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Bonnie Black Bess (2) When fortune's blind goddess Had fled my abode, And friends proved unfaithful I took to the road; To plunder the wealthy And relieve my distress, I bought you to aid me, My Bonnie Black Bess. No vile whip nor spur Did your sides ever gall, For none did you need, You would bound at my call; And for each act of kindness You would me caress. Thou art never unfaithful, My Bonnie Black Bess. When dark, sable midnight Her mantle had thrown O'er the bright face of nature, How oft we have gone To the famed Hounslow heath, Though an unwelcome guest To the minions of fortune, My Bonnie Black Bess! How silent you stood When the carriage I stopped! The gold and the jewels Its inmates would drop. No poor man I plundered Nor e'er did oppress The widows or orphans, My Bonnie Black Bess. When Argus-eyed justice Did me hot pursue, From York town to London Like lightning we flew. No toll bars could stop you, The waters did breast, And in twelve hours we made it, My Bonnie Black Bess. But hate darkens o'er me, Despair is my lot, And the law does pursue me For the many I've shot; To save me, poor brute, Thou hast done thy best, Thou art worn out and weary, My Bonnie Black Bess. Hark! they never shall have A beast like thee; So noble and gentle And brave, thou must die, My dumb friend, Though it does me distress. There! There! I have shot thee, My Bonnie Black Bess. In after years When I am dead and gone, This story will be handed From father to son; My fate some will pity, And some will confess 'Twas through kindness I killed My Bonnie Black Bess. No one can e'er say That ingratitude dwelt In the bosom of Turpin- 'Twas a vice never felt. I will die like a man And soon be at rest Now, farewell forever My Bonnie Black Bess. From Cowboy Songs, Lomax Note: "said to have been the most popular song among the cowboys in the Indian Territory". I haven't come across it in any other cowboy collection, though. RG DT #422 Laws L9 RG
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