The Dying Hobo
(By Roland P. Gray)
Beside a Western water tank
Once cold November day,
Inside an empty box care
A dying hobo lay.
His partner stood beside him,
With low and drooping head,
And listened to the last words
The dying hobo said:
“I’m going to a better land,
Where everything is bright.
Where longnecks grow on bushes,
And you sleep out every night.
“Where you do not have to work at all,
Nor even change your socks.
And little streams of alcohol
Come trickling down the rocks.
“Tell my sweetheart back in Denver,
That her fair face I no more will view;
Tell her that I’ve jumped the fast freight
And that I am going through.”
The hobo stopped, his head fell back;
He had sung his last refrain,
His partner swiped his hat and shoes
And jumped an eastbound train.
Fresno Bee Republican (Fresno, California) May 30, 1937
Songs and Ballads of the Maine Lumberjacks: With other Songs from Maine
by Roland Palmer Gray, Bruce Rogers
Contributors: Roland Palmer Gray,Bruce Rogers
Publisher: Harvard University Press – Cambridge, MA – 1924
* * * * *
Omitted from version in newspaper:
[after verse: “Tell my sweetheart…]
“Tell her not to weep for me,
In her eyes no tears must lurk,
For I’ve gone to a better land,
Where I won’t have to work.
“Hark, I hear a whistle;
I must catch her on the fly.
Farewell, partner, it’s not
So hard to die.”
Bio from the University of Maine 1912 yearbook