SONGS OF THE CATTLE TRAIL AND COW CAMP
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY NEW YORK . BOSTON . CHICAGO . DALLAS ATLANTA . SAN FRANCISCO
MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED LONDON . BOMBAY . CALCUTTA MELBOURNE
THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD. TORONTO
SONGS OF THE CATTLE TRAIL AND COW CAMP
COLLECTED BY JOHN A. LOMAX, B.A., M.A.
Executive Secretary Ex-Students' Association, the University of Texas.
For three years Sheldon Fellow from Harvard University for the Collection of American Ballads; Ex-President American Folk-Lore Society. Collector of "Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads"; joint author with Dr. H. Y. Benedict of "The Book of Texas."
WITH A FOREWORD BY WILLIAM LYON PHELPS
New York THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 1919
All rights reserved
COPYRIGHT, 1919 BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY Set up and electrotyped. Published November, 1919.
"THAT THESE DEAR FRIENDS I LEAVE BEHIND MAY KEEP KIND HEARTS' REMEMBRANCE OF THE LOVE WE HAD." Solon.
In affectionate gratitude to a group of men, my intimate friends during College days (brought under one roof by a "Fraternity"), whom I still love not less but more,
Will Prather, Hammett Hardy, Penn Hargrove and Harry Steger, of precious and joyous memory;
Norman Crozier, not yet quite emerged from Presbyterianism;
Eugene Barker, cynical, solid, unafraid;
"Cap'en" Duval, a gentleman of Virginia, sah;
Ed Miller, red-headed and royal-hearted;
Bates MacFarland, calm and competent without camouflage;
Jimmie Haven, who has put 'em over every good day since;
Charley Johnson, "the Swede"—the fattest, richest and dearest of the bunch;
Edgar Witt, whose loyal devotion and pertinacious energy built the "Frat" house;
Roy Bedichek, too big for any job he has yet tackled;
"Curley" Duncan, who possesses all the virtues of the old time cattleman and none of the vices of the new;
Rom Rhome, the quiet and canny counter of coin;
Gavin Hunt, student and lover of all things beautiful;
Dick Kimball, the soldier; every inch of him a handsome man;
Alex and Bruce and Dave and George and "Freshman" Mathis and Clarence, the six Freshmen we "took in"; while Ike MacFarland, Alfred Pierce Ward, and Guy and Charlie Witt were still in the process of assimilation,—
To this group of God's good fellows, I dedicate this little book.
No loopholes now are framing Lean faces, grim and brown, No more keen eyes are aiming To bring the redskin down; But every wind careening Seems here to breathe a song— A song of brave careering, A saga of the strong.
In collecting, arranging, editing, and preserving the "Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cow Camp," my friend John Lomax has performed a real service to American literature and to America. No verse is closer to the soil than this; none more realistic in the best sense of that much-abused word; none more truly interprets and expresses a part of our national life. To understand and appreciate these lyrics one should hear Mr. Lomax talk about them and sing them; for they were made for the voice to pronounce and for the ears to hear, rather than for the lamplit silence of the library. They are as oral as the chants of Vachel Lindsay; and when one has the pleasure of listening to Mr. Lomax—who loves these verses and the men who first sang them—one reconstructs in imagination the appropriate figures and romantic setting.
For nothing is so romantic as life itself. None of our illusions about life is so romantic as the truth. Hence the purest realism appeals to the mature imagination more powerfully than any impossible prettiness can do. The more we know of individual and universal life, the more we are excited and stimulated.
And the collection of these poems is an addition to American Scholarship as well as to American Literature. It was a wise policy of the Faculty of Harvard University to grant Mr. Lomax a traveling fellowship, that he might have the necessary leisure to discover and to collect these verses; it is really "original research," as interesting and surely as valuable as much that passes under that name; for it helps every one of us to understand our own country.
WM. LYON PHELPS.
Yale University, July 27, 1919.
"Look down, look down, that weary road, 'Tis the road that the sun goes down."
* * *
"'Twas way out West where the antelope roam, And the coyote howls 'round the cowboy's home, Where the mountains are covered with chaparral frail, And the valleys are checkered with the cattle trail, Where the miner digs for the golden veins, And the cowboy rides o'er the silent plains,—"
The "Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cow Camp" does not purport to be an anthology of Western verse. As its title indicates, the contents of the book are limited to attempts, more or less poetic, in translating scenes connected with the life of a cowboy. The volume is in reality a by-product of my earlier collection, "Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads." In the former book I put together what seemed to me to be the best of the songs created and sung by the cowboys as they went about their work. In making the collection, the cowboys often sang or sent to me songs which I recognized as having already been in print; although the singer usually said that some other cowboy had sung the song to him and that he did not know where it had originated. For example, one night in New Mexico a cowboy sang to me, in typical cowboy music, Larry Chittenden's entire "Cowboys' Christmas Ball"; since that time the poem has often come to me in manuscript form as an original cowboy song. The changes—usually, it must be confessed, resulting in bettering the verse—which have occurred in oral transmission, are most interesting. Of one example, Charles Badger Clark's "High Chin Bob," I have printed, following Mr. Clark's poem, a cowboy version, which I submit to Mr. Clark and his admirers for their consideration.
In making selections for this volume from a large mass of material that came into my ballad hopper while hunting cowboy songs as a Traveling Fellow from Harvard University, I have included the best of the verse given me directly by the cowboys; other selections have come in through repeated recommendation of these men; others are vagrant verses from Western newspapers; and still others have been lifted from collections of Western verse written by such men as Charles Badger Clark, Jr., and Herbert H. Knibbs. To these two authors, as well as others who have permitted me to make use of their work, the grateful thanks of the collector are extended. As will be seen, almost one-half of the selections have no assignable authorship. I am equally grateful to these unknown authors.
All those who found "Cowboy Songs" diverting, it is believed, will make welcome "The Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cow Camp." Many of these have this claim to be called songs: they have been set to music by the cowboys, who, in their isolation and loneliness, have found solace in narrative or descriptive verse devoted to cattle scenes. Herein, again, through these quondam songs we may come to appreciate something of the spirit of the big West—its largeness, its freedom, its wholehearted hospitality, its genuine friendship. Here again, too, we may see the cowboy at work and at play; hear the jingle of his big bell spurs, the swish of his rope, the creaking of his saddle gear, the thud of thousands of hoofs on the long, long trail winding from Texas to Montana; and know something of the life that attracted from the East some of its best young blood to a work that was necessary in the winning of the West. The trails are becoming dust covered or grass grown or lost underneath the farmers' furrow; but in the selections of this volume, many of them poems by courtesy, men of today and those who are to follow, may sense, at least in some small measure, the service, the glamour, the romance of that knight-errant of the plains—the American cowboy.
J. A. L.
The University of Texas, Austin, July 9, 1919.
PART I. COWBOY YARNS
OUT WHERE THE WEST BEGINS THE SHALLOWS OF THE FORD THE DANCE AT SILVER VALLEY THE LEGEND OF BOASTFUL BILL THE TEXAS COWBOY AND THE MEXICAN GREASER BRONCHO VERSUS BICYCLE RIDERS OF THE STARS LASCA THE TRANSFORMATION OF A TEXAS GIRL THE GLORY TRAIL HIGH CHIN BOB TO HEAR HIM TELL IT THE CLOWN'S BABY THE DRUNKEN DESPERADO MARTA OF MILRONE JACK DEMPSEY'S GRAVE THE CATTLE ROUND-UP
PART II. THE COWBOY OFF GUARD
A COWBOY'S WORRYING LOVE THE COWBOY AND THE MAID A COWBOY'S LOVE SONG A BORDER AFFAIR SNAGTOOTH SAL LOVE LYRICS OF A COWBOY THE BULL FIGHT THE COWBOY'S VALENTINE A COWBOY'S HOPELESS LOVE THE CHASE RIDING SONG OUR LITTLE COWGIRL I WANT MY TIME WHO'S THAT CALLING SO SWEET? SONG OF THE CATTLE TRAIL A COWBOY'S SON A COWBOY SONG A NEVADA COWPUNCHER TO HIS BELOVED THE COWBOY TO HIS FRIEND IN NEED WHEN BOB GOT THROWED COWBOY VERSUS BRONCHO WHEN YOU'RE THROWED PARDNERS THE BRONC THAT WOULDN'T BUST THE OL' COW HAWSE THE BUNK-HOUSE ORCHESTRA THE COWBOYS' DANCE SONG THE COWBOYS' CHRISTMAS BALL A DANCE AT THE RANCH AT A COWBOY DANCE THE COWBOYS' BALL
PART III. COWBOY TYPES
THE COWBOY BAR-Z ON A SUNDAY NIGHT A COWBOY RACE THE HABIT A RANGER THE INSULT "THE ROAD TO RUIN" THE OUTLAW THE DESERT WHISKEY BILL,—A FRAGMENT DENVER JIM THE VIGILANTES THE BANDIT'S GRAVE THE OLD MACKENZIE TRAIL THE SHEEP-HERDER A COWBOY AT THE CARNIVAL THE OLD COWMAN THE GILA MONSTER ROUTE THE CALL OF THE PLAINS WHERE THE GRIZZLY DWELLS A COWBOY TOAST RIDIN' UP THE ROCKY TRAIL FROM TOWN THE DISAPPOINTED TENDERFOOT A COWBOY ALONE WITH HIS CONSCIENCE JUST A-RIDIN'! THE END OF THE TRAIL
The centipede runs across my head, The vinegaroon crawls in my bed, Tarantulas jump and scorpions play, The broncs are grazing far away, The rattlesnake gives his warning cry, And the coyotes sing their lullaby, While I sleep soundly beneath the sky.
OUT WHERE THE WEST BEGINS
OUT where the handclasp's a little stronger, Out where the smile dwells a little longer, That's where the West begins; Out where the sun is a little brighter, Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter, Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter, That's where the West begins.
