Collected & Transcribed
by Mary Celestia Parler
The State of Arkansas
My name it is Bill Stafford, I was born in Buffalo Town,
For twelve long years all over I roved this wide world round,
Many ups and downs and trials and many a hardship saw,
But I never knew what misery was till I struck Arkansas,
I landed in St. Louis with just six dollars and no more,
I read the daily papers till my eyes were getting sore,
From Billy Hughes, the agent, a ticket I did draw,
He passes me down the railroad to the state of Arkansas.
He passed me down the railroad, I nearly received a shock,
So safely I was landed in the town of Little Rock.
Up stepped a walkin' skeletin with a long and lenghty jaw,
Invited me to his hotel, the best in Arkansas.
He fed me on corn-dodgers, his beef I couldn't chew,
He taxed me fifty cents a meal in the state of Arkansas.
I rose next morning early, to catch an early train,
Says he, "Young man, you'd better stay; I have some land to drain.
I'll give you fifty cents a day, your washin', board, and chaw,
Begods, you'll be a different man when you leave Arkansas."
I worked six months for this galoot, George Nelson was his name,
He stood six, seven in his boots, as slim as any crane.
He fed me on corn-dodgers, as hard as any rock,
My teeth they all begin to loose, my knees begin to knock,
I got so thin on sassafras tea I counld hide behind a straw,
Begods, I was a different lad when I left Arkansas.
The day before I left there, forget her ne'er I will,
I shook the boots right off of my feet with an old Arkansas chill;
I staggered down to the saloon and I called for whiskey raw,
I got as drunk as a son-of-a-gun, and I left Arkansas.
Farewell to all swamp angels, the cane-brake, and the chills,
Forewall to sage, and sassafras tea, and corn-dodger pills,
If ever I'm in this land ag'in, I'll hand to you my paw,
'Twill be through a telescope from hell to Arkansas.
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