Bill's in the Legislature, I've got a letter

I've got a letter, parson, from my son away out West,
An' my old heart is heavy as an anvil in my breast,
To think the boy whose future I had once so nicely planned
Should wander from the right and come to such a bitter end.
 
I told him when he left us, only three short years ago,
He'd find himself a-plowing in a mighty crooked row;
He'd miss his father's counsel and his mother's prayers, too,
But he said the farm was hateful, an' he guessed he'd have to go.
 
I know there's big temptations for a youngster in the West,
But I believed our Billy had the courage to resist;
An' when he left I warned him of the ever waitin' snares
That lie like hidden serpents in life's pathway everywheres.
 
But Bill, he promised faithful to be careful, an' allowed
That he'd build a reputation that'd make us mighty proud.
But it seems as how my counsel sort o' faded from his mind,
And now he's got in trouble of the very worstest kind!
 
His letters came so seldom that I somehow sort o' knowed
That Billy was a-trampin' of a mighty rocky road;
But never once imagined he would bow my head in shame,
And in the dust would woller his old daddy's honored name.
 
He writes from out in Denver, an' the story's mighty short—
I jess can't tell his mother!—It'll crush her poor old heart!
 
An' so I reckoned, parson, you might break the news to her—
Bill's in the Legislature but he doesn't say what fur!