Out where the skies are a trifle bluer, Out where friendship's a little truer, That's where the West begins; Out where a fresher breeze is blowing, Where there's laughter in every streamlet flowing, Where there's more of reaping and less of sowing, That's where the West begins.
Out where the world is in the making, Where fewer hearts in despair are aching, That's where the West begins; Where there's more of singing and less of sighing, Where there's more of giving and less of buying, And a man makes friends without half trying, That's where the West begins. Arthur Chapman.
THE SHALLOWS OF THE FORD
DID you ever wait for daylight when the stars along the river Floated thick and white as snowflakes in the water deep and strange, Till a whisper through the aspens made the current break and shiver As the frosty edge of morning seemed to melt and spread and change?
Once I waited, almost wishing that the dawn would never find me; Saw the sun roll up the ranges like the glory of the Lord; Was about to wake my pardner who was sleeping close behind me, When I saw the man we wanted spur his pony to the ford.
Saw the ripples of the shallows and the muddy streaks that followed, As the pony stumbled toward me in the narrows of the bend; Saw the face I used to welcome, wild and watchful, lined and hollowed; And God knows I wished to warn him, for I once had called him friend.
But an oath had come between us—I was paid by Law and Order; He was outlaw, rustler, killer—so the border whisper ran; Left his word in Caliente that he'd cross the Rio border— Call me coward? But I hailed him—"Riding close to daylight, Dan!"
Just a hair and he'd have got me, but my voice, and not the warning, Caught his hand and held him steady; then he nodded, spoke my name, Reined his pony round and fanned it in the bright and silent morning, Back across the sunlit Rio up the trail on which he came.
He had passed his word to cross it—I had passed my word to get him— We broke even and we knew it; 'twas a case of give and take For old times. I could have killed him from the brush; instead, I let him Ride his trail—I turned—my pardner flung his arm and stretched awake;
Saw me standing in the open; pulled his gun and came beside me; Asked a question with his shoulder as his left hand pointed toward Muddy streaks that thinned and vanished—not a word, but hard he eyed me As the water cleared and sparkled in the shallows of the ford. Henry Herbert Knibbs.
THE DANCE AT SILVER VALLEY
DON'T you hear the big spurs jingle? Don't you feel the red blood tingle? Be it smile or be it frown, Be it dance or be it fight, Broncho Bill has come to town To dance a dance tonight.
Chaps, sombrero, handkerchief, silver spurs at heel; "Hello, Gil!" and "Hello, Pete!" "How do you think you feel?" "Drinks are mine. Come fall in, boys; crowd up on the right. Here's happy days and honey joys. I'm going to dance tonight." (On his hip in leathern tube, a case of dark blue steel.)
Bill, the broncho buster, from the ranch at Beaver Bend, Ninety steers and but one life in his hands to spend; Ready for a fight or spree; ready for a race; Going blind with bridle loose every inch of space.
Down at Johnny Schaeffer's place, see them trooping in, Up above the women laugh; down below is gin. Belle McClure is dressed in blue, ribbon in her hair; Broncho Bill is shaved and slick, all his throat is bare. Round and round with Belle McClure he whirls a dizzy spin.
Jim Kershaw, the gambler, waits,—white his hands and slim. Bill whispers, "Belle, you know it well; it is me or him. Jim Kershaw, so help me God, if you dance with Belle It is either you or me must travel down to hell." Jim put his arm around her waist, her graceful waist and slim.
Don't you hear the banjo laugh? Hear the fiddles scream? Broncho Bill leaned at the door, watched the twirling stream. Twenty fiends were at his heart snarling, "Kill him sure." (Out of hell that woman came.) "I love you, Belle McClure." Broncho Bill, he laughed and chewed and careless he did seem.
The dance is done. Shots crack as one. The crowd shoves for the door. Broncho Bill is lying there and blood upon the floor. "You've finished me; you've gambler's luck; you've won the trick and Belle. Mine the soul that here tonight is passing down to hell. And I must ride the trail alone. Goodbye to Belle McClure."
Downstairs on the billiard cloth, something lying white, Upstairs still the dance goes on, all the lamps are bright. Round and round in merry spin—on the floor a blot; Laugh, and chaff and merry spin—such a little spot. Broncho Bill has come to town and danced his dance tonight.
Don't you hear the fiddle shrieking? Don't you hear the banjo speaking? Don't you hear the big spurs jingle? Don't you feel the red blood tingle? Faces dyed with desert brown, (One that's set and white); Broncho Bill has come to town And danced his dance tonight. William Maxwell.
THE LEGEND OF BOASTFUL BILL
AT a round-up on the Gila One sweet morning long ago, Ten of us was throwed quite freely By a hoss from Idaho. An' we 'lowed he'd go a-beggin' For a man to break his pride Till, a-hitchin' up one leggin', Boastful Bill cut loose an' cried: "I'm a ornery proposition for to hurt, I fulfil my earthly mission with a quirt, I can ride the highest liver 'Twixt the Gulf an' Powder River, An' I'll break this thing as easy as I'd flirt."
So Bill climbed the Northern fury An' they mangled up the air Till a native of Missouri Would have owned the brag was fair. Though the plunges kept him reelin' An' the wind it flapped his shirt, Loud above the hoss's squealin' We could hear our friend assert: "I'm the one to take such rockin's as a joke; Someone hand me up the makin's of a smoke. If you think my fame needs brightnin', Why, I'll rope a streak o' lightnin' An' spur it up an' quirt it till it's broke."
Then one caper of repulsion Broke that hoss's back in two, Cinches snapped in the convulsion, Skyward man and saddle flew, Up they mounted, never flaggin', And we watched them through our tears, While this last, thin bit o' braggin' Came a-floatin' to our ears: "If you ever watched my habits very close, You would know I broke such rabbits by the gross. I have kept my talent hidin', I'm too good for earthly ridin', So I'm off to bust the lightnin'—Adios!"
Years have passed since that ascension; Boastful Bill ain't never lit; So we reckon he's a-wrenchin' Some celestial outlaw's bit. When the night wind flaps our slickers, And the rain is cold and stout, And the lightnin' flares and flickers, We can sometimes hear him shout: "I'm a ridin' son o' thunder o' the sky, I'm a broncho twistin' wonder on the fly. Hey, you earthlin's, shut your winders, We're a-rippin' clouds to flinders. If this blue-eyed darlin' kicks at you, you die."
Star-dust on his chaps and saddle, Scornful still of jar and jolt, He'll come back sometime a-straddle Of a bald-faced thunderbolt; And the thin-skinned generation Of that dim and distant day Sure will stare with admiration When they hear old Boastful say: "I was first, as old raw-hiders all confest, I'm the last of all rough riders, and the best. Huh! you soft and dainty floaters With your aeroplanes and motors, Huh! are you the greatgrandchildren of the West?" From recitation, original, by Charles Badger Clark, Jr.
THE TEXAS COWBOY AND THE MEXICAN GREASER
I THINK we can all remember when a Greaser hadn't no show In Palo Pinto particular,—it ain't very long ago; A powerful feelin' of hatred ag'in the whole Greaser race That murdered bold Crockett and Bowie pervaded all in the place. Why, the boys would draw on a Greaser as quick as they would on a steer; They was shot down without warnin' often, in the memory of many here. One day the bark of pistols was heard ringin' out in the air, And a Greaser, chased by some ranchmen, tore round here into the square. I don't know what he's committed,—'tain't likely anyone knew,— But I wouldn't bet a check on the issue; if you knew the gang, neither would you. Breathless and bleeding, the Greaser fell down by the side of the wall; And a man sprang out before him,—a man both strong and tall,— By his clothes I should say a cowboy,—a stranger in town, I think,— With his pistol he waved back the gang, who was wild with rage and drink. "I warn ye, get back!" he said, "or I'll blow your heads in two! A dozen on one poor creature, and him wounded and bleeding, too!" The gang stood back for a minute; then up spoke Poker Bill: "Young man, yer a stranger, I reckon. We don't wish yer any ill; But come out of the range of the Greaser, or, as sure as I live, you'll croak;" And he drew a bead on the stranger. I'll tell yer it wa'n't no joke. But the stranger moven' no muscle as he looked in the bore of Bill's gun; He hadn't no thought to stir, sir; he hadn't no thought to run; But he spoke out cool and quiet, "I might live for a thousand year And not die at last so nobly as defendin' this Greaser here; For he's wounded, now, and helpless, and hasn't had no fair show; And the first of ye boys that strikes him, I'll lay that first one low." The gang respected the stranger that for another was willing to die; They respected the look of daring they saw in that cold, blue eye. They saw before them a hero that was glad in the right to fall; And he was a Texas cowboy,—never heard of Rome at all. Don't tell me of yer Romans, or yer bridge bein' held by three; True manhood's the same in Texas as it was in Rome, d'ye see? Did the Greaser escape? Why certain. I saw the hull crowd over thar At the ranch of Bill Simmons, the gopher, with their glasses over the bar. From recitation. Anonymous.
BRONCHO VERSUS BICYCLE
THE first that we saw of the high-tone tramp War over thar at our Pecos camp; He war comin' down the Santa Fe trail Astride of a wheel with a crooked tail, A-skinnin' along with a merry song An' a-ringin' a little warnin' gong. He looked so outlandish, strange and queer That all of us grinned from ear to ear, And every boy on the round-up swore He never seed sich a hoss before.
Wal, up he rode with a sunshine smile An' a-smokin' a cigarette, an' I'll Be kicked in the neck if I ever seen Sich a saddle as that on his queer machine. Why, it made us laugh, fer it wasn't half Big enough fer the back of a suckin' calf. He tuk our fun in a keerless way, A-venturin' only once to say Thar wasn't a broncho about the place Could down that wheel in a ten-mile race.
I'd a lightnin' broncho out in the herd That could split the air like a flyin' bird, An' I hinted round in an off-hand way, That, providin' the enterprize would pay, I thought as I might jes' happen to light On a hoss that would leave him out er sight. In less'n a second we seen him yank A roll o' greenbacks out o' his flank, An' he said if we wanted to bet, to name The limit, an' he would tackle the game.
