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200 Ballads and Songs of Michigan
75 THE ROAMING GAMBLER
For texts of this song see Fuson, p. 131; Henry, pp. 98-99; Hudson, JAFL, XXXIX, 134-135; Lomax and Lomax, pp. 150-151; and Sandburg, pp. 312-313. The present version was obtained from Miss Mabel Tuggle, Detroit, in 1931, who had learned the song in childhood from hearing her sister sing it to a guitar accompaniment.
i I am a roaming gambler, I gamble down in town. Wherever I meet with a deck of cards, I lay my money down.
2 I had not been in Washington Many more weeks than three,
I fell in love with a pretty little girl, And she fell in love with me.
3 She took me in her parlour, She fanned me with a fan,
She whispered low in her mother's ear, "I love that gambling man."
4 "O daughter, O daughter, What makes you treat me so? To leave your dear old mother And with a gambler go!"
5 "O mother, O mother, It's true I love you well,
But the love I have for the gambling man No human tongue can tell.
6 "I hear the train a-coming, A-coming around the curve, A-whistling and blowing, And straining every nerve.
7 "And so I must be leaving; Come and kiss my hand,
I'm going away for a year and a day With my gambling man."