American Old Time Song Lyrics: 42 Italian Joe

Theater, Music-Hall, Nostalgic, Irish & Historic Old Songs, Volume 42

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Copyright. 1894, by Henry J. Wehman.
Written by Hovey Cook.

Who he was I couldn't tell you, where he came from I don't know,
The boys about here called him Big Italian Joe.
He struck here one May morning, just at the break of day,
He'd no trunk, no grip, no nothing, but he said he came to stay.

He got work from old Bill Mathew, down at Bill's "Kitty "claim,
Bill he called it the "Kitty" 'cause that was his daughter's name.
Joe was a queer young fellow, he lived alone on Deadman'e Hill,
On the door of his hut his name he cut, and it's on the door, pard, still.

He was one of those dark-skinned fellows, with eyes as black as night,
And it didn't take much to vex him, and when vexed, well, he could fight;
He didn't pal with the boys much, and didn't smoke, chew or drink,
And he spoke but very little, And moved as quick as a wink.

Bill Mathew's daughter Kitty was quite the proper sort,
Bill thought her a perfect angel, and quite right indeed he thought,
She was a young miss, scarcely twenty, a sort of wild miss, you know.
She'd kept house for Bill since her mother died, in the valley down below.

Bill one day went down to Reno, just a short way cast of here,
The day, pard, was very cloudy, and a storm was very near;
That night it stormed And thundered, and Bill hadn't come back yet,
I was standing in "The Tavern," when Kitty came in all wet.

"What time is it, Jim?" she said to me. "Just half-past ten," I said,
"And what are you doing out, six? why, you should be home, in bed."
"I can't sleep to-night," she said, "Jim, I'm left all alone, you know;
Dad's not back from Reno yet, I think he's very slow."

Just then the door flew open, and in staggered her father, Bill,
His face all cuts and bleeding, in fancy I see it still.
"My child!" he cried; "Where's Kitty?" Then on the floor he fell.
Kitty beside him knelt, And cried: "Who did it, dad? Come, tell!"

"Yes, Bill," I said, "who did It?" - I'd a little fight," said he,
"And the other man, damn him. he got the best of me.
It happened at the ford, Jim, just a little while ago;
'Twas only a little quarrel 'twixt me and Italian Joe.

"I'd just a few words with him, and I started to go my way,
When I turned my back he sprung on me, like a coyote on his prey.
I tried hard to best him, pard, I knew I'd to fight for life,
I had the cur near whipped, pard, when he drew a knife."

Bill staggered to his feet, then, and cried, "I cannot see!
Kill the Italian cur, pard! Down him, he's killed me!
It was all on account of Kitty, he wanted her for his wife;
'Cause I said he couldn't have her, be stabbed me with a knife.

"I know it's all up with me, pard; look after her, won't you, Jim?
She'll be left all alone when I'm gone; keep her away from him.
My God! boys, I'm going. Kitty, my child," he cried:
The girl she caught him In her arms, and in her arms he died.

Kitty, poor child, she wept and wept, look, after the death of Bill,
And one day, poor girl, she passed away; she's buried on yonder hill.
And the Italian cur who killed her dad, what became of him? I don't know,
But the boys about Lonely Camp remember Italian Joe.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III