Jes' a week before we had all been down On a jamboree to the nearest town, An' the whiskey joints and the faro games An' a-shakin' our hoofs with the dance hall dames, Made a wholesale bust; an', pard, I'll be cussed If a man in the outfit had any dust. An' so I explained, but the youth replied That he'd lay the money matter aside, An' to show that his back didn't grow no moss He'd bet his machine against my hoss.
I tuk him up, an' the bet war closed, An' me a-chucklin', fer I supposed I war playin' in dead-sure, winnin' luck In the softest snap I had ever struck. An' the boys chipped in with a knowin' grin, Fer they thought the fool had no chance to win. An' so we agreed fer to run that day To the Navajo cross, ten miles away,— As handsome a track as you ever seed Fer testin' a hosses prettiest speed.
Apache Johnson and Texas Ned Saddled up their hosses an' rode ahead To station themselves ten miles away An' act as judges an' see fair play; While Mexican Bart and big Jim Hart Stayed back fer to give us an even start. I got aboard of my broncho bird An' we came to the scratch an' got the word; An' I laughed till my mouth spread from ear to ear To see that tenderfoot drop to the rear.
The first three miles slipped away first-rate; Then bronc began fer to lose his gait. But I warn't oneasy an' didn't mind With tenderfoot more'n a mile behind. So I jogged along with a cowboy song Till all of a sudden I heard that gong A-ringin' a warnin' in my ear— Ting, ting, ting, ting,—too infernal near; An' lookin' backwards I seen that chump Of a tenderfoot gainin' every jump.
I hit old bronc a cut with the quirt An' once more got him to scratchin' dirt; But his wind got weak, an' I tell you, boss, I seen he wasn't no ten-mile hoss. Still, the plucky brute took another shoot An' pulled away from the wheel galoot. But the animal couldn't hold his gait; An' the idea somehow entered my pate That if tenderfoot's legs didn't lose their grip He'd own that hoss at the end of the trip.
Closer an' closer come tenderfoot, An' harder the whip to the hoss I put; But the Eastern cuss, with a smile on his face Ran up to my side with his easy pace— Rode up to my side, an' dern his hide, Remarked 'twere a pleasant day fer a ride; Then axed, onconcerned, if I had a match, An' on his britches give it a scratch, Lit a cigarette, said he wished me good-day, An' as fresh as a daisy scooted away.
Ahead he went, that infernal gong A-ringin' "good-day" as he flew along, An' the smoke from his cigarette came back Like a vaporous snicker along his track. On an' on he sped, gettin' further ahead, His feet keepin' up that onceaseable tread, Till he faded away in the distance, an' when I seed the condemned Eastern rooster again He war thar with the boys at the end of the race, That same keerless, onconsarned smile on his face.
Now, pard, when a cowboy gits licked he don't swar Nor kick, if the beatin' are done on the squar; So I tuck that Easterner right by the hand An' told him that broncho awaited his brand. Then I axed him his name, an' where from he came, An' how long he'd practiced that wheel-rollin' game. Tom Stevens he said war his name, an' he come From a town they call Bosting, in old Yankeedom. Then he jist paralyzed us by sayin' he'd whirled That very identical wheel round the world.
Wal, pard, that's the story of how that smart chap Done me up w'en I thought I had sich a soft snap, Done me up on a race with remarkable ease, An' lowered my pride a good many degrees. Did I give him the hoss? W'y o' course I did, boss, An' I tell you it warn't no diminutive loss. He writ me a letter from back in the East, An' said he presented the neat little beast To a feller named Pope, who stands at the head O' the ranch where the cussed wheel hosses are bred. Anonymous.
RIDERS OF THE STARS
TWENTY abreast down the Golden Street ten thousand riders marched; Bow-legged boys in their swinging chaps, all clumsily keeping time; And the Angel Host to the lone, last ghost their delicate eyebrows arched As the swaggering sons of the open range drew up to the throne sublime.
Gaunt and grizzled, a Texas man from out of the concourse strode, And doffed his hat with a rude, rough grace, then lifted his eagle head; The sunlit air on his silvered hair and the bronze of his visage glowed; "Marster, the boys have a talk to make on the things up here," he said.
A hush ran over the waiting throng as the Cherubim replied: "He that readeth the hearts of men He deemeth your challenge strange, Though He long hath known that ye crave your own, that ye would not walk but ride, Oh, restless sons of the ancient earth, ye men of the open range!"
Then warily spake the Texas man: "A petition and no complaint We here present, if the Law allows and the Marster He thinks it fit; We-all agree to the things that be, but we're longing for things that ain't, So we took a vote and we made a plan and here is the plan we writ:—
"'Give us a range and our horses and ropes, open the Pearly Gate, And turn us loose in the unfenced blue riding the sunset rounds, Hunting each stray in the Milky Way and running the Rancho straight; Not crowding the dogie stars too much on their way to the bedding-grounds.
"'Maverick comets that's running wild, we'll rope 'em and brand 'em fair, So they'll quit stampeding the starry herd and scaring the folks below, And we'll save 'em prime for the round-up time, and we riders'll all be there, Ready and willing to do our work as we did in the long ago.
"'We've studied the Ancient Landmarks, Sir; Taurus, the Bear, and Mars, And Venus a-smiling across the west as bright as a burning coal, Plain to guide as we punchers ride night-herding the little stars, With Saturn's rings for our home corral and the Dipper our water hole.
"'Here, we have nothing to do but yarn of the days that have long gone by, And our singing it doesn't fit in up here though we tried it for old time's sake; Our hands are itching to swing a rope and our legs are stiff; that's why We ask you, Marster, to turn us loose—just give us an even break!'"
Then the Lord He spake to the Cherubim, and this was His kindly word: "He that keepeth the threefold keys shall open and let them go; Turn these men to their work again to ride with the starry herd; My glory sings in the toil they crave; 'tis their right. I would have it so."
Have you heard in the starlit dusk of eve when the lone coyotes roam, The Yip! Yip! Yip! of a hunting cry and the echo that shrilled afar, As you listened still on a desert hill and gazed at the twinkling dome, And a viewless rider swept the sky on the trail of a shooting star? Henry Herbert Knibbs.
I WANT free life, and I want fresh air; And I sigh for the canter after the cattle, The crack of the whips like shots in battle, The medley of hoofs and horns and heads That wars and wrangles and scatters and spreads; The green beneath and the blue above, And dash and danger, and life and love— And Lasca!
Lasca used to ride On a mouse-grey mustang close to my side, With blue serape and bright-belled spur; I laughed with joy as I looked at her! Little knew she of books or creeds; An Ave Maria sufficed her needs; Little she cared save to be at my side, To ride with me, and ever to ride, From San Saba's shore to Lavaca's tide. She was as bold as the billows that beat, She was as wild as the breezes that blow: From her little head to her little feet, She was swayed in her suppleness to and fro By each gust of passion; a sapling pine That grows on the edge of a Kansas bluff And wars with the wind when the weather is rough, Is like this Lasca, this love of mine. She would hunger that I might eat, Would take the bitter and leave me the sweet; But once, when I made her jealous for fun At something I whispered or looked or done, One Sunday, in San Antonio, To a glorious girl in the Alamo, She drew from her garter a little dagger, And—sting of a wasp—it made me stagger! An inch to the left, or an inch to the right, And I shouldn't be maundering here tonight; But she sobbed, and sobbing, so quickly bound Her torn rebosa about the wound That I swiftly forgave her. Scratches don't count In Texas, down by the Rio Grande.
Her eye was brown—a deep, deep brown; Her hair was darker than her eye; And something in her smile and frown, Curled crimson lip and instep high, Showed that there ran in each blue vein, Mixed with the milder Aztec strain, The vigorous vintage of Old Spain. She was alive in every limb With feeling, to the finger tips; And when the sun is like a fire, And sky one shining, soft sapphire One does not drink in little sips.
. . . . . . .
The air was heavy, the night was hot, I sat by her side and forgot, forgot; Forgot the herd that were taking their rest, Forgot that the air was close oppressed, That the Texas norther comes sudden and soon, In the dead of the night or the blaze of the noon; That, once let the herd at its breath take fright, Nothing on earth can stop their flight; And woe to the rider, and woe to the steed, That falls in front of their mad stampede!
. . . . . . .
Was that thunder? I grasped the cord Of my swift mustang without a word. I sprang to the saddle, and she clung behind. Away! on a hot chase down the wind! But never was fox-hunt half so hard, And never was steed so little spared. For we rode for our lives. You shall hear how we fared In Texas, down by the Rio Grande.
The mustang flew, and we urged him on; There was one chance left, and you have but one— Halt, jump to the ground, and shoot your horse; Crouch under his carcass, and take your chance; And if the steers in their frantic course Don't batter you both to pieces at once, You may thank your star; if not, goodbye To the quickening kiss and the long-drawn sigh, And the open air and the open sky, In Texas, down by the Rio Grande.
The cattle gained on us, and, just as I felt For my old six-shooter behind in my belt, Down came the mustang, and down came we, Clinging together—and, what was the rest? A body that spread itself on my breast, Two arms that shielded my dizzy head, Two lips that hard to my lips were prest; Then came thunder in my ears, As over us surged the sea of steers, Blows that beat blood into my eyes, And when I could rise— Lasca was dead!
. . . . . . .
I gouged out a grave a few feet deep, And there in the Earth's arms I laid her to sleep; And there she is lying, and no one knows; And the summer shines, and the winter snows; For many a day the flowers have spread A pall of petals over her head; And the little grey hawk hangs aloft in the air, And the sly coyote trots here and there, And the black snake glides and glitters and slides Into the rift of a cottonwood tree; And the buzzard sails on, And comes and is gone, Stately and still, like a ship at sea. And I wonder why I do not care For the things that are, like the things that were. Does half my heart lie buried there In Texas, down by the Rio Grande? Frank Desprez.
