I was on the drive in eighty
Working under Silver Jack,
Which the same is now in Jackson
And ain't soon expected back,
And there was a fellow 'mongst us
By the name of Robert Waite;
Kind of cute and smart and tonguey
Guess he was a graduate.
He could talk on any subject
From the Bible down to Hoyle,
And his words flowed out so easy,
Just as smooth and slick as oil,
He was what they call a skeptic,
And he loved to sit and weave
Hifalutin' words together
Tellin' what he didn't believe.
One day we all were sittin' round
Smokin' nigger head tobacco
And hearing Bob expound;
Hell, he said, was all a humbug,
And he made it plain as day
That the Bible was a fable;
And we lowed it looked that way.
Miracles and such like
Were too rank for him to stand,
And as for him they called the Savior
He was just a common man.
"You're a liar," someone shouted,
"And you've got to take it back."
Then everybody started,—
'Twas the words of Silver Jack.
And he cracked his fists together
And he stacked his duds and cried,
"'Twas in that thar religion
That my mother lived and died;
And though I haven't always
Used the Lord exactly right,
Yet when I hear a chump abuse him
He's got to eat his words or fight."
Now, this Bob he weren't no coward
And he answered bold and free:
"Stack your duds and cut your capers,
For there ain't no flies on me."
And they fit for forty minutes
And the crowd would whoop and cheer
When Jack spit up a tooth or two,
Or when Bobby lost an ear.
But at last Jack got him under
And he slugged him onct or twict,
And straightway Bob admitted
The divinity of Christ.
But Jack kept reasoning with him
Till the poor cuss gave a yell
And lowed he'd been mistaken
In his views concerning hell.
Then the fierce encounter ended
And they riz up from the ground
And someone brought a bottle out
And kindly passed it round.
And we drank to Bob's religion
In a cheerful sort o' way,
But the spread of infidelity
Was checked in camp that day.
Footnote 1: A lumber jack song adopted by the cowboys.