WILLIAM ROSE BENET
Jesse James was a two-gun man, |
Strong-arm chief of an outlaw clan.
He twirled an old Colt forty-five;
They never took Jesse James alive.
Jesse James was King of the Wes'; (
Held a di'mon' heart in his lef' breas';
He'd a fire in his heart no hurt could stifle;
Lion eyes an' a Winchester rifle.
Jesse James rode a pinto hawse;
Come at night to a water-cawse;
Tetched with the rowel that pinto's flank,
She sprung the torrent from bank to bank.
Jesse rode through a sleepin' town;
Looked the moonlit street both up an' down;
Crack-crack-crack, the street ran flames
An' a great voice cried, "I'm Jesse James!"
Hawse an' afoot they're after Jess!
Spurrin ' an' spurrin'- but he's gone Wes'.
He was ten foot tall when he stood in his boots;
More'n a match fer sich galoots.
Jesse James rode outa the sage;
Roun' the rocks come the swayin' stage;
Straddlin' the road a giant stan's
An' a great voice bellers, "Throw up yet han's!"
Jesse raked in the di'mon' rings,
The big gold watches an' the yuther things;
Jesse divvied 'em then an' that
With a cryin' child had lost her mar.
They're creepin'; they're crawlin', they're stalkin' Jess;
They's a rumor he's gone much further Wes';
They's word of a cayuse hitched to the bars
Of a golden sunset that busts into stars.
Jesse James rode hell fer leather;
He was a hawse an' a man together;
In a cave in a mountain high up in air
He lived with a rattlesnake, a wolf, an' a bear.
Jesse's heart was as sof' as a woman;
Fer guts an' stren'th he was sooper-human;
He could put six shots through a woodpecker's eye
And take in one swaller a gallon o' rye.
They sought him here an' they sought him there,
But he strides by night through the ways of the air;
They say he was took an' they say he is dead,
But he ain't - he's a sunset overhead!
Jesse James was a Hercules.
When he went through the woods he tore up the trees.
When he went on the plains he smoked the groun'
An'the hull Ian' shuddered fer miles aroun'.
WILLIAM ROSE BENET i6i
Jesse James wore a red bandanner
That waved on the breeze like the Star Spangled Banner;
In seven states he cut up dadoes.
He's gone with the buffier an' the desperadoes.
'Yes, Jesse James was a two-gun Man
The same as when this song began;
An'when you see a sunset bust into flames
Or a thunderstorm blaze - that's Jesse James!