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American Ballads and Folk Songs
JIM HAGGERTY'S STORY
This long poem was written down by a convict in the Huntsville Penitentiary who said that he learned it from a friend on the road.
In the shade of a tree, we two sat, him and me,
Where the Badger Hills slope to the rift,
While our ponies browsed around, reins a-dragging the ground.
Then he looked at me funny and laughed.
"Do you see that there town?" he inquired, pointing down To some shacks sprawled about in the heat. When I opined that I did, then he shifted his quid, After drownding a tumblebug neat.
Then he looked at me square, "There's a man waitin' there,
That the sheep-men have hired to get me.
Are you game to go down to that jerk-water town
Just to see what the hell you will see?"
Then we rode down the hill, each a-puffin' a pill To the shacks sprawled around in the heat, And we stopped at a shack that was leanin' its back 'Gainst the side of the cowboys' retreat.
Just inside of the door, with one foot on the floor And the other hist up on a rail, Stood a big rawboned guy, with the oneriest eye That I ever saw out of a jail.
By his side stood a girl, that sure looked like a pearl That the Bible guy cast before swine. She was pleadin' with him, her eyes all tecry and dim, As I high-signed the barkeep for mine.