The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46310   Message #3889617
Posted By: Lighter
21-Nov-17 - 11:36 AM
Thread Name: Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues
Subject: RE: Origin: Saint James Infirmary Blues
From Jack Thorp's 1908 booklet, "Songs of the Cowboys," including all misprints:

                         COW BOYS LAMENT

'Twas once in my saddle I used to be happy
'Twas once in my saddle I sued to be gay
But I first took to drinking, then to gambling
A shot from a six-shooter took my life away.

My curse let it rest, let it rest on the fair one
Who drove me from friends that I loved and from home
Who told me she loved me, just to deceive me
My curse rest upon her, wherever she roam.

Oh she was fair, Oh she was lovely
The belle of the Village the fairest of all
But her heart was as cold as the snow on the mountain
She gave me up for the glitter of gold.

I arrived in Galveston in old Texas
Drinking and gambling I went to give o'er
But, I met with a Greaser and my life he has finished
Home and relations I'll never see more.

Send for my father, Oh send for mother
Send for the surgeon to look at my wounds
But I fear it is useless I feel I am dying
I'm a young cow-boy cut down in my bloom.

Farewell my friends, farewell my relations
My earthly career has cost me sore
The cow-boy ceased talking, they knew he was dying
His trials on earth forever were o'er.

Chor. Beat your drums lightly, play your fifes merrily
Sing your dearth march as you bear me along
Take me to the grave yard, lay the sod o'er me
I'm a young cow-boy and I know I've done wrong.

My guess is that this is somebody's (Thorp's?) idiosyncratic rewrite of a more conventional text; it is based, perhaps, on a desire to approximate the original song from a faulty recollection.

Thorp commented elsewhere that collecting songs fro cowboys was difficult because few of the singers knew all the words!