Tale of A Tramp

Let me sit down a minute,
A stone’s got into my shoe;
Don’t you commence your cussin” –
I ain’t done nothin’ to you.
Yes, I’m a tramp – what of it?
Folks say we ain’t no good –
Tramps have got to live, I reckon,
Though people don’t think we should.
Once I was young and handsome,
Had plenty of cash and clothes –
That was before I got to tipplin’
And gin got up my nose.
Way down in the Lehigh Valley
Me and my people grew;
I was a blacksmith, captain,
Yes, and a good one, too.
Me and my wife and Nellie –
Nellie was just sixteen,
And she was the purtiest cretur
The valley had ever seen.
Beaux, Why, she had a dozen;
Had’em from near and fur;
But they was mostly farmers –
None of them suited her,
But there was a city chap,
Handsome, young and tall –
Ah! curse him! I wish I had him
To strangle against yonder wall.
He was the man for Nellie –
She didn’t know no ill;
Mother, she tried to stop it,
But you know young girls’ will.
Common enough, you say;
But he was a soft-tongued devil,
And he got her to run away.
More than a month or later,
We heard from the poor young thing –
He had run away and left her
Without any wedding ring!
Back to her home we brought her,
Back to her mother’s side;
Filled with a raging fever,
She fell at my feet and died!
Frantic with shame and sorrow
Her mother began to sink,
And died in less than a fortnight;
That’s when I took to drink,
Come, give me a glass, now, colonel,
And I’ll be on my way,
And I’ll tramp till I catch that scoundrel,
If it takes till the Judgement Day.

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One response to “Tale of A Tramp

  1. My grandfather use to tell us all a modified version of that poem too. Always thought it was his as a kid but later found out that its from The Hobo’s Hornbook by George Milburn (c1930).

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