THE TRANSFORMATION OF A TEXAS GIRL
SHE was a Texas maiden, she came of low degree, Her clothes were worn and faded, her feet from shoes were free; Her face was tanned and freckled, her hair was sun-burned, too, Her whole darned tout ensemble was painful for to view! She drove a lop-eared mule team attached unto a plow, The trickling perspiration exuding from her brow; And often she lamented her cruel, cruel fate, As but a po' white's daughter down in the Lone Star State.
No courtiers came to woo her, she never had a beau, Her misfit face precluded such things as that, you know,— She was nobody's darling, no feller's solid girl, And poets never called her an uncut Texas pearl. Her only two companions was those two flea-bit mules, And these she but regarded as animated tools To plod along the furrows in patience up and down And pull the ancient wagon when pap'd go to town.
No fires of wild ambition were flaming in her soul, Her eyes with tender passion she'd never upward roll; The wondrous world she'd heard of, to her was but a dream As walked she in the furrows behind that lop-eared team. Born on that small plantation, 'twas there she thought she'd die; She never longed for pinions that she might rise and fly To other lands far distant, where breezes fresh and cool Would never shake and tremble from brayings of a mule.
. . . . . . .
But yesterday we saw her dressed up in gorgeous style! A half a dozen fellows were basking in her smile! She'd jewels on her fingers, and jewels in her ears— Great sparkling, flashing brilliants that hung as frozen tears! The feet once nude and soil-stained were clad in Frenchy boots, The once tanned face bore tintings of miscellaneous fruits; The voice that once admonished the mules to move along Was tuned to new-born music, as sweet as Siren's song!
Her tall and lanky father, one knows as "Sleepy Jim," Is now addressed as Colonel by men who honor him; And youths in finest raiment now take him by the paw, Each in the hope that some day he'll call him dad-in-law. Their days of toil are over, their sun has risen at last, A gold-embroidered curtain now hides their rocky past; For was it not discovered their little patch of soil Had rested there for ages above a flow of oil? James Barton Adams.
THE GLORY TRAIL
'WAY high up the Mogollons, Among the mountain tops, A lion cleaned a yearlin's bones And licked his thankful chops, When on the picture who should ride, A-trippin' down the slope, But High-Chin Bob, with sinful pride And mav'rick-hungry rope.
"Oh, glory be to me," says he, "And fame's unfadin' flowers! All meddlin' hands are far away; I ride my good top-hawse today And I'm top-rope of the Lazy J— Hi! kitty cat, you're ours!"
That lion licked his paw so brown And dreamed soft dreams of veal— And then the circlin' loop sung down And roped him 'round his meal. He yowled quick fury to the world Till all the hills yelled back; The top-hawse gave a snort and whirled And Bob caught up the slack.
"Oh, glory be to me," laughs he. "We hit the glory trail. No human man as I have read Darst loop a ragin' lion's head, Nor ever hawse could drag one dead Until we told the tale."
'Way high up the Mogollons That top-hawse done his best, Through whippin' brush and rattlin' stones, From canyon-floor to crest But ever when Bob turned and hoped A limp remains to find, A red-eyed lion, belly roped But healthy, loped behind.
"Oh, glory be to me," grunts he, "This glory trail is rough, Yet even till the Judgment Morn I'll keep this dally 'round the horn, For never any hero born Could stoop to holler: 'nuff!'"
Three suns had rode their circle home Beyond the desert's rim, And turned their star herds loose to roam The ranges high and dim; Yet up and down and round and 'cross Bob pounded, weak and wan, For pride still glued him to his hawse And glory drove him on.
"Oh, glory be to me," sighs he. "He kaint be drug to death, But now I know beyond a doubt Them heroes I have read about Was only fools that stuck it out To end of mortal breath."
'Way high up the Mogollons A prospect man did swear That moon dreams melted down his bones And hoisted up his hair: A ribby cow-hawse thundered by, A lion trailed along, A rider, ga'nt, but chin on high, Yelled out a crazy song.
"Oh, glory be to me!" cries he, "And to my noble noose! O stranger, tell my pards below I took a rampin' dream in tow, And if I never lay him low, I'll never turn him loose!" Charles Badger Clark.
 Pronounced by the natives "muggy-yones."
HIGH CHIN BOB
'WAY high up in the Mokiones, among the mountain tops, A lion cleaned a yearling's bones and licks his thankful chops; And who upon the scene should ride, a-trippin' down the slope, But High Chin Bob of sinful pride and maverick-hungry rope. "Oh, glory be to me!" says he, "an' fame's unfadin' flowers; I ride my good top hoss today and I'm top hand of Lazy-J, So, kitty-cat, you're ours!"
The lion licked his paws so brown, and dreamed soft dreams of veal, As High Chin's rope came circlin' down and roped him round his meal; She yowled quick fury to the world and all the hills yelled back; That top horse gave a snort and whirled and Bob took up the slack. "Oh, glory be to me!" says he, "we'll hit the glory trail. No man has looped a lion's head and lived to drag the critter dead Till I shall tell the tale."
'Way high up in the Mokiones that top hoss done his best, 'Mid whippin' brush and rattlin' stones from canon-floor to crest; Up and down and round and cross Bob pounded weak and wan, But pride still glued him to his hoss and glory spurred him on. "Oh, glory be to me!" says he, "this glory trail is rough! But I'll keep this dally round the horn until the toot of judgment morn Before I'll holler 'nough!"
Three suns had rode their circle home, beyond the desert rim, And turned their star herds loose to roam the ranges high and dim; And whenever Bob turned and hoped the limp remains to find, A red-eyed lion, belly roped, but healthy, loped behind! "Oh, glory be to me," says Bob, "he caint be drug to death! These heroes that I've read about were only fools that stuck it out To the end of mortal breath."
'Way high up in the Mokiones, if you ever camp there at night, You'll hear a rukus among the stones that'll lift your hair with fright; You'll see a cow-hoss thunder by—a lion trail along, And the rider bold, with his chin on high, sings forth his glory song: "Oh, glory be to me!" says he, "and to my mighty noose. Oh, pardner, tell my friends below I took a ragin' dream in tow, And if I didn't lay him low, I never turned him loose!" From oral rendition.
TO HEAR HIM TELL IT
I WAS just about to take a drink— I was mighty dry— So I hailed an old time cowman Who was passing by, "Come in, Ole Timer! have a drink! Kinda warm today!" As we leaned across the bar-rail— "How's things up your way?"
"Stock is doin' fairly good, Range is gettin' fine; I jes dropped down to meetin' here To spend a little time. Con'sidable stuff a-movin' now— Cows an' hosses, too, Prices high an' a big demand— Now I'm tellin' you!
"I've loaded out my feeders, Got a good price all aroun'; Sold 'em in Kansas City To a commission man named Brown. A thousand told o' mixed stuff, In pretty fair shape, too," Said the old Texas cowman, "Now I'm tellin' you!
"I've been in this yere country Since late in fifty-nine, I know every foot o' sage brush Clear to the southern line. Got my first bunch started up Long in seventy-two, Had to ride range with a long rope— Now I'm tellin' you!
"Lordy, I kin remember Them good ole early days When we ust t' trail the herds north 'N forty different ways. Jes'n point 'em from the beddin' groun' An' let 'em drift right through," Said the reminiscent cowman, "Now I'm tellin' you!
"Yessir, trailed 'em up to Wichita, Cross the Kansas line, Made deliveries at Benton As early as fifty-nine. Turned 'em most to soldiers, Some went to Injuns, too, Beef wasn't nigh so high then— Now I'm tellin' you!
"Son, I've fit nigh every Injun That ever roamed the plains, 'N I was one o' the best hands That ever pulled bridle reins. Why, you boys don't know range life— You don't seem to git the ways, Like we did down in Texas In them good ol' early days!
"Yes, thing's a heap sight diff'rent now! 'Tain't like in them ol' days When cowmen trailed their herds north 'N forty diff'rent ways. We ship 'em on the railroad now, Load out on the big S. P.," Says the relic of Texas cowman As he takes a drink with me.
"I figger on buyin' more feeders, From down across the line— Chihuahua an' Sonora stuff, An' hold 'em till they're prime. So here's to the steers an' yearlin's!" As we clink our glasses two, "Things ain't the same as they used to be, Now I'm tellin' you!
"I got t' git out an' hustle, I ain't got time t' stay; Jes' want t' see some uh the boys 'N then I'm on my way. There's many a hand here right now That I know'd long, long ago, When ranch land was free an' open An' the plowman had a show.
"'Tain't often we git together To swap yarns an' tell our lies," Said the old time Texas cowman As a mist comes to his eyes. "So let's drink up; here's how!" As we drain our glasses two, "Them was good ol' days an' good ol' ways— Now I'm tellin' you!"
He talked and talked and yarned away, He harped on days of yore— My head it ached and I grew faint; My legs got tired and sore. Then a woman yelled, "You come here, John!" And Lordy! how he flew! And the last I heard as he broke and ran Was, "Now I'm tellin' you!"
I won't never hail old timers To have a drink with me, To learn the history of the range As far back as seventy-three. And the next time that I'm thirsty And feeling kind of blue, I'll step right up and drink alone— Now I'm tellin' you! From the Wild Bunch.
THE CLOWN'S BABY
IT was on the western frontier,— The miners, rugged and brown, Were gathered round the posters, The circus had come to town! The great tent shone in the darkness Like a wonderful palace of light, And rough men crowded the entrance,— Shows didn't come every night!
Not a woman's face among them; Many a face that was bad, And some that were only vacant, And some that were very sad. And behind a canvas curtain, In a corner of the place, The clown, with chalk and vermillion, Was "making up" his face.
A weary looking woman With a smile that still was sweet, Sewed on a little garment, With a cradle at her feet. Pantaloon stood ready and waiting, It was time for the going on; But the clown in vain searched wildly,— The "property baby" was gone!
