Cowboy Songs and Singers: Of Lifeways and Legend

COWBOY'S SOLILOQUY

This was written in the fall of 1891 at the end of a drive from the Texas panhandle to the Yellowstone. The trip up the trail required the entire Summer and then for some reason or other it proved necessary to hold the herd along the Little Dry for another whole month. Looking at the same bunch of cattle for so long a period grew slightly monotonous for Mr. O'Malley and everybody else in the crew. The poem was printed in the Journal on November 28, 1891, and signed D. J. White.

I am a cowpuncher
   From off the North Side,
My horse and my saddle
   Are my bosom's pride;
My life is a hard one,
   To tell you I'll try
How iue range-herded dogies
   Out on the Little Dry.

The first thing in the morning
   We'd graze upon the hill,
Then drive them back by noontime
   On water them to fill,
Then graze them round till sundown,
   And I've heaved many a sigh
When I thought "two hours night guard"
   After night fell on the Dry.

The next day was the same thing
   And the next the same again,
Day-herding those same dogies
   Out on the Dry's green plain;
Grazing them, then bedding them,
   One's patience it does try
When you think "now comes our night guard"
   After night falls on the Dry.

They're all right in the daytime,
   But our Autumn nights are cold,
And the least scare will stampede them,
   And then they're hard to hold.
How many times I've "darned" the duck
   When dusk I would see nigh,
And say, "I wish you were turned loose
   E're night falls on the Dry."

For a large bunch of cattle
   Is no snap to hold at night,
For sometimes a blamed coyote howl
   Will jump them in a fright,
Then a man will do some riding,
   O'er rocks and badlands he will fly;
A stampede is no picnic
   After night falls on the Dry.

Then should my horse fall down on me
   And my poor life crush out,
No friendly hand could give me aid,
   No warning voice could shout;
They'd hardly give one thought to me
   Or scarcely heave a sigh,
But they'd bury me so lonely
   When night fell on the Dry.

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