The Girl in the Dilger Case
Once I was young and sweet as the roses;
Out on the street so gaudy and gay.
I went first to the dance hall, from there to the whore house,
And now from the whore house I go to my grave.
Send for my mother to sit by my bedside,
Send for the preacher to pray over me,
Send for the doctor that heals me so easy,
Send for the young man that I like to see.
The Ninth Street* girls will carry my coffin,
The Eighth Street walkers will sing a sweet song;
Give them each a bunch of red roses
To keep me from smelling as they carry me along.
*Ninth Street - Dr. Wilgus believes this should
read Green Street.
(Sung by D.K. Wilgus)
This Kentucky variant of The Bad Girl's Lament appears to have been
adapted to fit the circumstances of a local incident. The exact
relationship of the young prostitute of the ballad to the Dilger referred
to in its title is unclear. Wilgus supplied the following information
with the text-: "Dilger had been a policeman and a private bouncer in a
low class variety theatre. He was a husky, virile, rather good-looking
chap of about 35. He was surprised in a bawdyhouse by two policemen. He
killed them both and was subsequently executed for the crime."
The text sung here was collected by E.C. Perrow from Jack Sykes of
Louisville, Kentucky, in 1915, and is presently part of the Western
Kentucky Folklore Archive. Dr. Wilgus has set the text to a conventional
tune for ballads in the 'Rake' cycle.