THE DYING COWBOY
(THE COWBOY'S LAMENT;
THE UNFORTUNATE RAKE)
Sung by: W.P. Detherow
Recorded in Batesville, AR, 7/19/52
Click here to listen to the original recording
Tom Sherman's ballroom one morning in May--
There I spied a handsome young cowboy,
All dressed in white linen, all ready for his grave.
I knowed by his clothing that he was a cowboy,
That he was a cowboy and none would deny.
He first took to drinking and then to card playing,
Got shot in the breast and now he must die.
Chorus: Go beat the drums slowly and play the fife lowly,
Play the dead marches to carry me along.
Take me to the graveyard and roll the sod over me,
For I am a cowboy and I know I've done wrong.
Once in my saddle I used to go dashing,
Oh, once in my saddle I used to go gay.
I first took to drinking and then to card playing,
And then a cow herder, and then to my grave.
Go to your homes and gather around you
A group of young cowboys to hear my sad fate.
Tell them to take warning and quit the cow herding,
And quit the wild roving before it's too late.
Go bear the news to gray-haired old mother;
Go bear the news to my sister so dear.
But there is another one dearer than sister;
Oh, how she would weep if she knew I was here.
(Spoken comment by Mr. Detherow: "I'll leave that chorus off."
Also found in Randolph, Vol. II, #182, "Cowboy's Lament"; Brown, Vol. II, #263, "The Unfortunate Rake"; Belden, p. 392, "The Unfortunate Rake."