He murmured, impatiently hunting, "It's strange that I cannot find— There, I've looked in every corner; It must have been left behind!" The miners were stamping and shouting, They were not patient men; The clown bent over the cradle,— "I must take you, little Ben."
The mother started and shivered, But trouble and want were near; She lifted the baby gently, "You'll be very careful, dear?" "Careful? You foolish darling!" How tenderly it was said! What a smile shone through the chalk and paint! "I love each hair of his head!"
The noise rose into an uproar, Misrule for the time was king; The clown with a foolish chuckle Bolted into the ring. But as, with a squeak and flourish, The fiddles closed their tune "You'll hold him as if he were made of glass?" Said the clown to the pantaloon.
The jovial fellow nodded, "I've a couple myself," he said. "I know how to handle 'em, bless you! Old fellow, go ahead!" The fun grew fast and furious, And not one of all the crowd Had guessed that the baby was alive, When he suddenly laughed aloud.
Oh, that baby laugh! It was echoed From the benches with a ring, And the roughest customer there sprang up With, "Boys, it's the real thing." The ring was jammed in a minute, Not a man that did not strive For a "shot at holding the baby,"— The baby that was alive!
He was thronged with kneeling suitors In the midst of the dusty ring, And he held his court right royally,— The fair little baby king,— Till one of the shouting courtiers,— A man with a bold, hard face, The talk, for miles, of the country, And the terror of the place,
Raised the little king to his shoulder And chuckled, "Look at that!" As the chubby fingers clutched his hair; Then, "Boys, hand round the hat!" There never was such a hatful Of silver and gold and notes; People are not always penniless Because they don't wear coats.
And then, "Three cheers for the baby!" I tell you those cheers were meant, And the way that they were given Was enough to raise the tent. And then there was sudden silence And a gruff old miner said, "Come boys, enough of this rumpus; It's time it was put to bed."
So, looking a little sheepish, But with faces strangely bright, The audience, somewhat lingering, Flocked out into the night. And the bold-faced leader chuckled, "He wasn't a bit afraid! He's as game as he's good-looking! Boys, that was a show that paid!" Margaret Vandergrift.
THE DRUNKEN DESPERADO
I'M wild and woolly and full of fleas, I'm hard to curry below the knees, I'm a she-wolf from Shamon Creek, For I was dropped from a lightning streak And it's my night to hollow—Whoo-pee!
I stayed in Texas till they runned me out, Then in Bull Frog they chased me about, I walked a little and rode some more, For I've shot up a town before And it's my night to hollow—Whoo-pee!
Give me room and turn me loose I'm peaceable without excuse. I never killed for profit or fun, But riled, I'm a regular son of a gun And it's my night to hollow—Whoo-pee!
Good-eye Jim will serve the crowd; The rule goes here no sweetnin' 'lowed. And we'll drink now the Nixon kid, For I rode to town and lifted the lid And it's my night to hollow—Whoo-pee!
You can guess how quick a man must be, For I killed eleven and wounded three; And brothers and daddies aren't makin' a sound Though they know where the kid is found And it's my night to hollow—Whoo-pee!
When I get old and my aim aint true And it's three to one and wounded, too, I won't beg and claw the ground; For I'll be dead before I'm found When it's my night to hollow—Whoo-pee! Baird Boyd.
MARTA OF MILRONE
I SHOT him where the Rio flows; I shot him when the moon arose; And where he lies the vulture knows Along the Tinto River.
In schools of eastern culture pale My cloistered flesh began to fail; They bore me where the deserts quail To winds from out the sun.
I looked upon the land and sky, Nor hoped to live nor feared to die; And from my hollow breast a sigh Fell o'er the burning waste.
But strong I grew and tall I grew; I drank the region's balm and dew,— It made me lithe in limb and thew,— How swift I rode and ran!
And oft it was my joy to ride Over the sand-blown ocean wide While, ever smiling at my side, Rode Marta of Milrone.
A flood of horned heads before, The trampled thunder, smoke and roar, Of full four thousand hoofs, or more— A cloud, a sea, a storm!
Oh, wonderful the desert gleamed, As, man and maid, we spoke and dreamed Of love in life, till white wastes seemed Like plains of paradise.
Her eyes with Love's great magic shone. "Be mine, O Marta of Milrone,— Your hand, your heart be all my own!" Her lips made sweet response.
"I love you, yes; for you are he Who from the East should come to me— And I have waited long!" Oh, we Were happy as the sun.
There came upon a hopeless quest, With hell and hatred in his breast, A stranger, who his love confessed To Marta long in vain.
To me she spoke: "Chosen mate, His eyes are terrible with fate,— I fear his love, I fear his hate,— I fear some looming ill!"
Then to the church we twain did ride, I kissed her as she rode beside. How fair—how passing fair my bride With gold combs in her hair!
Before the Spanish priest we stood Of San Gregorio's brotherhood— A shot rang out!—and in her blood My dark-eyed darling lay.
O God! I carried her beside The Virgin's altar where she cried,— Smiling upon me ere she died,— "Adieu, my love, adieu!"
I knelt before St. Mary's shrine And held my dead one's hand in mine, "Vengeance," I cried, "O Lord, be thine, But I thy minister!"
I kissed her thrice and sealed my vow,— Her eyes, her sea-cold lips and brow,— "Farewell, my heart is dying now, O Marta of Milrone!"
Then swift upon my steed I lept; My streaming eyes the desert swept; I saw the accursed where he crept Against the blood-red sun.
I galloped straight upon his track, And never more my eyes looked back; The world was barred with red and black; My heart was flaming coal.
Through the delirious twilight dim And the black night I followed him; Hills did we cross and rivers swim,— My fleet foot horse and I.
The morn burst red, a gory wound, O'er iron hills and savage ground; And there was never another sound Save beat of horses' hoofs.
Unto the murderer's ear they said, "Thou'rt of the dead! Thou'rt of the dead!" Still on his stallion black he sped While death spurred on behind.
Fiery dust from the blasted plain Burnt like lava in every vein; But I rode on with steady rein Though the fierce sand-devils spun.
Then to a sullen land we came, Whose earth was brass, whose sky was flame; I made it balm with her blessed name In the land of Mexico.
With gasp and groan my poor horse fell,— Last of all things that loved me well! I turned my head—a smoking shell Veiled me his dying throes.
But fast on vengeful foot was I; His steed fell, too, and was left to die; He fled where a river's channel dry Made way to the rolling stream.
Red as my rage the huge sun sank. My foe bent low on the river's bank And deep of the kindly flood he drank While the giant stars broke forth.
Then face to face and man to man I fought him where the river ran, While the trembling palm held up its fan And the emerald serpents lay.
The mad, remorseless bullets broke From tongues of flame in the sulphur smoke; The air was rent till the desert spoke To the echoing hills afar.
Hot from his lips the curses burst; He fell! The sands were slaked of thirst; A stream in the stream ran dark at first, And the stones grew red as hearts.
I shot him where the Rio flows; I shot him when the moon arose; And where he lies the vulture knows Along the Tinto River.
But where she lies to none is known Save to my poor heart and a lonely stone On which I sit and weep alone Where the cactus stars are white.
Where I shall lie, no man can say; The flowers all are fallen away; The desert is so drear and grey, O Marta of Milrone! Herman Scheffauer.
JACK DEMPSEY'S GRAVE
FAR out in the wilds of Oregon, On a lonely mountain side, Where Columbia's mighty waters Roll down to the Ocean's tide; Where the giant fir and cedar Are imaged in the wave, O'ergrown with ferns and lichens, I found poor Dempsey's grave.
I found no marble monolith, No broken shaft nor stone, Recording sixty victories This vanquished victor won; No rose, no shamrock could I find, No mortal here to tell Where sleeps in this forsaken spot The immortal Nonpareil.
A winding, wooded canyon road That mortals seldom tread Leads up this lonely mountain To this desert of the dead. And the western sun was sinking In Pacific's golden wave; And these solemn pines kept watching Over poor Jack Dempsey's grave.
That man of honor and of iron, That man of heart and steel, That man who far out-classed his class And made mankind to feel That Dempsey's name and Dempsey's fame Should live in serried stone, Is now at rest far in the West In the wilds of Oregon.
Forgotten by ten thousand throats That thundered his acclaim— Forgotten by his friends and foes That cheered his very name; Oblivion wraps his faded form, But ages hence shall save The memory of that Irish lad That fills poor Dempsey's grave.
O Fame, why sleeps thy favored son In wilds, in woods, in weeds? And shall he ever thus sleep on— Interred his valiant deeds? 'Tis strange New York should thus forget Its "bravest of the brave," And in the wilds of Oregon Unmarked, leave Dempsey's grave. MacMahon.
THE CATTLE ROUND-UP
ONCE more are we met for a season of pleasure, That shall smooth from our brows every furrow of care, For the sake of old times shall we each tread a measure And drink to the lees in the eyes of the fair. Once more let the hand-clasp of years past be given; Let us once more be boys and forget we are men; Let friendships the chances of fortune have riven Be renewed and the smiling past come back again. The past, when the prairie was big and the cattle Were as "scary" as ever the antelope grew— When to carry a gun, to make our spurs rattle, And to ride a blue streak was the most that we knew; The past when we headed each year for Dodge City And punched up the drags on the old Chisholm Trail; When the world was all bright and the girls were all pretty, And a feller could "mav'rick" and stay out of jail.
Then here's to the eyes that like diamonds are gleaming, And make the lamps blush that their duties are o'er; And here's to the lips where young love lies a-dreaming; And here's to the feet light as air on the floor; And here's to the memories—fun's sweetest sequel; And here's to the night we shall ever recall; And here's to the time—time shall know not its equal When we danced the day in at the Cattlemen's Ball. H. D. C. McLaclachlan.
THE COWBOY OFF GUARD
I am the plain, barren since time began. Yet do I dream of motherhood, when man One day at last shall look upon my charms And give me towns, like children, for my arms.
