killed some mo'.
For I'm a good old rebel, etc.
I hate the constitooshin, this great republic too; I hate the mouty eagle, an' the uniform so blue; I hate their glorious banner, an' all their flags an' fuss, Those lyin', thievin' Yankees, I hate 'em wuss an' wuss.
For I'm a good old rebel, etc.
I won't be re-constructed! I'm better now than them; And for a carpet-bagger, I don't give a damn; So I'm off for the frontier, soon as I can go, I'll prepare me a weapon and start for Mexico.
For I'm a good old rebel, etc.
All day long on the prairies I ride, Not even a dog to trot by my side; My fire I kindle with chips gathered round, My coffee I boil without being ground.
I wash in a pool and wipe on a sack; I carry my wardrobe all on my back; For want of an oven I cook bread in a pot, And sleep on the ground for want of a cot.
My ceiling is the sky, my floor is the grass, My music is the lowing of the herds as they pass; My books are the brooks, my sermons the stones, My parson is a wolf on his pulpit of bones.
And then if my cooking is not very complete You can't blame me for wanting to eat. But show me a man that sleeps more profound Than the big puncher-boy who stretches himself on the ground.
My books teach me ever consistence to prize, My sermons, that small things I should not despise; My parson remarks from his pulpit of bones That fortune favors those who look out for their own.
And then between me and love lies a gulf very wide. Some lucky fellow may call her his bride. My friends gently hint I am coming to grief, But men must make money and women have beef.
But Cupid is always a friend to the bold, And the best of his arrows are pointed with gold. Society bans me so savage and dodge That the Masons would ball me out of their lodge.
If I had hair on my chin, I might pass for the goat That bore all the sins in the ages remote; But why it is I can never understand, For each of the patriarchs owned a big brand.
Abraham emigrated in search of a range, And when water was scarce he wanted a change; Old Isaac owned cattle in charge of Esau, And Jacob punched cows for his father-in-law.
He started in business way down at bed rock, And made quite a streak at handling stock; Then David went from night-herding to using a sling; And, winning the battle, he became a great king. Then the shepherds, while herding the sheep on a hill, Got a message from heaven of peace and goodwill.
The Cowboy (Mus. Not.)
Music by the "Kid"
All day on the prai-rie in the sad-dle I ride, Not e-ven a dog, boys, to trot by my side. My fire I must kin-dle with chips gathered round, And boil my own cof-fee with-out be-ing ground. I wash in a pool and I wipe on a sack, I car-ry my ward-robe all on my back.
BILL PETERS, THE STAGE DRIVER
Bill Peters was a hustler From Independence town; He warn't a college scholar Nor man of great renown, But Bill had a way o' doing things And doin' 'em up brown.
Bill driv the stage from Independence Up to the Smokey Hill; And everybody knowed him thar As Independence Bill,— Thar warn't no feller on the route That driv with half the skill.
Bill driv four pair of horses, Same as you'd drive a team, And you'd think you was a-travelin' On a railroad driv by steam; And he'd git thar on time, you bet, Or Bill 'u'd bust a seam.
He carried mail and passengers, And he started on the dot, And them teams o' his'n, so they say, Was never known to trot; But they went it in a gallop And kept their axles hot.
When Bill's stage 'u'd bust a tire, Or something 'u'd break down, He'd hustle round and patch her up And start off with a bound; And the wheels o' that old shack o' his Scarce ever touched the ground.
And Bill didn't low no foolin', And when Inguns hove in sight And bullets rattled at the stage, He druv with all his might; He'd holler, "Fellers, give 'em hell, I ain't got time to fight."
Then the way them wheels 'u'd rattle, And the way the dust 'u'd fly, You'd think a million cattle, Had stampeded and gone by; But the mail 'u'd get thar just the same, If the horses had to die.
He driv that stage for many a year Along the Smokey Hill, And a pile o' wild Comanches Did Bill Peters have to kill,— And I reckon if he'd had good luck He'd been a drivin' still.
But he chanced one day to run agin A bullet made o' lead, Which was harder than he bargained for And now poor Bill is dead; And when they brung his body home A barrel of tears was shed.
Come listen a while and I'll sing you a song Concerning the times—it will not be long— When everybody is striving to buy, And cheating each other, I cannot tell why,— And it's hard, hard times.
