The Dying Cowboy

“O bury me not on the lone prairie!”
These words came low and mournfully
From the pallid lips of a youth who lay
On his dying bed at the close of day.

He had wailed in pain till o’er his brow
Death’s shadows fast were gathering now;
He thought of his home and his loved ones nigh.
As the cowboys gathered to see him die.

“Oh, bury me not on the lone prairie,
Where the wild coyotes will howl o’er me.
In a narrow grave just six by three.
O, bury me not on the lone prairie.

“In fancy I listen to the well-known words
Of the free, wild winds and the song of the birds.
I think of the cottage home in the bower
And the scenes I loved in my childhood’s hour.

“It matters not. I’ve oft been told.
Where the body lies when the heart grows cold;
Yet grant, oh, grant this wish to me.
O, bury me not on the lone prairie.

“Then bury me not on the lone prairie,
In a narrow grave six foot by three,
Where the buffalo paws o’er the prairie sea.
O, bury me not on the lone prairie.

“I’ve always wished to be laid when died
In a little churchyard on the green hillside;
By my father’s grave there let mine be.
And bury me not on the lone prairie.

“Let my death slumber be where my mother’s prayer
And a sister’s tear will mingle there.
Where my friends can come and weep o’er me;
And bury me not on the lone prairie.

“O, bury me not on the lone prairie.
In a narrow grave just six by three.
Where the buzzard waits and the wind blows free,
Then bury me not on the lone prairie.

“There is another whose tears may be shed
For one who lies on a prairie bed:
It pained me then and it pains me now –
She has curled these locks and she has kissed this brow.

“These locks she has curled, shall the rattlesnake kiss?
This brow she has kissed, shall the cold grave press?
For the sake of the loved one that will weep for me,
O, bury me not on the lone prairie.

“O, bury me not on the lone prairie.
Where the wild coyotes will howl o’er me.
Where the buzzard beats and the wind goes free.
O, bury me not on the lone prairie.

“O, bury me not.” and his voice failed there.
But took no heed of his dying prayer:
In a narrow grave just six by three
We buried him there on the lone prairie.

Where the dewdrops glow and the butterflies rest.
And the flowers bloom o’er the prairie’s crest:
Where the wild coyote and the winds sport free
On a wet saddle blanket lay a cowboy-ee.

“O, bury me not on the lone prairie.
Where the wild coyotes will howl o’er me
Where the rattlesnakes hiss and the crow flies free,
O, bury me not on the lone prairie.”

O, we buried him there on the lone prairie.
Where the wild rose blooms and the wind blows free.
O, his young face never more to see.
For we buried him there on the lone prairie.

Yes, we buried him there on the lone prairie,
Where the owl all night hoots mournfully,
And the blizzard beats and the winds blow free.
O’er his lowly grave on the lone prairie.

And the cowboys now as they roam the plain –
For they marked the spot where his bones were lain –
Fling a handful of roses o’er his grave,
With a prayer to Him Who his soul will save.

“O, bury me not on the lone prairie.
Where the wolves can howl and growl o’er me;
Fling a handful of roses o’er my grave
With a prayer to Him who my soul will save.”

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