A COWBOY'S WORRYING LOVE
I UST to read in the novel books 'bout fellers that got the prod From an arrer shot from his hidin' place by the hand o' the Cupid god, An' I'd laugh at the cussed chumps they was a-wastin' their breath in sighs An' goin' around with a locoed look a-campin' inside their eyes. I've read o' the gals that broke 'em up a-sailin' in airy flight On angel pinions above their beds as they dreampt o' the same at night, An' a sort o' disgusted frown'd bunch the wrinkles acrost my brow, An' I'd call 'em a lot o' sissy boys—but I'm seein' it different now.
I got the jab in my rough ol' heart, an' I got it a-plenty, too, A center shot from a pair o' eyes of the winninest sort o' blue, An' I ride the ranges a-sighin' sighs, as cranky as a locoed steer— A durned heap worse than the novel blokes that the narrative gals'd queer. Just hain't no energy left no mo', go 'round like a orphant calf A-thinkin' about that sagehen's eyes that give me the Cupid gaff, An' I'm all skeered up when I hit the thought some other rider might Cut in ahead on a faster hoss an' rope her afore my sight.
There ain't a heifer that ever run in the feminine beauty herd Could switch a tail on the whole durned range 'long-side o' that little bird; A figger plump as a prairy dog's that's feedin' on new spring grass, An' as purty a face as was ever flashed in front of a lookin' glass. She's got a smile that 'd raise the steam in the icyist sort o' heart, A couple o' soul inspirin' eyes, an' the nose that keeps 'em apart Is the cutest thing in the sassy line that ever occurred to act As a ornament stuck on a purty face, an' that's a dead open fact.
I'm a-goin' to brace her by an' by to see if there's any hope, To see if she's liable to shy when I'm ready to pitch the rope; To see if she's goin' to make a stand, or fly like a skeered up dove When I make a pass with the brandin' iron that's het in the fire o' love. I'll open the little home corral an' give her the level hunch To make a run fur the open gate when I cut her out o' the bunch, Fur there ain't no sense in a-jammin' round with a heart that's as soft as dough An' a-throwin' the breath o' life away bunched up into sighs. Heigh-ho! James Barton Adams.
THE COWBOY AND THE MAID
FUNNY how it come about! Me and Texas Tom was out Takin' of a moonlight walk, Fillin' in the time with talk. Every star up in the sky Seemed to wink the other eye At each other, 'sif they Smelt a mouse around our way!
Me and Tom had never grew Spoony like some couples do; Never billed and cooed and sighed; He was bashful like and I'd Notions of my own that it Wasn't policy to git Too abundant till I'd got Of my feller good and caught.
As we walked along that night He got talkin' of the bright Prospects that he had, and I Somehow felt, I dunno why, That a-fore we cake-walked back To the ranch he'd make a crack Fer my hand, and I was plum Achin' fer the shock to come.
By and by he says, "I've got Fifty head o' cows, and not One of 'em but, on the dead, Is a crackin' thoroughbred. Got a daisy claim staked out, And I'm thinkin' it's about Time fer me to make a shy At a home." "O Tom!" says I.
"Bin a-lookin' round," says he, "Quite a little while to see 'F I could git a purty face Fer to ornament the place. Plenty of 'em in the land; But the one 'at wears my brand Must be sproutin' wings to fly!" "You deserve her, Tom," says I.
"Only one so fur," says he, "Fills the bill, and mebbe she Might shy off and bust my hope If I should pitch the poppin' rope. Mebbe she'd git hot an' say That it was a silly play Askin' her to make a tie." "She would be a fool," says I.
'Tain't nobody's business what Happened then, but I jist thought I could see the moon-man smile Cutely down upon us, while Me and him was walkin' back,— Stoppin' now and then to smack Lips rejoicin' that at last The dread crisis had been past. Anonymous.
A COWBOY'S LOVE SONG
OH, the last steer has been branded And the last beef has been shipped, And I'm free to roam the prairies That the round-up crew has stripped; I'm free to think of Susie,— Fairer than the stars above,— She's the waitress at the station And she is my turtle dove.
Biscuit-shootin' Susie,— She's got us roped and tied; Sober men or woozy Look on her with pride. Susie's strong and able, And not a one gits rash When she waits on the table And superintends the hash.
Oh, I sometimes think I'm locoed An' jes fit fer herdin' sheep, 'Cause I only think of Susie When I'm wakin' or I'm sleep. I'm wearin' Cupid's hobbles, An' I'm tied to Love's stake-pin, And when my heart was branded The irons sunk deep in.
I take my saddle, Sundays,— The one with inlaid flaps,— And don my new sombrero And my white angora chaps; Then I take a bronc for Susie And she leaves her pots and pans And we figure out our future And talk o'er our homestead plans.
A BORDER AFFAIR
SPANISH is the lovin' tongue, Soft as music, light as spray; 'Twas a girl I learnt it from Livin' down Sonora way. I don't look much like a lover, Yet I say her love-words over Often, when I'm all alone— "Mi amor, mi corazon."
Nights when she knew where I'd ride She would listen for my spurs, Throw the big door open wide, Raise them laughin' eyes of hers, And my heart would nigh stop beatin' When I'd hear her tender greetin' Whispered soft for me alone— "Mi amor! mi corazon!"
Moonlight in the patio, Old Senora noddin' near, Me and Juana talkin' low So the "madre" couldn't hear— How those hours would go a-flyin', And too soon I'd hear her sighin', In her little sorry-tone— "Adios, mi corazon."
But one time I had to fly For a foolish gamblin' fight, And we said a swift good-bye On that black, unlucky night. When I'd loosed her arms from clingin', With her words the hoofs kept ringin', As I galloped north alone— "Adios, mi corazon."
Never seen her since that night; I kaint cross the Line, you know. She was Mex. and I was white; Like as not it's better so. Yet I've always sort of missed her Since that last, wild night I kissed her, Left her heart and lost my own— "Adios, mi corazon." Charles B. Clark, Jr.
I WAS young and happy and my heart was light and gay, Singin', always singin' through the sunny summer day; Happy as a lizard in the wavin' chaparral, Walkin' down through Laramie with Snagtooth Sal.
Sal, Sal, My heart is broke today— Broke in two forever when they laid you in the clay; I would give creation to be walkin' with my gal— Walkin' down through Laramie with Snagtooth Sal.
Bury me tomorrow where the lily blossoms spring Underneath the willows where the little robins sing. You will yearn to see me—but ah, nevermore you shall— Walkin' down through Laramie with Snagtooth Sal.
Plant a little stone above the little mound of sod; Write: "Here lies a lovin' an' a busted heart, begod! Nevermore you'll see him walkin' proudly with his gal— Walkin' down through Laramie with Snagtooth Sal."
Sal, Sal, My heart is broke today— Broke in two forever when they laid you in the clay; I would give creation to be walkin' with my gal— Walkin' down through Laramie with Snagtooth Sal. Lowell O. Reese, In the Saturday Evening Post.
LOVE LYRICS OF A COWBOY
IT hain't no use fer me to say There's others with a style an' way That beats hers to a fare-you-well, Fer, on the square, I'm here to tell I jes can't even start to see But what she's perfect as kin be. Fer any fault I finds excuse— I'll tell you, pard, it hain't no use Fer me to try to raise a hand, When on my heart she's run her brand.
The bunk-house ain't the same to me; The bunch jes makes me weary—Gee! I never knew they was so coarse— I warps my face to try to force A smile at each old gag they spring; Fer I'd heap ruther hear her sing "Sweet Adeline," or softly play The "Dream o' Heaven" that-a-way. Besides this place, most anywhere I'd ruther be—so she was there.
She called me "dear," an' do you know, My heart jes skipped a beat, an' tho' I'm hard to feaze, I'm free to yip My reason nearly lost its grip. She called me "dear," jes sweet an' slow, An' lookin' down an' speakin' low; An' if I had ten lives to live, With everything the world could give, I'd shake 'em all without one fear If 'fore I'd go she'd call me "dear."
You wonders why I slicks up so On Sundays, when I gits to go To see her—well, I'm free to say She's like religion that-a-way. Jes sort o' like some holy thing, As clean as young grass in the spring; An' so before I rides to her I looks my best from hat to spur— But even then I hain't no right To think I look good in her sight.
If she should pass me up—say, boy, You jes put hobbles on your joy; First thing you know, you gits so gay Your luck stampedes and gits away. An' don't you even start a guess That you've a cinch on happiness; Fer few e'er reach the Promised Land If they starts headed by a band. Ride slow an' quiet, humble, too, Or Fate will slap its brand on you.
The old range sleeps, there hain't a stir. Less it's a night-hawk's sudden whir, Or cottonwoods a-whisperin while The red moon smiles a lovin' smile. An' there I set an' hold her hand So glad I jes can't understand The reason of it all, or see Why all the world looks good to me; Or why I sees in it heap more Of beauty than I seen before.
Fool talk, perhaps, but it jes seems We're ridin' through a range o' dreams; Where medder larks the year round sing, An' it's jes one eternal spring. An' time—why time is gone—by gee! There's no such thing as time to me Until she says, "Here, boy, you know You simply jes have got to go; It's nearly twelve." I rides away, "Dog-gone a clock!" is what I say. R. V. Carr.
THE BULL FIGHT
THE couriers from Chihuahua go To distant Cusi and Santavo, Announce the feast of all the year the crown— Se corren los toros! And Juan brings his Pepita into town.
The rancherias on the mountain side, The haciendas of the Llano wide, Are quickened by the matador's renown. Se corren los toros! And Juan brings his Pepita into town.
The women that on ambling burros ride, The men that trudge behind or close beside Make groups of dazzling red and white and brown. Se corren los toros! And Juan brings his Pepita into town.
Or else the lumbering carts are brought in play, That jolt and scream and groan along the way, But to their happy tenants cause no frown. Se corren los toros! And Juan brings his Pepita into town.
