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THE LEGEND OF BOASTFUL BILL

 

    AT a round-up on the Gila

    One sweet morning long ago,

    Ten of us was throwed quite freely

    By a hoss from Idaho.

    An' we 'lowed he'd go a-beggin'

    For a man to break his pride

    Till, a-hitchin' up one leggin',

    Boastful Bill cut loose an' cried:

        "I'm a ornery proposition for to hurt,

        I fulfil my earthly mission with a quirt,

        I can ride the highest liver

        'Twixt the Gulf an' Powder River,

        An' I'll break this thing as easy as I'd flirt."

    So Bill climbed the Northern fury

    An' they mangled up the air

    Till a native of Missouri

    Would have owned the brag was fair.

    Though the plunges kept him reelin'

    An' the wind it flapped his shirt,

    Loud above the hoss's squealin'

    We could hear our friend assert:

        "I'm the one to take such rockin's as a joke;

        Someone hand me up the makin's of a smoke.

        If you think my fame needs brightnin',

        Why, I'll rope a streak o' lightnin'

        An' spur it up an' quirt it till it's broke."

    Then one caper of repulsion

    Broke that hoss's back in two,

    Cinches snapped in the convulsion,

    Skyward man and saddle flew,

    Up they mounted, never flaggin',

    And we watched them through our tears,

    While this last, thin bit o' braggin'

    Came a-floatin' to our ears:

        "If you ever watched my habits very close,

        You would know I broke such rabbits by the gross.

        I have kept my talent hidin',

        I'm too good for earthly ridin',

        So I'm off to bust the lightnin'--Adios!"

    Years have passed since that ascension;

    Boastful Bill ain't never lit;

    So we reckon he's a-wrenchin'

    Some celestial outlaw's bit.

    When the night wind flaps our slickers,

    And the rain is cold and stout,

    And the lightnin' flares and flickers,

    We can sometimes hear him shout:

        "I'm a ridin' son o' thunder o' the sky,

        I'm a broncho twistin' wonder on the fly.

        Hey, you earthlin's, shut your winders,

        We're a-rippin' clouds to flinders.

        If this blue-eyed darlin' kicks at you, you die."

    Star-dust on his chaps and saddle,

    Scornful still of jar and jolt,

    He'll come back sometime a-straddle

    Of a bald-faced thunderbolt;

    And the thin-skinned generation

    Of that dim and distant day

    Sure will stare with admiration

    When they hear old Boastful say:

        "I was first, as old raw-hiders all confest,

        I'm the last of all rough riders, and the best.

        Huh! you soft and dainty floaters

        With your aeroplanes and motors,

        Huh! are you the greatgrandchildren of the West?"

            _From recitation, original, by Charles Badger Clark, Jr._