From father to mother, from sister to brother, From cousin to cousin, they're cheating each other. Since cheating has grown to be so much the fashion, I believe to my soul it will run the whole Nation,— And it's hard, hard times.
Now there is the talker, by talking he eats, And so does the butcher by killing his meats. He'll toss the steelyards, and weigh it right down, And swear it's just right if it lacks forty pounds,— And it's hard, hard times.
And there is the merchant, as honest, we're told. Whatever he sells you, my friend, you are sold; Believe what I tell you, and don't be surprised To find yourself cheated half out of your eyes,— And it's hard, hard times.
And there is the lawyer you plainly will see, He will plead your case for a very large fee, He'll law you and tell you the wrong side is right, And make you believe that a black horse is white,— And it's hard, hard times.
And there is the doctor, I like to forgot, I believe to my soul he's the worst of the lot; He'll tell you he'll cure you for half you possess, And when you're buried he'll take all the rest,— And it's hard, hard times.
And there's the old bachelor, all hated with scorn, He's like an old garment all tattered and torn, The girls and the widows all toss him a sigh, And think it quite right, and so do I,— And it's hard, hard times.
And there's the young widow, coquettish and shy, With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye, But when she gets married she'll cut quite a dash, She'll give him the reins and she'll handle the cash,— And it's hard, hard times.
And there's the young lady I like to have missed, And I believe to my soul she'd like to be kissed; She'll tell you she loves you with all pretence And ask you to call again some time hence,— And it's hard, hard times.
And there's the young man, the worst of the whole. Oh, he will tell you with all of his soul, He'll tell you he loves you and for you will die, And when he's away he will swear it's a lie,— And it's hard, hard times.
Am one of a band of highwaymen, Cole Younger is my name; My crimes and depredations have brought my friends to shame; The robbing of the Northfield Bank, the same I can't deny, For now I am a prisoner, in the Stillwater jail I lie.
'Tis of a bold, high robbery, a story to you I'll tell, Of a California miner who unto us befell; We robbed him of his money and bid him go his way, For which I will be sorry until my dying day.
And then we started homeward, when brother Bob did say: "Now, Cole, we will buy fast horses and on them ride away. We will ride to avenge our father's death and try to win the prize; We will fight those anti-guerrillas until the day we die."
And then we rode towards Texas, that good old Lone Star State, But on Nebraska's prairies the James boys we did meet; With knives, guns, and revolvers we all sat down to play, A-drinking of good whiskey to pass the time away.
A Union Pacific railway train was the next we did surprise, And the crimes done by our bloody hands bring tears into my eyes. The engineerman and fireman killed, the conductor escaped alive, And now their bones lie mouldering beneath Nebraska's skies.
Then we saddled horses, northwestward we did go, To the God-forsaken country called Min-ne-so-te-o; I had my eye on the Northfield bank when brother Bob did say, "Now, Cole, if you undertake the job, you will surely curse the day."
But I stationed out my pickets and up to the bank did go, And there upon the counter I struck my fatal blow. "Just hand us over your money and make no further delay, We are the famous Younger brothers, we spare no time to pray."
Come, all you Mississippi girls, and listen to my noise, If you happen to go West, don't you marry those Texian boys; For if you do, your fortune will be Cold jonny-cake and beefsteak, that's all that you will see,— Cold jonny-cake and beefsteak, that's all that you will see.
When they go courting, here's what they wear: An old leather coat, and it's all ripped and tore; And an old brown hat with the brim tore down, And a pair of dirty socks, they've worn the winter round.
When one comes in, the first thing you hear Is, "Madam, your father has killed a deer"; And the next thing they say when they sit down Is, "Madam, the jonny-cake is too damned brown."
They live in a hut with hewed log wall, But it ain't got any windows at all; With a clap-board roof and a puncheon floor, And that's the way all Texas o'er.
They will take you out on a live-oak hill And there they will leave you much against your will. They will leave you on the prairie, starve you on the plains, For that is the way with the Texians,— For that is the way with the Texians.
When they go to preaching let me tell you how they dress; Just an old black shirt without any vest, Just an old straw hat more brim than crown And an old sock leg that they wear the winter round,— And an old sock leg that they wear the winter round.
For your wedding supper, there'll be beef and cornbread; There it is to eat when the ceremony's said. And when you go to milk you'll milk into a gourd; And set it in the corner and cover it with a board; Some gets little and some gets none, For that is the way with the Texians,— For that is the way with the Texians.