The Plaza De Los Toros offers seats, Some deep in shade, on some the fierce sun beats; These for the don, those for the rustic clown. Se corren los toros! And Juan brings his Pepita into town.
Pepita sits, so young and sweet and fresh, The sun shines on her hair's dusky mesh. Her day of days, how soon it will be flown! Se corren los toros! And Juan's brought his Pepita into town.
The bull is harried till the governor's word Bids the Diestro give the agile sword; Then shower the bravos and the roses down! 'Sta muerto el toro! And Juan takes his Pepita back from the town. L. Worthington Green.
THE COWBOY'S VALENTINE
SAY, Moll, now don't you 'llow to quit A-playin' maverick? Sech stock should be corralled a bit An' hev a mark 't 'll stick.
Old Val's a-roundin'-up today Upon the Sweetheart Range, 'N me a-helpin', so to say, Though this yere herd is strange
To me—'n yit, ef I c'd rope Jes one to wear my brand I'd strike f'r Home Ranch on a lope, The happiest in the land.
Yo' savvy who I'm runnin' so, Yo' savvy who I be; Now, can't yo' take that brand—yo' know,— The [Symbol: Heart] M-I-N-E. C. F. Lummis.
A COWBOY'S HOPELESS LOVE
I'VE heard that story ofttimes about that little chap A-cryin' for the shiney moon to fall into his lap, An' jes a-raisin' merry hell because he couldn't git The same to swing down low so's he could nab a-holt of it, An' I'm a-feelin' that-a-way, locoed I reckon, wuss Than that same kid, though maybe not a-makin' sich a fuss,— A-goin' round with achin' eyes a-hankerin' fer a peach That's hangin' on the beauty tree, too high fer me to reach.
I'm jes a rider of the range, plumb rough an' on-refined, An' wild an' keerless in my ways, like others of my kind; A reckless cuss in leather chaps, an' tanned an' blackened so You'd think I wuz a Greaser from the plains of Mexico. I never learnt to say a prayer, an' guess my style o' talk, If fired off in a Sunday School would give 'em all a shock; An' yet I got a-mopin' round as crazy as a loon An' actin' like the story kid that bellered fer the moon.
I wish to God she'd never come with them bright laughin' eyes,— Had never flashed that smile that seems a sunburst from the skies,— Had stayed there in her city home instead o' comin' here To visit at the ranch an' knock my heart plumb out o' gear. I wish to God she'd talk to me in a way to fit the case,— In words t'd have a tendency to hold me in my place,— Instead o' bein' sociable an' actin' like she thought Us cowboys good as city gents in clothes that's tailor bought.
If I would hint to her o' love, she'd hit that love a jar An' laugh at sich a tough as me a-tryin' to rope a star; She'd give them fluffy skirts a flirt, an' skate out o' my sight, An' leave me paralyzed,—an' it'd serve me cussed right. I wish she'd pack her pile o' trunks an' hit the city track, An' maybe I'd recover from this violent attack; An' in the future know enough to watch my feedin' ground An' shun the loco weed o' love when there's an angel round. James Barton Adams.
HERE'S a moccasin track in the drifts, It's no more than the length of my hand; An' her instep,—just see how it lifts! If that ain't the best in the land! For the maid ran as free as the wind And her foot was as light as the snow. Why, as sure as I follow, I'll find Me a kiss where her red blushes grow.
Here's two small little feet and a skirt; Here's a soft little heart all aglow. See me trail down the dear little flirt By the sign that she left in the snow! Did she run? 'Twas a sign to make haste. An' why bless her! I'm sure she won't mind. If she's got any kisses to waste, Why, she knew that a man was behind.
Did she run 'cause she's only afraid? No! For sure 'twas to set me the pace! An' I'll follow in love with a maid When I ain't had a sight of her face. There she is! An' I knew she was near. Will she pay me a kiss to be free? Will she hate? Will she love? Will she fear? Why, the darling! She's waiting to see! Pocock in "Curley."
LET us ride together,— Blowing mane and hair, Careless of the weather, Miles ahead of care, Ring of hoof and snaffle, Swing of waist and hip, Trotting down the twisted road With the world let slip.
Let us laugh together,— Merry as of old To the creak of leather And the morning cold. Break into a canter; Shout to bank and tree; Rocking down the waking trail, Steady hand and knee.
Take the life of cities,— Here's the life for me. 'Twere a thousand pities Not to gallop free. So we'll ride together, Comrade, you and I, Careless of the weather, Letting care go by. Anonymous.
OUR LITTLE COWGIRL
THAR she goes a-lopin', stranger, Khaki-gowned, with flyin' hair, Talk about your classy ridin',— Wal, you're gettin' it right thar. Jest a kid, but lemme tell you When she warms a saddle seat On that outlaw bronc a-straddle She is one that can't be beat!
Every buckaroo that sees her Tearin' cross the range astride Has some mighty jealous feelin's Wishin' he knowed how to ride. Why, she'll take a deep barranca Six-foot wide and never peep; That 'ere cayuse she's a-forkin' Sure's somethin' on the leap.
Ride? Why, she can cut a critter From the herd as neat as pie, Read a brand out on the ranges Just as well as you or I. Ain't much yet with the riata, But you give her a few years And no puncher with the outfit Will beat her a-ropin' steers.
Proud o' her? Say, lemme tell you, She's the queen of all the range; Got a grip upon our heart-strings Mighty strong, but that ain't strange; 'Cause she loves the lowin' cattle, Loves the hills and open air, Dusty trails on blossomed canons God has strung around out here.
Hoof-beats poundin' down the mesa, Chicken-time in lively tune, Jest below the trail to Keeber's,— Wait, you'll see her pretty soon. You kin bet I know that ridin',— Now she's toppin' yonder swell. Thar she is; that's her a-smilin' At the bars of the corral. Anonymous.
I WANT MY TIME
I'M night guard all alone tonight, Dead homesick, lonely, tired and blue; And none but you can make it right; My heart is hungry, Girl, for you.
I've longed all night to hug you, Dear; To speak my love I'm at a loss. But just as soon as daylight's here I'm goin' straight to see the boss.
"How long's the round-up goin' to run? Another week, or maybe three? Give me my time, then, I am done. No, I'm not sick. Three weeks? Oh gee!"
I know, though, when I've had enough. I will not work,—darned if I will. I'm goin' to quit, and that's no bluff. Say, gimme some tobacco, Bill. Anonymous.
WHO'S THAT CALLING SO SWEET?
THE herds are gathered in from plain and hill, Who's that a-calling? The boys are sleeping and the boys are still, Who's that a-calling? 'Twas the wind a-sighing in the prairie grass, Who's that a-calling? Or wild birds singing overhead as they pass.
Who's that a-calling? Making heart and pulse to beat.
No, no, it wasn't earthly sound I heard, Who's that a-calling? It was no sigh of breeze or song of bird, Who's that a-calling? For the tone I heard was softer far than these, that a-calling? 'Twas loved ones' voices from far off across the seas Deveen.
SONG OF THE CATTLE TRAIL
THE dust hangs thick upon the trail And the horns and the hoofs are clashing, While off at the side through the chaparral The men and the strays go crashing; But in right good cheer the cowboy sings, For the work of the fall is ending, And then it's ride for the old home ranch Where a maid love's light is tending.
Then it's crack! crack! crack! On the beef steer's back, And it's run, you slow-foot devil; For I'm soon to turn back where through the black Love's lamp gleams along the level.
He's trailed them far o'er the trackless range, Has this knight of the saddle leather; He has risked his life in the mad stampede, And has breasted all kinds of weather. But now is the end of the trail in sight, And the hours on wings are sliding; For it's back to the home and the only girl When the foreman O K's the option.
Then it's quirt! quirt! quirt! And it's run or git hurt, You hang-back, bawling critter. For a man who's in love with a turtle dove Ain't got no time to fritter. Anonymous.
A COWBOY'S SON
WHAR y'u from, little stranger, little boy? Y'u was ridin' a cloud on that star-strewn plain, But y'u fell from the skies like a drop of rain To this world of sorrow and long, long pain. Will y'u care fo' yo' mothah, little boy?
When y'u grows, little varmint, little boy, Y'u'll be ridin' a hoss by yo' fathah's side With yo' gun and yo' spurs and yo' howstrong pride. Will y'u think of yo' home when the world rolls wide? Will y'u wish for yo' mothah, little boy?
When y'u love in yo' manhood, little boy,— When y'u dream of a girl who is angel fair,— When the stars are her eyes and the wind is her hair,— When the sun is her smile and yo' heaven's there,— Will y'u care for yo' mothah, little boy? Pocock in "Curley."
A COWBOY SONG
I COULD not be so well content, So sure of thee, Senorita, But well I know you must relent And come to me, Lolita!
The Caballeros throng to see Thy laughing face, Senorita, Lolita. But well I know thy heart's for me, Thy charm, thy grace, Lolita!
I ride the range for thy dear sake, To earn thee gold, Senorita, Lolita; And steal the gringo's cows to make A ranch to hold Lolita! Pocock in "Curley."
A NEVADA COWPUNCHER TO HIS BELOVED
LONESOME? Well, I guess so! This place is mighty blue; The silence of the empty rooms Jes' palpitates with—you.
The day has lost its beauty, The sun's a-shinin' pale; I'll round up my belongin's An' I guess I'll hit the trail.
Out there in the sage-brush A-harkin' to the "Coo-oo" Of the wild dove in his matin' I can think alone of you.
Perhaps a gaunt coyote Will go a-lopin' by An' linger on the mountain ridge An' cock his wary eye.
An' when the evenin' settles, A-waitin' for the dawn Perhaps I'll hear the ground owl: "She's gone—she's gone—she's gone!" Anonymous.
THE COWBOY TO HIS FRIEND IN NEED
YOU'RE very well polished, I'm free to confess, Well balanced, well rounded, a power for right; But cool and collected,—no steel could be less; You're primed for continual fight.
