The Cowboy’s Lament

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 site 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 slowly 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 affection
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 one 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 today.

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 so young and handsome
We all loved our comrade although he’d done wrong.