Your voice is a bellicose bark of ill-will, On hatred and choler you seem to have fed; But when I control you, your temper is nil; In fact, you're most easily led.
Though lead is your diet and fight is your fun, I simply can't give you the jolt; For I love you, you blessed old son-of-a-gun,— You forty-five caliber Colt! Burke Jenkins.
WHEN BOB GOT THROWED
THAT time when Bob got throwed I thought I sure would bust. I like to died a-laffin' To see him chewin' dust.
He crawled on that Andy bronc And hit him with a quirt. The next thing that he knew He was wallowin' in the dirt.
Yes, it might a-killed him, I heard the old ground pop; But to see if he was injured You bet I didn't stop.
I just rolled on the ground And began to kick and yell; It like to tickled me to death To see how hard he fell.
'Twarn't more than a week ago That I myself got throwed, (But 'twas from a meaner horse Than old Bob ever rode).
D'you reckon Bob looked sad and said, "I hope that you ain't hurt!" Naw! He just laffed and laffed and laffed To see me chewin' dirt.
I've been prayin' ever since For his horse to turn his pack; And when he done it, I'd a laffed If it had broke his back.
So I was still a-howlin' When Bob, he got up lame; He seen his horse had run clean off And so for me he came.
He first chucked sand into my eyes, With a rock he rubbed my head, Then he twisted both my arms,— "Now go fetch that horse," he said.
So I went and fetched him back, But I was feelin' good all day; For I sure enough do love to see A feller get throwed that way. Ray.
COWBOY VERSUS BRONCHO
HAVEN'T got no special likin' fur the toney sorts o' play, Chasin' foxes or that hossback polo game, Jumpin' critters over hurdles—sort o' things that any jay Could accomplish an' regard as rather tame. None o' them is worth a mention, to my thinkin' p'int o' view, Which the same I hold correct without a doubt, As a-toppin' of a broncho that has got it in fur you An' concludes that's just the time to have it out.
Don't no sooner hit the saddle than the exercises start, An' they're lackin' in perliminary fuss; You kin hear his j'ints a-crackin' like he's breakin' 'em apart, An' the hide jes' seems a-rippin' off the cuss, An' you sometimes git a joltin' that makes everything turn blue, An' you want to strictly mind what you're about, When you're fightin' with a broncho that has got it in fur you An' imagines that's the time to have it out.
Bows his back when he is risin', sticks his nose between his knees, An' he shakes hisself while a-hangin' in the air; Then he hits the earth so solid that it somewhat disagrees With the usual peace an' quiet of your hair. You imagine that your innards are a-gittin' all askew, An' your spine don't feel so cussed firm an' stout, When you're up agin a broncho that has got it in fur you Doin' of his level best to have it out.
He will rise to the occasion with a lightnin' jump, an' then When he hits the face o' these United States Doesn't linger half a second till he's in the air agin— Occupies the earth an' then evacuates. Isn't any sense o' comfort like a-settin' in a pew Listenin' to hear a sleepy parson spout When you're up on top a broncho that has got it in fur you An' is desputly a-tryin' to have it out.
Always feel a touch o' pity when he has to give it up After makin' sich a well intentioned buck An' is standin' broken hearted an' as gentle as a pup A reflectin' on the rottenness o' luck. Puts your sympathetic feelin's, as you might say, in a stew, Though you're lame as if a-sufferin' from the gout, When you're lightin' off a broncho that has had it in fur you An' mistook the proper time to have it out. James Barton Adams.
WHEN YOU'RE THROWED
IF a feller's been a-straddle Since he's big enough to ride, And has had to sling his saddle On most any colored hide,— Though it's nothin' they take pride in, Still most fellers I have knowed, If they ever done much ridin', Has at different times got throwed.
All the boys start out together For the round-up some fine day When you're due to throw your leather On a little wall-eyed bay, An' he swells to beat the nation When you're cinchin' up the slack, An' he keeps an elevation In your saddle at the back.
He stands still with feet a-sprawlin', An' his eye shows lots of white, An' he kinks his spinal column, An' his hide is puckered tight, He starts risin' an' a-jumpin', An' he strikes when you get near, An' you cuss him an' you thump him Till you get him by the ear,—
Then your right hand grabs the saddle An' you ketch your stirrup, too, An' you try to light a-straddle Like a woolly buckaroo; But he drops his head an' switches, Then he makes a backward jump, Out of reach your stirrup twitches But your right spur grabs his hump.
An' "Stay with him!" shouts some feller; Though you know it's hope forlorn, Yet you'll show that you ain't yeller An' you choke the saddle horn. Then you feel one rein a-droppin' An' you know he's got his head; An' your shirt tail's out an' floppin'; An' the saddle pulls like lead.
Then the boys all yell together Fit to make a feller sick: "Hey, you short horn, drop the leather! Fan his fat an' ride him slick!" Seems you're up-side-down an' flyin'; Then your spurs begin to slip. There's no further use in tryin', For the horn flies from your grip,
An' you feel a vague sensation As upon the ground you roll, Like a violent separation 'Twixt your body an' your soul. Then you roll agin a hummock Where you lay an' gasp for breath, An' there's somethin' grips your stomach Like the finger-grips o' death.
They all offers you prescriptions For the grip an' for the croup, An' they give you plain descriptions How you looped the spiral loop; They all swear you beat a circus Or a hoochy-koochy dance, Moppin' up the canon's surface With the bosom of your pants.
Then you'll get up on your trotters, But you have a job to stand; For the landscape round you totters An' your collar's full o' sand. Lots of fellers give prescriptions How a broncho should be rode, But there's few that gives descriptions Of the times when they got throwed. Anonymous.
YOU bad-eyed, tough-mouthed son-of-a-gun, Ye're a hard little beast to break, But ye're good for the fiercest kind of a run An' ye're quick as a rattlesnake. Ye jolted me good when we first met In the dust of that bare corral, An' neither one of us will forget The fight we fit, old pal.
But now—well, say, old hoss, if John D. Rockefeller shud come With all the riches his paws are on And want to buy you, you bum, I'd laugh in his face an' pat your neck An' say to him loud an' strong: "I wouldn't sell you this derned old wreck For all your wealth—so long!"
For we have slept on the barren plains An' cuddled against the cold; We've been through tempests of drivin' rains When the heaviest thunder rolled; We've raced from fire on the lone prairee An' run from the mad stampede; An' there ain't no money could buy from me A pard of your style an' breed.
So I reckon we'll stick together, pard, Till one of us cashes in; Ye're wirey an' tough an' mighty hard, An' homlier, too, than sin. But yer head's all there an' yer heart's all right, An' you've been a good pardner, too, An' if ye've a soul it's clean an' white, You ugly ol' scoundrel, you! Berton Braley.
THE BRONC THAT WOULDN'T BUST
I'VE busted bronchos off and on Since first I struck their trail, And you bet I savvy bronchos From nostrils down to tail; But I struck one on Powder River, And say, hands, he was the first And only living broncho That your servant couldn't burst.
He was a no-count buckskin, Wasn't worth two-bits to keep, Had a black stripe down his backbone, And was woolly like a sheep. That hoss wasn't built to tread the earth; He took natural to the air; And every time he went aloft He tried to leave me there.
He went so high above the earth Lights from Jerusalem shone. Right thar we parted company And he came down alone. I hit terra firma, The buckskin's heels struck free, And brought a bunch of stars along To dance in front of me.
I'm not a-riding airships Nor an electric flying beast; Ain't got no rich relation A-waitin' me back East; So I'll sell my chaps and saddle, My spurs can lay and rust; For there's now and then a digger That a buster cannot bust. Anonymous.
THE OL' COW HAWSE
WHEN it comes to saddle hawses, there's a difference in steeds: There is fancy-gaited critters that will suit some feller's needs; There is nags high-bred an' tony, with a smooth an' shiny skin, That will capture all the races that you want to run 'em in. But fer one that never tires; one that's faithful, tried and true; One that allus is a "stayer" when you want to slam him through, There is but one breed o' critters that I ever came across That will allus stand the racket: 'tis the Ol' Cow Hawse
No, he ain't so much fer beauty, fer he's scrubby an' he's rough, An' his temper's sort o' sassy, but you bet he's good enough! Fer he'll take the trail o' mornin's, be it up or be it down, On the range a-huntin' cattle or a-lopin' into town, An' he'll leave the miles behind him, an' he'll never sweat a hair, 'Cuz he's a willin' critter when he's goin' anywhere. Oh, your thoroughbred at runnin' in a race may be the boss, But fer all day ridin' lemme have the Ol' Cow Hawse!
When my soul seeks peace and quiet on the home ranch of the blest, Where no storms or stampedes bother, an' the trails are trails o' rest, When my brand has been inspected an' pronounced to be O K, An' the boss has looked me over an' has told me I kin stay, Oh, I'm hopin' when I'm lopin' off across that blessed range That I won't be in a saddle on a critter new an' strange, But I'm prayin' every minnit that up there I'll ride across That big heaven range o' glory on an Ol' Cow Hawse E. A. Brinninstool.
THE BUNK-HOUSE ORCHESTRA
WRANGLE up your mouth-harps, drag your banjo out, Tune your old guitarra till she twangs right stout, For the snow is on the mountains and the wind is on the plain, But we'll cut the chimney's moanin' with a livelier refrain.
Shinin' dobe fire-place, shadows on the wall (See old Shorty's friv'lous toes a-twitchin' at the call:) It's the best grand high that there is within the law When seven jolly punchers tackle "Turkey in the Straw."
Freezy was the day's ride, lengthy was the trail, Ev'ry steer was haughty with a high-arched tail, But we held 'em and we shoved 'em for our longin' hearts were tried By a yearnin' for tobaccer and our dear fireside.
Swing 'er into stop-time, don't you let 'er droop (You're about as tuneful as a coyote with the croup!) Ay, the cold wind bit when we drifted down the draw, But we drifted on to comfort and to "Turkey in the Straw."